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 American Medical Student Association: On “integrating” quackery with science-based medicine (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-american-medical-student-association-a-corrosive-force/ The AMSA has various initiatives in “integrative medicine;” numerous examples of blatant quackery are included. It is unfortunate that medical students are embracing unscientific medicine. Not all students support it; some correctly take a dim view of it, and a majority (shruggies) think fighting it is not important.
The War Against Chiropractors (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-war-against-chiropractors/ A chiropractor’s book claims that the AMA unfairly persecuted chiropractors in an all-out war against their competition, motivated only by money. The true history is very different. The book is a vicious screed filled with inaccuracies, poor reasoning, and insulting comparisons of doctors to Nazis; the author fails to make his case and degrades chiropractic.
The Placebo Gene (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-placebo-gene/ A recent study found that a variant gene for Catechol-O-Methyl Transferase increases dopamine activity and appears to be correlated with response to placebos. This might predict response to various kinds of psychological interventions. The study is preliminary but intriguing, and it raises more questions than it answers.
Weak drug regulation and patient tragedies: We’ve seen this story before (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/weak-drug-regulation-and-patient-tragedies-weve-seen-this-story-before/ FDA regulations have a loophole: compounding pharmacies fall under state pharmacy regulators and oversight is not as good as for drug manufacturing companies. The recent outbreak of fungal meningitis from contamination of injectable drugs prepared in a compounding pharmacy may provide the impetus for more appropriate regulation.
Following the Guidelines of Science: A Chiropractic Dilemma (Sam Homola) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/following-the-guidelines-of-science-a-chiropractic-dilemma/ Samuel Homola was vilified by other chiropractors for exposing the problems of chiropractic. He describes his lifelong struggle against the subluxation myth and against quackery practiced by his colleagues. He explains why persons who want to provide manipulative therapies should become doctors of physical therapy and why chiropractic is not a viable career choice.