Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo in medicine.
A surprising article about “integrative” medicine in The New England Journal of Medicine vs. “patient-centered” care (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/a-surprising-article-about-integrative-medicine-in-the-new-england-journal-of-medicine-vs-patient-centered-care/ At an integrative health fair a blood test supposedly diagnosed a woman with cancer and she was offered a $6000 course of treatment with intravenous vitamin C. Her MD had great difficulty convincing her that she didn’t actually have cancer. Patient-centered care requires real informed consent, and “integrative medicine” relies on misinformed consent.
When To See a Doctor (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/when-to-see-a-doctor/ How can you decide when a symptom merits a visit to the doctor? Some warning signs demand immediate attention, but minor transient symptoms are a normal part of life. They can sometimes escalate into false perception of a serious problem with the collusion of an injudicious doctor. An essential part of good medicine is to reassure patients, answer questions, and provide comfort.
Anti-Smoking Laws - The Proof of the Pudding (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/anti-smoking-laws-the-proof-of-the-pudding/ Smoking ban laws constitute a therapeutic trial. Data from various avenues of research agree that smoking bans are effective public health measures that improve the health of the population by reducing exposure to second-hand smoke.
FDA versus Big Supp: Rep. Burton to the Rescue (Again) (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/fda-versus-big-supp-rep-burton-to-the-rescue-again/ The Diet Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was a mistake. Proposed legislation supported by woo-friendly legislators would further weaken FDA and FTC oversight of diet supplements and would make the situation even worse.
Help a reader out: Abstracts that misrepresent the content of the paper (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/abstracts-that-misrepresent-the-content-of-the-paper/ A request for examples of scientific papers whose abstracts are misleading.
The Application of Science (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-appication-of-science/ Translating research into practical applications is not as easy as it seems. A study showed that postoperative infections are reduced by preoperative screening and treatment for MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Implementing a new protocol to do this turned out to be far from straightforward: unexpected considerations and difficulties arose.