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Last Week In Science Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   
Friday, 20 June 2014 17:13

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.

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From Fundamentalist Mormon to Skeptic PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Dr. Karen Stollznow   
Thursday, 12 June 2014 16:22

I enjoy plane trips because these are the only times I get to read for enjoyment. On a recent flight my book of choice was a title by skeptic Steve Cuno and Joanne Hanks. “It’s Not About The Sex” My Ass: Confessions of an ex-Mormon, ex-Polygamist ex-wife tells the fascinating story of Joanne’s personal journey from mainline Mormon, to fundamentalist Mormon, to non-believer. 

This case is interesting in that most fundamentalists are born into these groups, while Joanne and her husband chose to join a polygamist cult. Joanne and her chiropractor husband Jeff were raised as members of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). They both had family with a polygamist past. Following exposure to Second Coming propaganda, they decided that the end was nigh, and they needed to return to the original church to ensure their salvation. After shopping around for a sect, the couple and their three young children moved to Manti, Utah, and joined James Harmston’s True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of the Last Days (TLC). As per section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants, Jeff took a “celestial wife” and the family was promptly excommunicated by the LDS. 

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Last Week In Science Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   
Monday, 09 June 2014 13:13

Here is a recap of the stories that appeared over the past several weeks at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo-woo in medicine.

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Austin’s “Haunted” Driskill Hotel PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Dr. Karen Stollznow   
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 16:02

The Driskill Hotel is an historic building in downtown Austin, Texas. Opened in 1886 by Civil War Colonel Jesse Driskill, the compulsive gambler promptly lost the hotel in a high-stakes poker game the following year. In 1890, Driskill died a broken man, and is believed to haunt the hotel to this day. It is said that he makes his presence known by the scent of his cigar smoke and the occasional appearance in a guest’s room, and especially to the ladies. 

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Last Week In Science Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   
Monday, 19 May 2014 16:45

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.

A formal request for retraction of a Cancer article (James Coyne)
A plea for Cancer to retract an article claiming that psychotherapy delays recurrence and extends survival for breast cancer patients. It’s just another poorly conceived attempt to validate fanciful ideas about “mind over matter” in cancer treatment. Its conclusions are not supported by simple analyses, but only by the authors’ inappropriate multivariate analyses. The research design was flawed, there is no plausible mechanism to explain their results, it is essentially a negative study misrepresented as positive, and the authors attempted to block publication of criticisms.

Gary Taubes and the Cause of Obesity (Harriet Hall)
Gary Taubes wants everyone to adopt a low-carb diet. He offers a plausible rationale but admits that the evidence isn’t in yet. Whatever the underlying cause of obesity, there are practical ways to achieve weight loss by reducing calorie intake below expenditure while we wait for better evidence. Strict low-carb diets are one way to achieve lower total calorie intake and may be somewhat more effective than other diets in the short term, but they have not proven more effective in the long term. 

Dialogue on “Alternative Therapies”  (Steven Novella)
In an opinion piece in The New York Times, James Gordon represents many common misconceptions about mainstream medicine and CAM. Mainstream medicine does not “dictate” drugs and surgery, and nutrition and exercise are mainstream, not “alternative.” It is mainstream medicine, not CAM, that addresses underlying causes. The rising costs of health care can be best addressed by not wasting money on dubious treatments.

Legislative Alchemy 2014 (so far) (Jann Bellamy)
Legislative alchemy is the process by which legislators turn practitioners of pseudoscience into state-licensed health care professionals, unleashing quackery on the public. Recently, chiropractors have suffered some defeats; naturopaths have achieved licensing in two more states; acupuncture bills are pending; and Vermont has passed a “chronic Lyme disease” bill. You can track CAM-related bills in your state through a list maintained on the Society for Science-Based Medicine website.

More Dialogs (Mark Crislip)
Another response to Gordon’s opinions in The New York Times. Medicine has issues, but the solution is not to turn to therapies based on fantasy and magic. Dr. Crislip distinguishes 4 categories of SCAMS: magic, plausible, inadequately tested, and things that are not CAM at all, like diet and exercise. Gordon’s call for a dialog on CAM is only a distraction from effective efforts to improve reality-based practice.

 
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