A Test For Earlier Diagnosis Of Autism? Not Convincing

Autism is diagnosed on clinical grounds by observing the child’s behavior. There is no blood test or any other objective test to diagnose it. But that hasn’t stopped people from claiming to have found one. Among other candidates, a saliva test has been proposed, and now an eye scan. In summer 2019, a press release from Flinders University reported

Pitfalls in Research: Why Studies Are More Often Wrong than Right

Here is a course guide to episode 9, “Pitfalls of Research”, of my YouTube lecture series on science-based medicine. Alternative medicine relies heavily on anecdotal evidence and personal experience, but it knows it won’t convince mainstream science unless it can provide scientific validation. It is quick to crow about positive results from scientific studies, often

Homeopathy

Introduction Homeopathy is a system of health care that was originated in 1796 by a single individual, Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor who was critical of the medicine of his time. It is a discipline practiced by homeopaths, but homeopathic remedies are also sold over the counter in pharmacies for customers to self-treat. Homeopathy is

In Praise of Uncertainty

There is an old joke about a patient who had high praise for her new doctor. She had had headaches for years, and no one had ever been able to explain why. The cause remained uncertain. But the uncertainty ended when her wonderful new doctor promptly diagnosed her with cephalalgia. The joke is that cephalalgia

Alternative Medicine Exploits Coronavirus Fears

Alternative medicine has been quick to capitalize on the public’s fear of coronavirus. They offer an array of bogus treatments. The news is full of alarming reports about the new coronavirus that originated in China and is spreading throughout the world. There is no treatment other than supportive measures, and there is no vaccine to

European Manifesto Against Pseudo-Therapies

A new organization in Spain is trying to protect patients from becoming victims of pseudoscience. They have prepared a manifesto.  Spain is standing up for science A manifesto has been organized by the Spanish organization APETP, which translates as the Association to Protect the Sick from Pseudoscientific Therapies. The organization has three main goals: to make

Bigfoot Reconsidered

I recently came across an advertisement for a “One-Of-A-Kind Adventure,” a Bigfoot Adventures Tour Company endeavor that offers single-day, multi-day, and even Bigfoot-by-bike experiences. Their website promises to take you to sites where Bigfoot has been spotted numerous times and tracks have been found. They utilize “proven methods to call one in” and carry high-tech night-vision and

BioCharger’s Claims Are Too Silly to Take Seriously

The BioCharger is a subtle energy device based on fantasy, not science. At $15,000, pretty expensive for a placebo. Facebook keeps sending me a puzzling picture. It shows clothed adults sitting around (but not touching) a futuristic-looking apparatus: a glass cylinder with tubes and flashing lights visible inside. They apparently believe something is being transmitted

Beware the PIED Piper

It sounds like the script of a science fiction/fantasy movie: the class dunce takes a pill and suddenly becomes smarter than everyone in the class including the teacher; an elderly Alzheimer’s patient takes a pill and his memory is instantly restored – Alzheimer’s dementia cured! Don’t you wish? If only that sort of story could