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-woo in medicine.
It’s a part of my paleo fantasy, it’s a part of my paleo dream (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/its-a-part-of-my-paleo-fantasy-its-a-part-of-my-paleo-dream/ It is a popular myth that our ancestors were healthy and that diseases like cardiovascular disease are a result of modern lifestyles and can be prevented by diet. A study of ancient mummies spanning 4000 years and 4 different geographic locations shows that atherosclerosis was prevalent in preindustrial populations. The evolutionary arguments for the paleo diet do not stand up to scrutiny.
Dr. Amen’s Love Affair with SPECT Scans (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/dr-amens-love-affair-with-spect-scans/ Dr. Daniel Amen is a psychiatrist (unfortunately featured on PBS) whose chain of Amen Clinics does SPECT scans on all patients, exposing them to radiation and charging them thousands of dollars for a test that has not been shown to contribute to diagnosis or improve treatment of the conditions he treats. An article he wrote to justify his approach is far from convincing.
Clinical Decision-Making Part III (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/clinical-decision-making-part-iii/ The series continues with a discussion of some of the logical fallacies and heuristics that tend to bias and distort clinical reasoning. Cognitive biases include pattern recognition, data mining, confirmation bias, the representativeness heuristic, and the toupee fallacy.
At Your Own Risk (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/at-your-own-risk/ Three recent reports demonstrate that dietary supplement regulation is inadequate. The requirement for manufacturers to substantiate structure/function claims has no teeth. Labels continue to make illegal claims, and the burden is on the FDA to prove that a supplement is harmful. The recent death of a soldier taking Jack3d puts a human face on the problem. The fox is guarding the henhouse.
Comprehending the Incomprehensible (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/comprehending-the-incomprehensible/ It takes special skills to evaluate SCAM research. When statistics are applied to fantasy interventions like homeopathy, it’s easy to take them at face value and miss the subtle biases that allow magic to be perceived as real. Dr. Crislip offers some basic principles to keep in mind.
A Little Swedish interlude (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/a-little-swedish-interlude/ Dr. Gorski is featured on a Swedish skeptical podcast. His part is in English.