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.
Naturopathic Medicine Week 2013, or: Quackery Week 2013 (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/naturopathic-medicine-week-2013/ The U.S. Senate passed a resolution declaring the week of October 7-13 to be Naturopathic Medicine Week, recognizing the value of naturopathic medicine in providing safe, effective, and affordable health care. One out of three ain’t bad: it may be affordable. But the vast majority of ideas and treatments offered by naturopaths are quackery. Their training does not qualify them to function as primary care providers.
Is U.S. cancer care “in crisis,” as the Institute of Medicine proclaims? (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/is-u-s-cancer-care-in-crisis-as-the-institute-of-medicine-proclaims/ A 360 page IOM report declared cancer care “in crisis.” It isn’t, although it does have problems: we need better staffing and training, a better IT system, and accessible, affordable care. The IOM report made some excellent recommendations. It is a good example of how science-based medicine rigorously critiques its own practices and is constantly trying to improve.
Baby’s DNA in Mom’s Blood: Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/babys-dna-in-moms-blood-noninvasive-prenatal-testing/ It is now possible to retrieve cell-free fetal DNA from the mother’s blood and analyze it to diagnose Down syndrome and other abnormalities. Currently available cfDNA tests are non-invasive and safe, but the information they provide is limited. They are useful only in high-risk pregnancies, and their results must be confirmed by subsequent invasive testing.
Quantum Neurology (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/quantum-neurology/ So-called “quantum neurology” is a mixture of nonsense and snake oil in a shiny new pseudoscientific package. It is only straight-chiropractic vitalism with a new name. Poorly written, error-filled case studies are their only “evidence.” “Quantum neurology” is a marketing term intended to fool customers into thinking pseudoscience is science.
CAM Docket: Functional Endocrinology Update (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/cam-docket-functional-endocrinology-update/ The Colorado chiropractors who claimed they could reverse diabetes in 3 weeks were investigated and exposed by a television reporter, and now the State Medical Board has ordered them to stop practicing medicine without a license. Defrauded patients have filed a lawsuit, and the chiropractors have filed for bankruptcy. Unfortunately, so-called “Functional Endocrinology” continues to be practiced and aggressively marketed by other chiropractors elsewhere.
What are words for? (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/what-are-words-for/ Influenza is deadly, and flu shots are safe and effective, although admittedly not as effective as we would wish. The anti-vaccine contingent continues to circulate false information that has been repeatedly debunked. Ignore them. Get your flu shot.