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Last Week on Science Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   
Monday, 01 September 2014 13:55

The Science-based Medicine summaries return! 

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 false dichotomies of CAM and “integrative medicine” (David Gorski)  
Victoria Stern uses faulty reasoning to argue that while alternative medicine is bad, integrative medicine (that integrates alternative with conventional medicine) is good. She seems to think that only integrative medicine can address the “whole” patient and that it is necessary to embrace quackery in order to form a “true bond” between doctor and patient.

“Atavistic oncology” revisited: Dr. Frank Arguello responds (David Gorski)  Dr. Gorski criticized Dr. Arguello’s “atavistic chemotherapy” because it is untested, based on a questionable rationale, unpublished, and not even properly defined. Dr. Arguello demanded that he retract the article. His letters and e-mails (reproduced here in full) consist not of a rational response to Gorski’s criticisms, but of insults, ad hominem arguments, threats of legal action, letters to Dr. Gorski’s employers, excuses, and a challenge in the form of an experiment on a patient that would be unethical and that he had not even asked the patient about.

Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff) (Harriet Hall) Three recent articles confirm the understanding that too much salt is bad for health but provide evidence that too little salt is harmful too. Existing guidelines may be too extreme. Pink Himalayan salt has been recommended (by unreliable sources) because it contains 84 trace minerals, but some of those minerals are radioactive and poisonous.

Vitamin K Refusal – The New Anti-Vax (Steven Novella)  Some parents are endangering the health of their newborns by refusing the routine vitamin K injection that protects children for 6 months until they start getting enough vitamin K in their diet. Without this supplementation, there is a small but devastating risk of bleeding, brain damage, and even death. Irrational adherence to the naturalistic fallacy is largely to blame for both vaccine refusal and vitamin K refusal.

Clinical trials of integrative medicine: testing whether magic works? (David Gorski)  David Gorski and Steven Novella have managed to get an article published in a very good medical journal to present the SBM view. They show why randomized clinical trials of highly implausible CAM treatments such as homeopathy or reiki should be discouraged.

Tens of millions for CAM research – and it’s all on your dime (Jann Bellamy)  The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 was enacted to empower citizens to hold the government responsible for wasteful spending. Millions are being spent on research into acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopathy, homeopathy, and improbable treatments like chelation for heart disease. It’s time to stop wasting government money that could be better spent on more plausible areas of research.

That’s So Chiropractic (Mark Crislip)  A study attempted to correlate spinal health to overall wellness by dissecting 75 human cadavers and attributing diseases of the internal organs to misalignments of the vertebrae. Another trial with only 14 patients and no controls purported to show that chiropractic effectively treats autism. Such studies are methodologically horrible and useless. Chiropractors continue to discourage vaccination, to deny the risks of neck manipulations, and to offer unsubstantiated theories; and yet they want to become primary care providers!  

 
Still Amazing press from Miami Herald PDF Print E-mail
James Randi
Written by JREFAdmin   
Saturday, 30 August 2014 16:26

A nice piece from the Miami Herald today:

At 86, James Randi is still amazing:

 

He has been a professional magician — The Amazing Randi — for more than seven decades, and the skeptical scourge of practitioners of the paranormal for more than four.

He escaped from a straitjacket dangling over Niagara Falls and survived. He chopped off goth-rocker Alice Cooper’s head, and Cooper survived. He sent millionaire faith-healers into bankruptcy, ruined Israeli mentalist Uri Geller’s act in front of a national television audience on The Tonight Show, and wrecked a government research project on psychic powers.

Have a look at the whole piece : http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/08/30/4316916/at-86-james-randi-is-still-amazing.html

 
An Inquiry PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   
Thursday, 28 August 2014 17:48

 

Circa 1950 – probably post WW2 – Martin Gardner was the principle “magician” in a series of television shorts demonstrating tricks. These were designed to accompany an advertising campaign – e.g., Martin demonstrated a trick/illusion, then they cut to a “brought to you by Zingerman’s furniture store, where this week’s special is…,” followed by Martin revealing the trick. 

 

Apparently, according to Martin’s son Jim, someone had the video files of these performances, which he loaned to a local magician years ago, and they were then lost. Now Jim is trying to find them, and has asked me to inquire on SWIFT when/where these videos were produced. New York? Chicago? – and who might have the originals.

 

Any suggestions on this inquiry will help.

 

Thank you!

Send replies to jref@randi.org

 

 
Where have we gone? PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Sharon Hill   
Thursday, 28 August 2014 10:08

Yes, the updates are few these days but I wanted to post to let you know that we are working behind the scenes to improve the current website to make it more user friendly and easier to read. 

We decided not to add new content to the existing layout but take a bit of an online rest to plan out new content for the site. 

If you are interested in being a Swift blog contributor, send your proposal to the Editor (that would be me) at Editor@randi.org. I will start lining up contributors and articles regarding critical thinking education, skeptical activism, investigations, commentary and news. Also note that Doubtful News content will be coming to the JREF. 

Thanks for your patience.

Sharon
Content Editor

 
In Memoriam from TAM 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Amazing Meeting
Written by JREFAdmin   
Monday, 18 August 2014 17:10

Each year at The Amazing Meeting, a presentation is made remembering the people of skepticism who have died since the previous year’s event. Advocates and supporters of skepticism and science are remembered of course, in the "In Memoriam" section of the presentation. But we also remember our cultural competitors who have passed on as well, in the "Passages" section. This year we also included some individuals who had died in previous years but who had been missed in previous presentations.

Here is the presentation as it appeared at TAM 2014 this year.

The presentation was designed and produced by Daniel and Cheryl Loxton. The information was researched by Tim Farley with help from Tim Binga, Kendrick Frazier, Sharon Hill, Jim Lippard, Hemant Mehta, Lei Pinter, Robert Sheaffer and Jamy Ian Swiss, among others.

Read more...
 
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