An HBO Documentary about the Theranos Fraud Raises Concerns

Elizabeth Holmes founded Theranos to develop a device that could do 200 tests on a single drop of blood in a minute. She lied; it failed; she is being tried for fraud and conspiracy. The HBO documentary The Inventor tells the story but has some flaws. We can learn lessons from what happened. Alex Gibney’s film The Inventor:

How to Know What’s Really Real

Review of book: The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake, by Steven Novella et al. There are many classics of skeptical literature. We often hear how someone became a skeptic because they read a book by Carl Sagan, James Randi, Michael Shermer, or some

Health Freedom, Right to Try, and Informed Consent

Starting with the Terrible Twos, when toddlers hear the word “No” on a regular basis, people don’t like to be told they can’t do something. They often believe government regulations interfere with their rights. The government requires vaccinations for school attendance; parents complain that they should be able to make their own decisions about whether

For Discussion: Should I Write Only About Fake Stuff If It Is Well-Known?

A person who describes himself as a “pseudoscience fighter” e-mailed me to chastise me for writing about Prodovite last week. He felt compelled to offer me some advice. He made some good points; but they were things I had already thought about, and they didn’t change my mind. I thought it might be useful to open

Beber Sangre De Murciélagos Es Una Mala (Y Loca) Idea

Harriet Hall, traducido por Alejandro Borgo En la medicina tradicional china (MTC), uso médico generalizado de productos animales tales como bilis de oso, cuernos de rinoceronte, huesos de tigre y escamas de pangolín ha devenido en la práctica de la crueldad animal y ha amenazado a varias especies respecto de su extinción. Se han propuesto

Drinking The Blood Of Bats Is A Bad (And Batty) Idea

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the widespread medical use of animal products such as bear bile, rhino horn, tiger bone, and pangolin scales has resulted in cruelty to animals and has threatened several species with extinction. All kinds of animal parts have been proposed as medicines or as magical charms, as in Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “Fillet of

Tratamiento Facial “Vampiro”

Artículo traducido por Alejandro Borgo, Director del CFI/Argentina. Hay una nueva moda para las celebridades: los tratamientos faciales vampiro. ¿Ha visto usted la foto de Kim Kardashian West luego de su tratamiento-vampiro, mostrando su rostro salpicado con sangre y cubierto con pequeñas heridas? Si no la ha visto, haga clic en el link y mírela ahora. Bastante horrible.

The “Evidence” for Prodovite Is Junk Science

Prodovite is a liquid nutritional supplement marketed as “nutrition you can feel.” The claims are pseudoscientific nonsense and the single unblinded clinical study is junk science that relies on a bogus test: live cell microscopy. I recently got an email asking: What are your thoughts on this supplement? It seems to be a very good

Fake News about Health Products

One of my biggest pet peeves is advertisements for bogus health-related products that are deceptively presented as news stories. These appear regularly in many newspapers, including my own local paper The Tacoma News Tribune, and they typically fill a full half page. They usually include the words “advertisement” or “paid advertisement” in small print that is

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment: A Fiasco with a Silver Lining

The Tuskegee syphilis experiment studied black men with advanced syphilis for 40 years. Patients were lied to and prevented from getting treatment. A black mark in the history of American medicine, it led to important reforms. The Tuskegee experiment was one of the most regrettable incidents in the history of medicine in the U.S. Conducted