Joe Schwarcz’s new book Quack Quack is an informative and entertaining look at quackery and pseudoscience past and present. A delightful read. Dr. Joe Schwarcz, the Director of McGill University’s Office of Science and Society, has written many books (seventeen by my count) mostly explaining the chemistry of everyday life.… read more "Quack Quack"
Balm of Gilead
Balm of Gilead was mentioned in the Bible, but we don’t know what was in it. It is supposed to relieve pain, but we don’t know if it is effective; there are no controlled studies. I have been watching the National Geographic series Life Below Zero which profiles people who live off… read more "Balm of Gilead"
Medicare and Alternative Medicine
Medicare is paying for nonsense. I recently wrote about the free preventive medicine appointments offered by Medicare. Those are worthwhile and are based on good science, but I was surprised to see that Medicare sometimes departs from rigorously science-based standards. They also cover alternative medicine treatments based on fantasy. Chiropractic According… read more "Medicare and Alternative Medicine"
Supplements: Misguided Marketing
If marketers want to persuade me to take a dietary supplement, they are going about it the wrong way. A typical recent email said I could fight aging, boost immunity, and feel energized with doctor-endorsed NMN supplement Elevant. They even offered to send me free samples. Probably worth the price!… read more "Supplements: Misguided Marketing"
Pain Reprocessing Therapy
In a trial of Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT), 2/3 of patients with chronic low back pain reported significant pain relief with psychotherapy that helped them reconceptualize the pain as nondangerous. Impressive if true, but flaws in research design make the study untrustworthy. I don’t usually get my medical information from Reader’s… read more "Pain Reprocessing Therapy"
Nugenix Total T
Nugenix Total T is one of many so-called testosterone boosters on the market. Vague claims, insufficient evidence. The commercials insult my intelligence. They show men on a golf course commiserating with each other about how their performance had gone downhill since the good old days of their youthful manhood, and… read more "Nugenix Total T"
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"
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?"
Prince Charles and Alternative Medicine
Prince Charles is a strong advocate for alternative medicine and is proud to be “the enemy of the Enlightenment.” For the first time, Edzard Ernst tells the full story of Charles’ ignorance and folly. Prince Charles, proud to be the Enemy of the Enlightenment. Edzard Ernst has a new book… read more "Prince Charles and Alternative Medicine"
Stupid Videos and Marketing Ploys
Purveyors of so-called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) don’t have any credible scientific evidence. If they did, their treatments would not be called “alternative” but would have been accepted into mainstream practice and would just be called “medicine.” They tend not to appreciate science or even to understand it. They… read more "Stupid Videos and Marketing Ploys"