Announcing: Video Lecture Course on Science-Based Medicine

A couple of years ago, the James Randi Educational Foundation commissioned me to develop a series of 10 video lectures on Science-Based Medicine. After a lot of work and many vicissitudes, it is now available. The lecture titles are: Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine What Is CAM? Chiropractic Acupuncture Homeopathy Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine Energy Medicine Miscellaneous

Another Acupuncture Study – On Heartburn

Patients with heartburn are often diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and treated with a drug called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to reduce stomach acid production. It is pretty effective, but it doesn’t always work. When it doesn’t, standard practice has been to double the dose of PPI. Doubling the dose only improves symptoms

Would You Drill Holes in Your Head for Science?

How do we know whether a treatment is effective? It is only natural to assume a treatment works if: There is a good rationale as to why it should work Lots of patients got better with the treatment But assumptions can be wrong. Remember the old saying that assumptions make an ASS out of U

TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine): New Developments

Evidence for the efficacy of Traditional Chinese Medicine is scanty, unconvincing, and often fraudulent. China is seeing a resurgence of TCM, even teaching it to children. But in Australia, restrictions are being placed on misleading advertising. What is traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)? And if it works, why aren’t we all using it? Here’s one explanation: With

Acupuncturist Complains About Wikipedia

An acupuncturist complains about Wikipedia, saying it is under the control of self-styled skeptics who bias the content and bully anyone who disagrees. She only demonstrates her own bias; Wikipedia had good reason to ban her from editing. Acupuncturist Mel Hopper Koppelman published an article titled “WikiTweaks: The Encyclopedia that Anyone (Who is a Skeptic)

The Primo Vascular System: The N-rays of Acupuncture?

Is this a PVS structure or something else? Acupuncture meridians and acupoints are imaginary until proven otherwise. Anatomists have never been able to detect them by microscopy or autopsy, and they are not mentioned in anatomy textbooks. For decades, acupuncturists have been trying to prove that their pre-scientific belief system is grounded in scientific reality.

Stick It In Your Ear! How Not To Do Science

Have a sore throat? No worries! No need for lozenges, medicines, or home remedies. All you need to do is let someone stick needles in your ear! According to a recent study, ear acupuncture relieves sore throats. Do you believe that? I don’t. That’s one of those extraordinary claims that would require extraordinary evidence, but

Dr. David Villarreal’s “Holistic Dentistry:” Full of Holes?

Screenshot of the “BioDental Healing” website showing the “Meridian Tooth Chart”. I get a lot of e-mails from publicists offering suggestions for articles and interviews with their clients. I quickly delete most of them, but one recently caught my eye. It said that patients travel from as far as Europe and Africa to have California

Smokey the Bear Medicine and Prevention

When I was an intern, we used to joke that we were practicing “Smokey the Bear” medicine: stamping out forest fires. Patients would wait until a spark of disease had developed into a dangerous flame, and then they’d expect us to deal with it. We were mostly doing disaster control, and we wished we could

Evidence: “It Worked for My Aunt Tillie” Is Not Enough

Evidence means different things to different people. Even quacks and their victims claim to have evidence that their treatments work. Sometimes that evidence consists only of testimonials from satisfied customers or from personal experience. “I tried X and I got better.” “I know Y works because it cured my Aunt Tillie’s arthritis.” I had a