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JREF Swift Blog
Swift, named for Jonathan Swift, is the JREF's daily blog, featuring content from James Randi, the JREF staff, and other featured authors.

Chelation for Autism - Putting the Cart before the Unicorn PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Dr. Steven Novella   

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a challenging neurological condition characterized by difficulty with social interaction and communication. As the name implies, it occurs across a wide spectrum from barely detectable to debilitating. ASD is usually diagnosed by 3 years old, but studies have found that signs are often present as early as six months old.

It is understandable that parents of children with ASD are eager for effective treatments and feel obligated to do their best for their children by leaving no stone unturned. This is not, however, always the best approach in medicine. Some stones can cause harm and are best left unturned.  

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Flu Vaccine Blamed for Death PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Dr. Steve Novella   

 The story of Chandler Webb is a tragic one. He was a healthy 19-year-old boy who late in October developed a headache and vomiting. His symptoms progressed quickly, and a week later he was admitted to the hospital, where he continued to progress despite treatment.

Chandler was diagnosed with encephalitis – inflammation and swelling of the brain. This is a serious condition, potentially fatal. I have treated many cases of encephalitis, and they are always challenging. Chandler’s doctors are not free to disclose the details of the case, but from his Mother’s descriptions and the news reports it seems like a typical case.

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The Psychology of the Perfect Holiday Season PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Sheldon Helms   

 Contrary to what some might think, a majority of skeptics celebrate winter holidays. December is the time of year when we join millions of others in an odd mixture of anticipation and angst, joy and judgment, happiness and headaches.

 

Luckily, there’s a science to enjoying the holidays. Hundreds of studies have been published on some of the key components (and the main sources of the stress) of this time of year, many of which can provide us with tips not just for surviving the holidays, but for actually enhancing our enjoyment of them. In offering my advice as a social scientist, I would like to suggest concentrating on following the science available regarding three main elements of the holiday season: 1. Holiday gift giving, 2. Holiday spending, and 3. Holiday food.

 

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MYSTERIES NEW AND OLD PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jamy Ian Swiss   

                                Ouija Board

“The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board” is an interesting article available at Smithsonian.com. Posted on October 28 no doubt intended to coincide with Hallowe’en, the piece provides interesting history of the spiritualistic device, which first appeared in spiritualistic camps during the heyday of American spiritualism in the late 19th century. The “talking board” was eventually patented in 1891, albeit that the patent does not explain how the device worked.

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The Honest Liar - What's America's Most Deceptive Sport? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jamy Ian Swiss   

If you're the kind of baseball fan I am, now that the baseball season is over you're counting the days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training, and hungry for a little baseball news or information. So in this installment of the Honest Liar, I turn my attention away from traditional skeptic subjects and take a look at the critically important but concealed role that deception plays in the American pastime.

After you've watched the video, you might be interested in this incident that occurred in the post season, in September, in a game between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles, and a confrontation that arose over the issue of stealing signs:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130909&content_id=60063676&c_id=bal

 

 
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