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.
The “No Compassion” Gambit (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-no-compassion-gambit/ Skeptics who question quack cancer cures and other alternative medicine beliefs are frequently accused of having no compassion for the patients. But they are the ones who are truly compassionate. Instead of offering false hopes and useless treatment regimens that diminish quality of life, skeptics offer reality and promote what is really in the patient's best interests in the long run.
Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/adventures-on-the-alimentary-canal/ Mary Roach, a hands-on investigative reporter billed as America’s funniest science writer, has a new book out: Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. It’s full of informative and entertaining vignettes about the digestive system, from historical misadventures to cutting edge science. Includes tidbits like this: men fart more but women’s farts smell worse.
Pseudoacademia (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/pseudoacademia/ The integrity of the scientific basis of medicine is under attack from numerous fronts. Now we have a new source of pseudoscience to contend with: open-access journals. Some of them are very poor quality, have little or no peer review, and will publish anything as long as authors pay a fee. Some of them are outright scams.
Cranberry: The Alt-med Zombie (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/cranberry-the-alt-med-zombie/ The belief that cranberry juice can prevent and treat urinary tract infections refuses to die. A good systematic review of the evidence showed it doesn’t work. Believers tweaked another systematic review to make it look like there was an effect; but even so the benefit was minimal, not clinically significant.
Veterinary Chiropractic (Brennen McKenzie) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/veterinary-chiropractic/ Chiropractors are treating animals and veterinarians are doing spinal adjustments, sometimes in compliance with the law and sometimes not; but there is no evidence that chiropractic therapy benefits animals, and the risks in animals have not been studied. One indirect risk: chiropractic is often associated with opposition to conventional medical care and with other unproven or clearly ineffective alternative therapies.