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.
Plausibility bias? You say that as though that were a bad thing! (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/plausibility_bias/ Homeopaths criticize scientists for rejecting homeopathy because of bias against its implausibility. Good science requires considering plausibility and not wasting time and money on every crazy idea. Plausibility bias is reality bias: it’s a good thing.
Homeopathy and Nanoparticles (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/homeopathy-and-nanoparticles/ An uncontrolled experiment in India allegedly demonstrated nanoparticles of the original substance in highly dilute homeopathic remedies that shouldn’t contain a single molecule. Their findings were likely due to contamination or experimental artifact; and even if nanoparticles could be convincingly demonstrated, that wouldn’t mean homeopathic remedies had therapeutic effects.
Pseudoscience is not Cost Effective (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/pseudoscience-is-not-cost-effective/ Concerns about cost effectiveness and public funding provide a good opportunity to discuss the efficacy of CAM treatments like homeopathy. Public money should not be spent on treatments that are not supported by evidence.
The drug expiry date: A necessary safety measure, or yet another Big Pharma conspiracy? (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-drug-expiry-date-a-necessary-safety-measure-or-yet-another-big-pharma-conspiracy/ An explanation of what drug expiration dates really mean and how they are determined. No single rule can tell us if an expired product is still safe and effective, but there are helpful guidelines.
Announcement: New Edition of Consumer Health (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/announcement-new-edition-of-consumer-health/ The 9th edition of the college textbook Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions has just come out. Authors: Stephen Barrett, William London, Manfred Kroger, Harriet Hall, and Robert Baratz. It’s packed with information and is totally woo-free, but unfortunately it’s terribly expensive.
Dental X-rays and Brain Tumors - Oh My! (Steve Hendry and Grant Ritchey) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/dental-x-rays-and-brain-tumors-oh-my/ A recent study supposedly linked dental x-rays to brain tumors, but its data were flawed. Two dentists provide a lucid explanation of why we needn’t worry. They also provide handy tables that put dental x-rays into perspective with other sources of radiation exposure.