Skin pH: Salesmanship, Not Science

People are being encouraged to worry about the pH of their skin and to try to change it. These concerns and interventions are not supported by scientific evidence. You have probably heard of the alkaline diet. Public knowledge of pH, the scale by which acids and bases are measured, is plagued by misinformation. People who

The Scientific Attitude, Not the Scientific Method, Is the Key

A philosopher of science argues that science is not characterized by a specific scientific method but by the scientific attitude. Scientists value empirical evidence and follow the evidence wherever it leads. They are open to changing their mind rather than stubbornly clinging to an ideological belief system. Science is under attack. The evidence for global

Science Envy in Alternative Medicine

One definition of alternative medicine is medicine that is not supported by good enough evidence to have earned a place in mainstream medicine. Comedian Tim Minchin asked, “What do you call alternative medicine that works?” His answer: “Medicine.” That’s a simplistic answer good for laughs, but the truth is more complicated. Alternative medicine embraces many

Estaba equivocada (y apuesto a que tú también)

Para mí, uno de los grandes placeres del escepticismo es descubrir que me equivoqué en algo. Más que sentirme culpable por mi error, me siento orgullosa por haber aprendido algo y tener una mejor comprensión de la realidad. Cuando los escépticos encuentran una afirmación cuestionable, hacen algo para chequear los hechos. Pero ¿qué pasa si

New Drug Is Effective for Post-Partum Depression, But There Are Drawbacks

A new drug promises to cure postpartum depression, but it is restricted and patients must be hospitalized for a 60-hour IV infusion. There’s a new cure for postpartum depression; but don’t celebrate just yet. It’s far from a panacea, and it’s not for everyone. The devil is in the details. Post-partum depression (PPD) affects about

Laser Therapy: Hope or Hype and Hokum?

I love to watch TV reality shows about veterinarians. There are quite a few of them now; my favorite is “The Incredible Dr. Pol.” I learn a lot from them. For instance, I have learned that “polio” in goats means a vitamin deficiency disease, not the infectious disease that humans get. And I have learned

Can A One-Minute Cure Really Heal Virtually All Diseases?

The author of this book claims to have found a one-minute cure that will heal virtually all diseases. The claim is ludicrous, and is not supported by any evidence. I guess medicine as we know it might as well quit. We don’t need it any more. Madison Cavanaugh has discovered The Secret to Healing Virtually

Juice Plus+: Good Marketing, Not Good Science

Juice Plus+ is a multilevel marketing company selling fruits and vegetables that they have reduced to a powder and put into capsules. It’s clever marketing using deceptive advertising. There is no scientific evidence that it benefits health. Juice Plus+ reduces fruits and vegetables like these to a powder, puts it in capsules, and sells it

Science’s Triumph Over Infectious Disease Has a Downside

Book review: Plagues and the Paradox of Progress: Why the World Is Getting Healthier in Worrisome Ways, by Thomas J. Bollyky. MIT Press, Cambridge, 2018. ISBN 978-0-262-03844-4. 272 pages. $27.95 This book explains the history of infectious diseases and plagues and shows how science has worked to overcome them; the author, Thomas Bollyky, argues that the progress

Walk-In Clinics For IVs—A Bad Idea

Just walk in. It couldn’t be more convenient. No appointment needed, no order from a doctor—you just walk into a storefront clinic and get the IV nutrient infusion of your choice. It’s a popular fad. There are IV lounges, drip bars, boutique vitamin drip shops, rejuvenation stations, even mobile IV services that come to you.