A Refreshing Take on Dealing with Cancer

Book review of Persevere: A Life with Cancer, by Lisa Bonchek Adams. This book is a gem. Lisa Bonchek Adams was an atheist, a realist, and a talented writer and poet. Before her recent death from breast cancer, she shared her experience and her insights with the world in the form of blogs and poems.

Estrogen Matters

Hormone replacement therapy in menopause is safer and more effective than we have been led to believe. A new book examines the evidence and sets the record straight. Estrogen replacement stops hot flashes cold and is a veritable Fountain of Youth. Estrogen replacement is dangerous: it kills women. It prevents heart disease. It causes heart

Smoking Cessation

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death. There are effective pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods to help people stop smoking. Conventional medicine is often accused of ignoring prevention, just letting preventable diseases develop, and then only treating symptoms. And the Science-Based Medicine blog is often accused of ignoring the flaws of conventional medicine

Cowabunga! Can Cow Therapy Cure Cancer?

A hospital in India offers to cure cancer in 11 days with Ayurveda and cow therapy, giving patients a drink of desi cow milk, yogurt, ghee, urine, and dung. It’s very unlikely that cow therapy can cure cancer; but in another sense, the author of the book Holy Cancer says it “healed” him. You have

Do Sunscreens Cause Cancer?

The diagnostic characteristics of melanoma A reader asked me to look into the claims that sunscreens cause cancer, especially the claims made by Elizabeth Plourde. When our own Scott Gavura evaluated sunscreens, he concluded: The data on sunscreen use and cancer risk are complex, but on balance suggest that the short-term and long-terms benefits of

Announcing: Video Lecture Course on Science-Based Medicine

A couple of years ago, the James Randi Educational Foundation commissioned me to develop a series of 10 video lectures on Science-Based Medicine. After a lot of work and many vicissitudes, it is now available. The lecture titles are: Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine What Is CAM? Chiropractic Acupuncture Homeopathy Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine Energy Medicine Miscellaneous

Chiropractor Lost His License; Patient Lost Her Uterus

Flowers of the bloodroot plant, Sanguinaria canadensis. You’re welcome, I could have used a very different image (warning: gross bordering on horrifying). I first wrote about escharotic treatment for cervical dysplasia in 2015. A caustic substance is applied to the cervix. This produces an uncontrolled chemical burn and the dead tissue sloughs off, hopefully taking

Why Do Things That Are Unlikely to Harm Us Get the Most Attention?

We are very bad at assessing risk, often giving the most attention to the things that are least likely to harm us. Geoffrey Kabat’s new book teaches us how to think more clearly about scientific studies of environmental health risks. Sharks get a lot of bad press and inspire a lot of fear, but in

Precision Medicine and Uncertainty

Precision medicine is a development that promises to tailor treatments to the individual patient based on genetic and other molecular and cellular analyses. In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative. A website for Precision Medicine claims to offer “perfect care for every individual.” Much of what we read

Chiropractic Gynecologist Offers Dangerous Treatments and Misinformation

Over a year ago I wrote about escharotic treatments for cervical dysplasia. It is offered not by MD gynecologists but by chiropractors and naturopaths, along with inconsistent and unproven diet recommendations and supplements. A corrosive agent similar to “black salve” is applied repeatedly to the cervix; it works by destroying tissue. There are no controlled studies