Electrodermal testing is a bogus procedure where measurements of skin conductance with a biofeedback device are entered into a computer to diagnose nonexistent health problems and “energy imbalances” and to recommend treatments for them, often involving the sale of homeopathic remedies and other useless products. It falls under the general… read more "Bogus Electrodermal Testing Devices and the Failure of Regulators to Act"
For many years I have been using Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs offered by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). The FP Essentials program consists of a monthly monograph with a post-test that can be submitted electronically for 5 hours of CME credit. Over a 9-year cycle, a complete… read more "AAFP CME Program Succumbs to “Integrative Medicine”"
Cupping, moxibustion, and battlefield acupuncture are endangering troops. A cupping procedurePhoto by Keith Brofsky/Digital Vision. The military uses some of the most technologically sophisticated machinery and innovative medical techniques in history. But a disturbing current of pseudoscience in the military is wasting money, perpetuating myths, and putting our troops in… read more "Quackery and Mumbo-Jumbo in the U.S. Military"
The U.S. Army Medical Command recently announced a job opening in the Interdisciplinary Pain Management Center at the San Antonio Military Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Two GS-12 positions were advertised for acupuncturists at a salary of $68,809 to $89,450. As a licensed acupuncturist, a candidate would be expected to… read more "Therapy or Injury? Your Tax Dollars at Work."
Cancer patients are a uniquely vulnerable group. When patients are diagnosed with pneumonia or appendicitis, they expect to recover and they readily accept conventional treatment with antibiotics or surgery. They are not particularly vulnerable to false claims for other treatments. But when patients are diagnosed with cancer, they fear dying;… read more "CAM for Cancer: Preying on Desperate People?"
I know a woman who is a survivor of colorectal cancer. At one point, doctors had given up hope and put her in hospice, but she failed to die as predicted and was eventually discharged. She continues to suffer intractable symptoms of pain with alternating diarrhea and constipation. I don’t… read more "CAM as a Dumping Ground"
An article (and associated news video clip) from ClickOn in Detroit is titled “Alternative treatment helps Michigan doctor beat infertility.” This is a misleading title, and the report is an example of poor science reporting. Was she infertile? The patient in question was a 33-year-old family practice doctor who believed… read more "Acupuncture, Infertility, and Horrible Reporting"
A Navy neurologist, Capt. Elwood Hopkins, has posted a 3-part article on “The Power of Acupuncture” on Navy Medicine Live, the official blog of Navy and Marine Corps Health Care. It can serve as a useful lesson in how not to think about medicine. It is a prime example of… read more "Acupuncture, the Navy, and Faulty Thinking"
Remember the Magic Eight Ball toy? You could ask it a question and shake it and a random answer would float up into a window: yes, no, maybe, definitely, etc. There is even a website where you can ask an Eight Ball questions online. I have been meaning to write… read more "Electrodermal Testing Part I: Fooling Patients with a Computerized Magic Eight Ball"
Acupuncture has been in the news recently. A former President of South Korea had to undergo major surgery to remove an acupuncture needle that had somehow lodged in his lung. A recent study in Pain compiled a list of 95 published reports of serious complications of acupuncture including 5 deaths. Meanwhile,… read more "Acupuncturist’s Unconvincing Attempt at Damage Control"