Book about Quackery Is a Hoot!

Lydia Kang, MD, and Nate Pedersen have written a delightful new book, Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything. Histories can sometimes be a bit dry and boring; this is anything but. It’s a page-turner. The authors ferreted out some of the most disgusting and ridiculous things people have subjected themselves

The Ethics of CAM: More Harm than Good?

Edzard Ernst is arguably the world’s foremost expert on the claims and the evidence (or lack thereof) for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Now he has teamed up with a medical ethicist, Kevin Smith, to co-author a new book, More Harm than Good? The Moral Maze of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Much has been written

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

Freud Was a Fraud: A Triumph of Pseudoscience

Psychiatry is arguably the least science-based of all the medical specialties, and Freudian psychoanalysis is arguably the least science-based psychotherapy. Freud’s theories have been widely criticized as unscientific, and treatment of mental disorders has increasingly turned to psychotropic medications and effective therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Freud’s impact on 20th century thought is undeniable, but

The Death of Expertise

In Tom Nichols’ new book, The Death of Expertise, he explains how a misguided intellectual egalitarianism is harming our ability to assess the truth and solve problems, and discusses some of the responsible factors and possible long-term consequences. Tom Nichols’ new book The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters has direct relevance

The Riddle of Consciousness

For most of human history, people have assumed that some kind of vitalistic essence had to be added to matter to produce life. The belief in an immaterial soul was pervasive. At one point, scientists even tried to weigh the soul by weighing a body right before and after death, expecting to find a decrease

Testosterone Rex

When a man does something silly, my daughters and I like to joke, “Testosterone poisoning strikes again!” Everybody knows women and men are different, not just anatomically but psychologically and behaviorally. That common knowledge is epitomized in the book title Men Are from Mars; Women Are from Venus. Sometimes common knowledge turns out to be

The Hormone Myth

“Mary is really bitchy today; she must be on the rag.” Comments like this are all too common, and are misguided. In her new book, Robyn Stein DeLuca dispels the myths about how hormones affect women’s moods and mental health, myths that have contributed to unequal treatment of women. Junk science supported the myths; good

Doc Doc Zeus: A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of Medical Boards

A novel about a doctor who raped a minor and is being investigated by his state medical board provides behind-the-scene insights into the workings of medical boards. It helps explain why these boards are so often ineffective, why medical malfeasance so often leads to a token disciplinary action rather than to loss of license. In