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.
Yes, Chris beat cancer, but it wasn’t quackery that cured (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/chris-beat-cancer/ Most claims of alternative cancer cures are based on misunderstandings. Chris Wark claims to have cured himself of stage 3 colon cancer with nutrition and natural therapies after he had surgery but refused chemotherapy. The truth is that with surgery alone, his odds of surviving 5 years were around 64%, and that amounts to a cure, since those cancers seldom recur after 5 years. With adjuvant chemotherapy, he would have increased his odds of 5 year survival by 12-16%. It was surgery, not natural therapies, that beat his cancer,.
Chiropractic Education for Primary Care (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/chiropractic-education-for-primary-care/The NHUS is training chiropractors to become primary care physicians. A study of diagnostic categories for patients seen in their teaching clinic purported to show that their training is adequate preparation for that role, but in reality it shows just the opposite.
If you missed The Amaz!ng Meeting 2013, you can still catch great talks on science and skepticism given live from the TAM 2013 stage, at the James Randi Educational Foundation's YouTube page. This week's videos include James Randi's 2013 keynote address, "Fighting the Fakers":
I recently tried to make a casual connection with the "LinkedIn" system and found that it can be a rather insidious experience. They reached into my computer and extracted every contact I'd ever made - some of them from a decade or more back - and I found that I'd inadvertently asked every one of several hundred persons to "link" with me. My personal - confidential - email address was distributed worldwide, and now I have to cancel that and establish a new one.
I'll be contacting those with whom I wish to share personal contact, while I still welcome communications to the JREF, some of which I can - and will - respond to personally.
My tedious medical problems are responding to proper care, and I'm looking forward to being fully "in the saddle" again and showing up in SWIFT regularly. I regret my absence, and I'm grateful for all the kind encouragement that has poured in from JREFers and others around the world. Many thanks...
An article published in The Economist reviews what skeptics have been talking about for years. There is a lot of crappy research out there that is unreliable. This means that just because you can find some studies that appear to support your position, it does not mean your position is correct. You cannot know the answer to a question by cherry-picking the studies you want. You have to do a critical analysis of all the research.
The full article is worth a read, and regular readers of skeptical blogs will probably recognize many of the points and references, but will also likely learn some new details. Here is my own summary of the major areas of concern regarding the quality and reliability of published scientific research.