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.
Mortality and lack of health insurance (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/health-insurance-and-mortality/ Apart from the political questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act, science can look objectively at the impact of insurance on health. A rigorous body of scientific evidence shows that not having insurance is associated with worse health outcomes by many measures, including higher mortality rates.
Sports Physicals, Sudden Death, and Chiropractors (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/sports-physicals-sudden-death-and-chiropractors/ Chiropractors want authorization to do sports physicals, but they are not qualified. The whole rationale for sports physicals is reviewed, especially the goal of preventing sudden death in young athletes. In practice, these physicals are not very effective in preventing injury or death, even when done by MDs.
A PANDAS Story (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/a-pandas-story/ The problem of conflicting narratives is illustrated by the case of a girl with PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections). The diagnosis is a controversial one, but doctors are not the dismissive villains the media make them out to be.
Obamacare and CAM III: Great Expectations (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/obamacare-and-cam-iii-great-expectations/ CAM providers hope to be incorporated into health care as primary care providers under the Affordable Care Act. The wording of the Act makes that unlikely. CAM providers will face greater accountability and scrutiny by other health care providers and will be required to meet evidence-based standards and demonstrate cost-effectiveness.
More Boosting (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/more-boosting/ The whole concept of “boosting your immune system” is a myth. The immune system is a complex web, and “boosting” it would mean an inflammatory response with increased risk of thrombotic events (like heart attacks) and autoimmune diseases. CAM advice about how to improve immune function is either useless or counterproductive.