Beware Stem Cell Clinics that Offer Untested Treatments

Stem cell treatments are all the rage. Since they’re mostly illegal in the US, patients have been going to other countries for treatment (stem cell tourism). The claims are grandiose, but the evidence to support those claims is thin gruel. What are stem cells? Embryonic stem cells are the cells in the early embryo that

Gender Dysphoria in Children

Gender transitions are becoming more and more common. Adults can make informed decisions about hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgeries, but what about children? In 1952, front page headlines trumpeted “Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty.” George Jorgensen was an American army veteran who had sex reassignment surgery in Denmark and returned to the US as a

The Case That CAM Is Unethical

Edzard Ernst is arguably the world’s foremost expert on the claims and the evidence (or lack thereof) for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Now he has teamed up with a medical ethicist, Kevin Smith, to co-author a new book, More Harm than Good? The Moral Maze of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Much has been written on

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

The Ethics of CAM: More Harm than Good?

Edzard Ernst is arguably the world’s foremost expert on the claims and the evidence (or lack thereof) for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Now he has teamed up with a medical ethicist, Kevin Smith, to co-author a new book, More Harm than Good? The Moral Maze of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Much has been written

Doc Doc Zeus: A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of Medical Boards

A novel about a doctor who raped a minor and is being investigated by his state medical board provides behind-the-scene insights into the workings of medical boards. It helps explain why these boards are so often ineffective, why medical malfeasance so often leads to a token disciplinary action rather than to loss of license. In

Stem Cells for Macular Degeneration: Meticulous Science vs. Unethical Carelessness

Rigorous scientists stabilized a patient’s macular degeneration with a cutting-edge stem cell treatment; less rigorous scientists misapplied stem cell science and left three women blind. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of vision loss in people over 50. Thirty percent of us will develop it by age 75-85. There is no cure. For

Is Homeopathy Unethical?

Homeopathy is full of crap! Borrowed with loving attribution from Hell’s News Stand. Go to He…go there! “A gentle ethical defence of homeopathy” by Levy et al. was recently published in an ethics journal. A full-text preprint is available online. They say: Utilitarian critiques of homeopathy that are founded on unsophisticated notions of evidence, that adopt narrow perspectives

Cancer Centers and Advertising Practices

Video advertisement for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, hosted on their website. Note at the bottom the statement “No case is typical. You should not expect to experience these results” (click to embiggen). You have probably seen the TV commercials or other ads for Cancer Treatment Centers of America. They make it sound like

Facing Decline and Death

We’re all going to die. (There’s nothing like starting on a positive note! ? ) We’re all going to die, and if we are fortunate enough to survive long enough to become old, we’re all going to experience a decline of one sort or another before we die: reduced hearing and vision, less strength, poorer memory, etc.