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Last Week In Science Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Dr. Harriet Hall   
Monday, 27 January 2014 09:00

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.

Stanislaw Burzynski: Using 1990s techniques to battle the FDA today (David Gorski)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/stanislaw-burzynski-trying-to-relive-his-success-beating-the-rap-in-the-1990s/ In the 1990s, Burzynski got cancer patients to lobby Congress to force the FDA to allow him to use antineoplastons. The strategy worked that time, and his supporters are trying it again. Change.org petitions, the ANP Coalition, and other efforts rely on emotional appeals and rhetoric rather than science. How can we counter their influence?

Top 10 Chiropractic Studies of 2013 (Harriet Hall)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/top-10-chiropractic-studies-of-2013/ ChiroNexus listed the top 10 studies of 2013. One isn’t a study at all, one is a negative study misrepresented as positive, and the rest are poorly designed small studies without control groups or with inadequate controls, with evidence of bias and with questionable clinical relevance. If these are the top 10, the rest must be truly terrible.

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Another One Bites the Dust PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jamy Ian Swiss   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 09:00

Many skeptics like myself have been closely following the recent run of criminal prosecutions of professional psychics. Notable among these cases has been that of the Rose Marks family clan that was prosecuted in South Florida. I have written about various developments in the story, including here:

Inhuman Predators

And about Marks’ conviction here:

The latest installment of Real Life Karma, or what goes around sometimes comes around when prosecutors decide to do their jobs, was in the news last week when 44-year-old Nancy Marks, sister-in-law of psychic racketeer Rose Marks, was sentenced to a prison term of three years and nine months, and ordered to repay more than 2.2 million dollars to her victims.

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Misinformation breakdown: This week in Doubtful News for January 21, 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Sharon Hill   
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 09:00

 Here is a rundown of the stories about freaky nature and frightening beliefs courtesy of Doubtful News.

Skeptical activism activity for this week is to learn about how Target chain is selling homeopathic asthma treatment Unethical? Dangerous? You bet. You can do something.

 

The deaths from influenza this season continue to mount. Misinformation about the flu is a direct cause for… death.

 

In an astounding story, police report that two children are dead and two more injured after a mother and another stab them during a so-called exorcism. There are few details so far on this disturbing crime which took place in a home outside of Washington, DC.

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Last Week In Science Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Dr. Harriet Hall   
Monday, 20 January 2014 09:00

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.

Placebo effects are not the “power of positive thinking” (David Gorski)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/ted-kaptchuk-versus-placebo-effects-again/ Ted Kaptchuk thinks placebos constitute effective treatment and believes it is possible to use them without deception. His new study compared placebo to the drug Maxalt for migraine, manipulating the information given to subjects as negative, neutral, or positive. Kaptchuk has hyped the results as showing the power of positive thinking, ignoring the fact that there were no more people free of pain in the placebo group than in the no treatment group. The study doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know.

Tribalism and Medical Ethics (Harriet Hall)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/tribalism-and-medical-ethics/ A new book by Joshua Greene argues that tribalism is the central tragedy of modern life. He provides intriguing insights from evolution and from recent studies in psychology and neuroscience to inform a new understanding of morality, and he argues for a pragmatic utilitarianism. His ideas are applicable to medical ethics and controversies like abortion.

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2014's Skeptic Conference Schedule Shows Continued Signs of Growth PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Tim Farley   
Friday, 17 January 2014 09:00

 As we begin 2014 the skeptic conference schedule is already starting to shape up. Last weekend the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS) announced its guest lineup and opened registration. Already four Skepticamps have been scheduled in the first months of the year. And it was revealed that the Australia and New Zealand national conferences this year will be held one week apart in part so that George Hrab, Steven Novella and the rest of the cast of the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe can attend both events. There are also two biennial events planned this year in Europe in September - Denkfest in Zurich and Kritisk Masse in Oslo.  

It shouldn't surprise observant skeptics that the schedule is so full. In 2013 there were over 55 multi-speaker conferences, symposia and workshops targeted (in whole or in part) at scientific skeptics worldwide - so many that there were many weekends with more than one simultaneous event. Included in this number are the 19 Skepticamps that were held last year.  These are attendee-curated "unconferences" first held in 2007, and are smaller and regional in nature.

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