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 murder of autistic teen Alex Spourdalakis by his mother and caregiver: What happened? (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-murder-of-autistic-teen-alex-spourdalakis-by-his-mother-and-caregiver-what-happened/ An autistic teen was stabbed to death by his mother, with the collusion of his caregiver. There are some puzzling things about the case as reported. A video plea by Andrew Wakefield suggests the possibility that the killer may have been subjecting her son to autism biomed quackery.
More bad science in the service of anti-GMO activism (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/once-more-bad-science-in-the-service-of-anti-gmo-activism/ A study supposedly showed that pigs fed GMO corn developed stomach inflammation. The study is not credible. Among other things, the scoring of inflammation was deceptive, the data are all over the map, and the pigs were sick: over half of them had pneumonia. This is not good science; it’s little more than fear-mongering by people biased against GMO.
Tag Away (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/tag-away/ A new homeopathic product promises to remove skin tags. There’s no evidence that it works, and the product “stinks” both literally and figuratively.
“Sense and nonsense” about alternative medicine in USA Today (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/sense-and-nonsense-about-alternative-medicine-in-usa-today/ USA Today has published a favorable review of Paul Offit’s Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine. It raises alarms about alternative medicine and quotes our own Steve Novella and David Gorski.
Acupuncture Doesn’t Work (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/acupuncture-doesnt-work/ Drs. Novella and Colquhoun have written the “con” side of a published debate on acupuncture. The complete text is reprinted here. After 3000 trials, researchers have failed to reject the null hypothesis, and any remaining possible specific effect from acupuncture is so tiny as to be clinically insignificant. It has been established that acupuncture is only a theatrical placebo.
Coenzyme Q10 for heart failure: The hype and the science (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/coenzyme-q10-for-heart-failure-the-hype-and-the-science/ A new study, as yet unpublished, found that the diet supplement coenzyme Q10 reduced morbidity and mortality in heart failure. The lead investigator is already calling for widespread use, but there are reasons to question the results. We should be skeptical until the study is published and replicated.