Some time ago, I learned that a Seattle chiropractor, Johanna Hoeller, had been featured on a local TV newsmagazine show. She was so proud of the segment that she had it posted on her web page for all to see. Unfortunately it is no longer there, so I’ll have to… read more "No-Touch Chiropractic"
For my first blog entry, I wanted to write about something important, and I couldn’t think of anything more important than a recent book by R. Barker Bausell: Snake Oil Science: The Truth About Complementary and Alternative Medicine. If you want to understand how medical research works, if you want… read more "Snake Oil Science"
“Alternative” medicine is by definition medicine that has not been scientifically proven and has not been accepted into mainstream scientific medicine. The question I keep hearing is, “But what about acupuncture? It’s been proven to work, it’s supported by lots of good research, more and more doctors are using it,… read more "But What about Acupuncture?"
Advocates of so-called alternative medicine (i.e. unproven treatments) don’t always use the best critical thinking skills. False assumptions and logical fallacies abound. Three that I encounter constantly are (1) “ancient wisdom,” (2) “it works for me,” and (3) “it’s natural.” Ancient Wisdom The argument usually goes something like this: Our… read more "Popular Fallacies: Ancient Wisdom, It Works for Me, and Natural is Good"
The last time I went to the Puyallup fair, I passed a booth where an elderly man and woman were sitting with their feet in basins of water. How nice – a chance to rest their tired feet after a day of walking the fairgrounds! Unfortunately, they weren’t just resting,… read more "Detoxification Quackery – From Footbaths to Fetishism"
I never thought I’d be promoting ignorance! I’ve always thought the more information, the better; but there are exceptions. I’m going to explain something that is very counterintuitive and grates against every fiber of our truth-seeking skeptical brains. The ad shouts, “Tests That Can Save Your Life… Stroke is America’s… read more "Ultrasound Screening, Fish Oil, and Ear Candles: Sometimes Ignorance is Bliss"
JEROME GROOPMAN’S BOOK How Doctors Think is a superb commentary on the intersection between medical science, compassionate personal interactions, and critical thinking. My only caveat is that it may be exploited by “doctor-bashers” because it shows how doctors make mistakes; but the overall impact of the book is very positive.… read more "How the Medical Mind Works"
Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam, by Pope Brock, is not only a rip-roaring good read, but it brings up serious issues about regulation of medical practice and prosecution of quackery. It tells the story of John R. Brinkley MD, who… read more "Charlatan: Quackery Then and Now"
Book review of: Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All, by Rose Shapiro. London: Harvill Secker, 2008. 296 pages. £12.99. ISBN: 978-1-846-55028-7/ Political correctness has emasculated our language. We walk on linguistic tiptoes for fear of offending someone. British journalist Rose Shapiro refuses to be cowed. With refreshing… read more "CAM Scam"
Review of the book Is Your Thyroid Making You Fat by Sanford Siegal Dr. Siegal is a D.O./M.D. who has been treating only overweight patients for 30 years. Some of his patients had great difficulty losing weight even with a low calorie diet, and he suspected hypothyroidism, yet when he tested… read more "Is Your Thyroid Making You Fat?"