Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

I have long been skeptical of the diagnosis of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Here’s what I wrote about it four years ago in an article in Skeptic magazine: An episode of ABC’s Nightline news show about Dr. Rea’s controversial diagnoses and treatments aired in 2009. I was appalled by the interviews with a patient diagnosed by Dr. Rea as sensitive to almost everything

The World’s First Productivity Drink

Magic Mind claims to be the world’s first productivity drink. It seems to me an increase in productivity should be easy to prove. If your widget factory produces 1,000 widgets a day you could do a controlled study comparing workers who used Magic Mind to workers who used a placebo. If the output increased to 1,500

¿Estas gotas para leer pueden reemplazar a los anteojos?

[This article is also available in English. Thanks to Pensar for this Spanish translation.] Vuity es un nuevo colirio que se vende bajo receta. Un artículo de Scientific American dice: “Estas gotas podrían reemplazar sus anteojos para leer”. ¿Podrían realmente? ¿Como puede ser? ¿Realmente funcionan? Más o menos, más o menos… para algunas personas… durante unas horas…

Can These Eyedrops Replace Reading Glasses?

[Este artículo está disponible en español. La traducción al español apareció por primera vez en la revista Pensar.] You’ve probably seen the ads. Vuity is a new prescription eyedrop. An article in Scientific American says, “These drops could replace your reading glasses.” Could they really? How can that be? Do they really work? Kind of, sort of …

A Transgender Controversy

The world of gender and sex has become more complicated. In earlier times, the person delivering the baby could announce “It’s a boy” or “It’s a girl,” and that was that. Everyone could easily tell a boy from a girl. No longer. Today, more and more people are self-identifying as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,

Socks to Treat High Blood Pressure?

Socks that lower blood pressure? The claims for Boliav socks are too incoherent to make sense of. I can’t take them seriously. Speaking of her childhood home in Oakland, Gertrude Stein famously said “There’s no there there” because the house no longer existed. The phrase has come to mean that nothing significant exists in that

Deciding Which Risks to Take

No medical treatment is risk-free. Paul Offit’s new book covers the history of innovations that went awry and advises how to balance the risks of new medical innovations with the risk of not treating. It is always risky to use a new treatment before all the evidence is in, but it’s also risky to let

This Scary Mask Is Not for Halloween: It’s for Anti-Aging Skin Care

CurrentBody’s LED mask provides “anti-aging” red and near-infra-red light therapy to the face. It is supposed to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, “clinically proven to reduce wrinkles by 35% in just 4 weeks”. It promises to improve skin tone and texture and firm the skin. It has won many beauty awards and is

Innovo for Bladder Leakage

An expensive pair of shorts promises to cure bladder leaks by using electrical stimulation to produce pelvic floor contractions, essentially doing the Kegel exercises for you. The science is insufficient and the marketing is misleading. My mailbox is a good source of questionable claims. The other day I received a spiffy ad for Innovo. Innovo

The World’s Most Deadly Animal

Animals can be hazardous to human health. When asked to name the most dangerous animal, many people will give the wrong answer. Sharks have captured the attention of the public, and other animals that kill people may come to mind, like black widow spiders, rabid dogs, and venomous snakes. And don’t forget the human animal:

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