More About Flu Vaccine

More evidence that flu shots work, that they are safe during pregnancy, and that they don’t cause autism. Last week I wrote about influenza vaccines. I provided a link to a site summarizing the evidence that flu shots are effective and safe. Nevertheless, one reader commented “The flu vaccine does not work,” citing a Cochrane

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

Chiropractic for Children?

Amy Differ from Elk Grove, California, inquires about what she heard other mothers saying in a waiting room. “I was shocked to hear that many of them take their children to chiropractors and even have newborns adjusted for supposed misalignment that happens at birth! Have you heard about this? How dangerous is this? Have you

MyMedLab Offers Expensive, Useless, Nonstandard Lab Tests

  One of our regular commenters forwarded to me an email that had slipped by her spam filters. It was from MyMedLab, whose slogan is “Lab Tests the Easy Way.” It starts out: What is glyphosate? Glyphosate was patented as an antibiotic Glyphosate kills bacteria in the soil The same bacteria exists in our gut

Preying on the Vulnerable: Electrodiagnostics, Bach Flower Remedies, and Sound Therapy for Autism, ADHD, and Learning Problems

Karyne Jeanne Richardson offers a ridiculous program of electrodiagnosis, flower remedies, and fractal sound to treat autism and other disorders. There are science-based autism programs that work; it is unfortunate when parents subject their autistic children to onerous, expensive, time-consuming, useless treatments based on pseudoscientific claims and false promises. When children are diagnosed with autism

Answering Vaccine Skeptics

The anti-vaccine movement is full of conspiracy theorists who deny the evidence for the effectiveness of vaccines, call vaccines “poisons,” think doctors and manufacturers (in collusion with the government) only promote vaccines to boost their incomes, and blame vaccines for all manner of adverse events. These vaccine denialists must not be confused with vaccine skeptics,

Neurotribes: A Better Understanding of Autism

What is autism? What causes it? Is it genetic? Is it a consequence of something in our environment or lifestyle? What’s an “idiot savant” or an “autistic savant”? What happens when autistic children become adults? Why are so many of their parents scientists, academics, and engineers? If your grandfather’s Uncle Fred was a socially inept

Mirror Neurons and the Pitfalls of Brain Research

In his new book The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition , Gregory Hickok, a professor of cognitive science, challenges current conceptions about mirror neurons. He shows how a complex mythology arose and why it is unwarranted, how experimental results were misinterpreted and disconfirming evidence ignored, and how other interpretations might lead

The Business of Baby and the Monkey Business of Margulis

A correspondent asked for my opinion of a new book by journalist Jennifer Margulis that is apparently getting a lot of attention in some circles: The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line. I got a copy

GAPS Diet

A correspondent asked me to look into the GAPS diet.  I did. I was sorry: it was a painful experience. What a mishmash of half-truths, pseudoscience, imagination, and untested claims! GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. It is the invention of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. According to her, a wide variety of health problems can be