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Last Week In Science-Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Harriet Hall, MD, The SkepDoc   

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.

The General Medical Council to Andrew Wakefield: “The panel is satisfied that your conduct was irresponsible and dishonest” (David Gorski) Andrew Wakefield’s 1999 study in The Lancet was used to frighten parents into forgoing the MMR vaccine, causing a resurgence of measles to endemic levels: it was at best dubious science and at worst fraudulent. The British equivalent of American state medical boards has ruled that Wakefield’s research was unethical and his conduct dishonest.

Success in the fight against childhood diarrhea (Peter Lipson)  Two recent studies have confirmed that rotavirus vaccine appears to be a safe, effective measure for preventing one of the world’s most common causes of childhood mortality.

Do Cell Phones Prevent Alzheimer’s? (Harriet Hall) A new study purports to show that using cell phones can prevent Alzheimer’s, treat Alzheimer’s, and even improve cognitive function in healthy users.  Its results are questionable.

The Lancet retracts Andrew Wakefield’s article (Steven Novella) Wakefield’s article about MMR, autism and bowel disease had already been retracted by 10 out of 12 co-authors. In the wake of the General Medical Council’s findings of Wakefield’s dishonesty, The Lancet has now taken the unusual step of fully retracting the article from the published record.

Study shows antidepressants useless for mild to moderate depression? Not exactly. (Amy Tuteur) A recent meta-analysis supposedly showed that antidepressants are ineffective for mild to moderate depression. The study is limited, fraught with problems, and its conclusions are misleading and irresponsible.

Energy Healing in Maryland (Val Jones) A hospital in Maryland is offering nurse-guided therapeutic touch and Reiki healing for inpatients. Dr. Jones answers a reporter’s questions, starting with the fact that there is no scientific evidence for energy healing.

Yes, Jacqueline: EBM ought to be Synonymous with SBM (Kimball Atwood) A blogger correctly said that evidence-based medicine should be synonymous with science-based medicine; it should, but in practice it isn’t. The commonly accepted guidelines for EBM give short shrift to prior plausibility, the laws of physics, and common sense.