Prenatal Screening Tests for Chromosome Abnormalities

Science has made remarkable advances in prenatal screening, but false positives and false negative results can occur, and there are ethical concerns.Having a baby used to be like opening a surprise package. You didn’t know anything about the baby until it was born. The obstetrician or midwife would announce “It’s a boy” or “It’s a

Ellura: A Supplement Backed By Evidence

Ellura is a dietary supplement marketed to treat recurrent urinary tract infections. There is promising evidence and a credible mechanism of action, and using it instead of antibiotic prophylaxis could reduce antibiotic resistance. These E. coli fimbriae facilitate infection by adhering to bladder wall In October, I wrote about SuperMannan, a dietary supplement that is supposed to cure

Aging: Is It a Preventable Disease?

David Sinclair says aging is a disease that can be prevented and treated, and there is no reason life must end. The evidence he presents from scientific studies is intriguing, but far from definitive. Wouldn’t it be nice if the right side of this image became obsolete? Can aging and death be avoided? We are

Skin pH: Salesmanship, Not Science

People are being encouraged to worry about the pH of their skin and to try to change it. These concerns and interventions are not supported by scientific evidence. You have probably heard of the alkaline diet. Public knowledge of pH, the scale by which acids and bases are measured, is plagued by misinformation. People who

Leaky Brain, Leaky Gut: Are They Real?

First there was leaky gut; now there’s leaky brain. These questionable concepts are being promoted by practitioners of so-called “functional medicine.” First there was leaky gut  Three years ago Mark Crislip wrote about leaky gut syndrome for SBM. He said, “because of an almost complete lack of supporting basic science and few therapeutic clinical trials showing no effect,

Molecular Phylogenetics: A New Way to Tell the Story of Evolution

The new science of molecular phylogenetics tells the story of evolution with no need to consult the fossil record. It has produced some surprises, including a whole new domain of life, the archaea. Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species was a well-written, well-argued introduction to evolution, to the theory that populations evolve and species differentiate

Beware Stem Cell Clinics that Offer Untested Treatments

Stem cell treatments are all the rage. Since they’re mostly illegal in the US, patients have been going to other countries for treatment (stem cell tourism). The claims are grandiose, but the evidence to support those claims is thin gruel. What are stem cells? Embryonic stem cells are the cells in the early embryo that

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

Rigor Mortis: What’s Wrong with Medical Science and How to Fix It

  I just finished reading Richard Harris’ excellent book, Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions. From the title, I was expecting an angry, biased polemic attacking science and scientists. I was very pleasantly surprised. He doesn’t condemn science. He points out problems with the way science is carried

Stem Cells for Macular Degeneration: Meticulous Science vs. Unethical Carelessness

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of vision loss in people over 50. Thirty percent of us will develop it by age 75-85. There is no cure. For the 10% of patients with wet AMD there are several mainstream treatments that can slow progression of the disease, including drugs injected into the eye,

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