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 the grid in Alaska, often

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 to Medicare.gov: Medicare Part B (Medical

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! 🙂 The claims: “For today’s

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 Digest, but when I read

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 some telling others how Nugenix

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 ironic that Charles’ supporters were

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

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 out: Charles, The Alternative Prince: An

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 don’t need or want scientific

Green Lipped Mussels for Arthritis

[Este artículo está disponible en español. La traducción al español apareció por primera vez en la revista Pensar.] What are green-lipped mussels? My imagination conjures up a SpongeBob SquarePants episode featuring a clam-like creature with green lips, and I can’t help wondering what would happen if they applied red lipstick? Imagination can be fun; but

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