Osteopenia: When Does Decreased Bone Density Become a Disease Requiring Treatment?

Osteoporosis is routinely treated with bisphosphonates to prevent fractures. A new study suggests that osteopenia should be treated too. But questions remain.  DEXA Scanner Measures Bone Mineral Density Bisphosphonate drugs have been shown to increase bone density and prevent fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis (remember Sally Field in those ads for Boniva?) but what

Vertigo Voodoo: A Crazy-Sounding Cure That Actually Works

A sequence of positional changes sounds like voodoo, but is actually an effective way to cure benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This will not be my typical Science-Based Medicine post. What it is not This will not be: About vaccines, diet, pseudoscience, quackery, or alternative medicine A critique of a questionable treatment, claim, or practice

The Debate Is Over: Antidepressants DO Work Better Than Placebo

  Depression can kill. Antidepressants can help. A meme that continues to appear regularly in the media and in the comments section of this blog is “antidepressants are no better than placebo.” It is a false belief based on a faulty interpretation of the evidence. A new study has just come out that should put

Another Acupuncture Study – On Heartburn

Patients with heartburn are often diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and treated with a drug called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to reduce stomach acid production. It is pretty effective, but it doesn’t always work. When it doesn’t, standard practice has been to double the dose of PPI. Doubling the dose only improves symptoms

A Misguided Study to Test the Reliability of Traditional Chinese Medicine Pulse Diagnosis

Pulse diagnosis and tongue diagnosis are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. They are based on imagination, not on anatomical and physiologic reality. Pulse diagnosis History of pulse diagnosis Pulse diagnosis was an important part of ancient medicine in Egypt, Greece, India, Tibet, and elsewhere. The specific methods used were ambiguous and varied widely from

I Was Wrong about Protandim

A seriously flawed Protandim study seemed to show that side effects were no more common than with placebo. Actually, they were almost twice as common. The researchers were looking at the wrong numbers and didn’t even add correctly. I have written about Protandim several times. In May, 2017, I said that while there was no evidence from human studies that

Update on ASEA, Protandim, and dōTERRA

Multilevel marketing distributors of dietary supplements and essential oils point to studies that they think constitute evidence that their products work. They don’t understand why those studies are inadequate. I have written critiques of several dietary supplements sold through multilevel marketing (MLM) schemes, and they keep coming back to haunt me. I get testimonials from


Introduction Homeopathy is a system of health care that was originated in 1796 by a single individual, Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor who was critical of the medicine of his time. It is a discipline practiced by homeopaths, but homeopathic remedies are also sold over the counter in pharmacies for customers to self-treat. Homeopathy is

“New vaccine replaces statins?” Not so fast!

News reports suggest new drugs may replace statins. PSCK9 inhibitors are useful, but only along with statins in high risk patients not controlled on statins alone, or for patients who can’t tolerate statins. They’re not about to replace statins. PyMOL rendering of the structure of the PCSK9 protein. Are statins obsolete? Are new drugs more effective and

AllerVarx: A Questionable Remedy for Allergic Rhinitis

AllerVarx, a new dietary supplement, claims to relieve nasal allergy symptoms, but the only “evidence” is a single disreputable clinical trial with no control group. There is no reason to try this unproven remedy when there are so many effective remedies offered by mainstream medicine. Allergic rhinitis can be treated effectively, but not with dietary