100% Cure Rate Is Hard to Believe

An experimental cancer drug made 100% of rectal cancers disappear in a small trial, allowing subjects to avoid the standard treatment of chemotherapy and surgery . “Some scientists say these kinds of results have never been seen in the history of cancer research.” 100% is hard to believe; the 95% confidence interval was 74 to 100. Whatever the true

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

Two New Promising COVID-19 Drugs – Analysis and Questions

[Este artículo está disponible en español. La traducción al español apareció por primera vez en la revista Pensar.] The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over yet. Despite the success of vaccines, people continue to get the disease. Most cases are in the unvaccinated, but even those who have been fully vaccinated can have “breakthrough” infections. Relief appears to

Dos nuevos fármacos prometedores contra el COVID-19: análisis y preguntas

[This article is also available in English. Thanks to Pensar for the Spanish translation.] La pandemia del COVID-19 aún no ha terminado. A pesar del éxito de las vacunas, las personas continúan contrayendo la enfermedad. La mayoría de los casos corresponden a personas no vacunadas, pero incluso aquellas que han sido vacunadas por completo pueden

Virtual Reality Therapy

On November 16, 2021 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had authorized marketing of EaseVRx, which they described as “a prescription-use immersive virtual reality (VR) system that uses cognitive behavioral therapy and other behavioral methods to help with pain reduction in patients 18 years of age and older with diagnosed chronic lower

Laser Therapy for Vaginal Rejuvenation

Some doctors are offering laser therapy for “vaginal rejuvenation”. It is no more effective than placebo, can cause harm, and is very expensive. After menopause, the absence of estrogen may cause a number of symptoms. About half of women develop vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA). The lack of estrogen causes thinning and fragility of the vulvar and

Preventing Malaria: A Glimmer of Hope?

A recent clinical trial tested a new approach to malaria prevention involving monoclonal antibodies.  Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted through mosquito bites. There are 200-400 million new cases each year, with 400,000 annual deaths, plus great morbidity and economic burdens. It has been especially devastating for children in sub-Saharan Africa. Mosquito-control measures, insect repellents,

Do Surgeons Who Wear N95 Masks Have Lower Oxygen Levels and Make More Mistakes?

An individual who was both an anti-vaxxer and anti-masker claimed that “studies were done that show that surgeons who wore N95 masks for extended periods of time were shown to have decreased oxygen levels and were more prone to mistakes.”  His argument was – “imagine what that would do to kids who were forced to wear masks all

Observational Studies and Experimental Studies

[Este artículo está disponible en español. La traducción al español apareció por primera vez en la revista Pensar.] Research studies can be divided into two types: observational studies and experimental studies. Observational studies simply observe the effect of a variable in a population. They can assess the strength of a relationship, for instance between dietary

Estudios observacionales y estudios experimentales

[This article is also available in English. Thanks to Pensar for the Spanish translation.] Los estudios de investigación médica se pueden dividir en dos tipos: observacionales y experimentales. Los estudios observacionales simplemente observan el efecto de una variable en una población. Pueden evaluar la fuerza de una relación, por ejemplo, entre factores dietéticos y enfermedades.

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