Dr. Daniel Amen’s Response to  Criticism on Quackwatch

Daniel G. Amen, M.D., runs the Amen Clinics, writes books, gives lectures, maintains a Web site, and makes other media appearances. He recommends single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to help diagnose and manage cases of brain trauma, underachievement, school failure, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders, anxiety, aggressiveness, cognitive decline, and brain toxicity from drugs or alcohol.

Clearing the Air: What Does Science Really Say About Secondhand Smoke?

Secondhand smoke is a bit like abortion and global warming: it invokes such strong emotions that it is difficult to view the evidence objectively. In his analysis of the subject (see preceding article) Sidney Zion is right about one thing: anti-smoking activists have overstated the evidence against secondhand smoke. He, on the other hand, understates

Double Blind or Double Talk? Reading Medical Research with a Skeptical Eye

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a new drug was tested carefully by its manufacturer, demonstrated to be safe, and approved by the FDA. After it went on the market, people started reporting a lot of side effects. An independent researcher thought the drug manufacturer’s studies might have been biased (after all, they

Bioidentical Hormones: Estrogen is Good. No, It’s Bad. No, It’s Good

MENOPAUSAL WOMEN USED TO HAVE NO ESCAPE from the sufferings of the dreaded “Change.” In the mid-20th century, they were offered a reprieve. They could take a pill to replace their missing hormones, and feel back to normal. That was good in itself, but then they found that replacing estrogens could prevent osteoporosis and hip

Don’t Let Them Hoodia-Wink You

I first heard of Hoodia last summer, when a radio ad told me it was the new miracle weight loss pill. Since then, I’ve been seeing ads for Hoodia everywhere. Anna Nicole Smith took it. It was featured on Oprah.  Lesley Stahl went to Africa to taste the plant on 60 Minutes. There are nearly

Critical Chiropractor, Inept Publisher

Book review of: The P.R.E.S.T.O.N. Protocol for Back Pain: The Seven Evidence-Based Practices for Living Pain Free, by Preston H. Long. PublishAmerica: Baltimore, 2006. 84 pp. ISBN 1- 4241-0684-2. Paperback, $14.95.   I really, really wanted to recommend The P.R.E.S.T.O.N. Protocol for Back Pain, but I cannot. It is full of excellent information that I

Teaching Pigs to Sing: An Experiment in Bringing Critical Thinking to the Masses

A skeptic encounters psychics, astrologers, and other strange creatures and discovers firsthand how they react to science and reason. Included: a fable about testing the Tooth Fairy. A couple of years ago, I saw an announcement for an astrology presentation to a local discussion group called Mingling of the Minds. My first reaction was, “Surely,

Andrew Weil: Harvard Hatched a Gullible Guru

Book review of Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-care for Optimum Health. By Andrew Weil. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2004. ISBN 0-618-47903-1. 432 pp. Softcover, $14. Andrew Weil’s Natural Health, Natural Medicine is a dangerous book. The preface states: “All the information is consistent with the best scientific evidence currently available.”

Three Perspectives on Longevity: Fantasy, Reality and Confusion

A book review of three books on longevity: Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever by Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, M.D. Rodale, 2004. 400 pp. $24.95 ISBN: 1579549543. Anti-Aging Medicine: The Hype and the Reality, edited by S. Jay Olshansky, Leonard Hayflick, and Thomas T. Perls. The Gerontological Society of America, 2004. 195