The father of nonverbal autistic child believes videos constitute proof that other children with autism can communicate by by pointing to letters on a board held by a facilitator to spell out words. He is wrong. I get a lot of email inquiries about questionable treatments, and when I explain… read more "Videos Said to be “Proof” that Nonverbal Autistics Can Communicate by Spelling"
Death by Aromatherapy
An aromatherapy room spray was contaminated with bacteria that caused melioidosis, resulting in deaths and serious sequelae. Buyers were misled. When cases of melioidosis were diagnosed in four patients in four different states, doctors were puzzled. Melioidosis, infection with the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is typically associated with exposure to soil and water in… read more "Death by Aromatherapy"
The Prince of Alternative Medicine
It’s common knowledge that Prince Charles is a persistent and outspoken champion of alternative medicine, but the full story has never been told until now. Edzard Ernst reveals all the shocking details in this unauthorized biography. The shocks come from Charles’ own words, which Ernst quotes extensively. It is beyond… read more "The Prince of Alternative Medicine"
Misconceptions about Vitamins
In 1747, one of the first controlled clinical trials in the history of medical science involved vitamin C, but the researcher had no idea what a vitamin was: vitamin C wasn’t discovered until 1912. Scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, was rampant in the British Royal Navy, disabling… read more "Misconceptions about Vitamins"
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… read more "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity"
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… read more "The World’s First Productivity Drink"
¿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… read more "¿Estas gotas para leer pueden reemplazar a los anteojos?"
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?… read more "Can These Eyedrops Replace Reading Glasses?"
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… read more "A Transgender Controversy"
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… read more "Socks to Treat High Blood Pressure?"