“SuperMannan Cures Bladder Infections!” Really?

The ads claim SuperMannan cures bladder infections. The science is a single uncontrolled study of 9 women; its design is a recipe for disaster. I was surprised to read that SuperMannan cures bladder infections. I’m a skeptic; I question and proportion my belief to the evidence. I wanted to know more. Who says that? How

There’s No Vaccine for HIV/AIDS, But There’s Truvada

Science has made great strides in understanding, treating, and preventing HIV/AIDS. We can hope for an AIDS vaccine, but meanwhile there is a pill that can markedly reduce the risk of becoming infected. Truvada: a good alternative while we wait for an AIDS vaccine. Image taken from the NIAID flickr page with a Creative Commons license. The story of

Ebola: Science Is Making Progress

Good news! Research on Ebola has identified a 100% effective vaccine and medications that produce a 90% survival rate. The Ebola virus There have been 24 outbreaks of Ebola virus disease (also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever) in Africa since 1976. It spreads through contact with infected body fluids. Case fatality rates have ranged from

How Not To Do Science

According to research methodologist R. Barker Bausell, “CAM [complementary and alternative medicine] therapists simply do not value (and most, in my experience, do not understand) the scientific process.” They have seen their patients improve, and that’s all the “evidence” they think they need. They don’t understand that they may have been deceived by the post hoc ergo

Vitamin D and Diabetes: Another Case Where Supplementation Sounded Like a Good Idea But Wasn’t

A new study shows vitamin D supplements don’t prevent diabetes. But there are still unanswered questions. This cartoon shows vitamin D killing cancer. It doesn’t. It doesn’t prevent diabetes either. Low vitamin D levels appear to be a risk factor for diabetes. Observational studies have found a correlation between a low blood level of Vitamin

Vyleesi: New Drug for Hypoactive Sexual Desire in Women

New drug to treat hypoactive sexual desire in women, Vyleesi, is not very effective and has several drawbacks. It is NOT Viagra for women. The FDA has approved a new drug, Vyleesi (bremelanotide) that has been hyped as “female Viagra”. It is no such thing. Viagra is used to treat erectile dysfunction in men who

New Drug Is Effective for Post-Partum Depression, But There Are Drawbacks

A new drug promises to cure postpartum depression, but it is restricted and patients must be hospitalized for a 60-hour IV infusion. There’s a new cure for postpartum depression; but don’t celebrate just yet. It’s far from a panacea, and it’s not for everyone. The devil is in the details. Post-partum depression (PPD) affects about

The Best Science from The New England Journal of Medicine

The editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine has selected a dozen articles published during his tenure that epitomize the best of science-based medicine. This is the Science-Based Medicine blog, but all too often we talk about things that are not science-based medicine. Examining what is not science-based medicine is a good way to better understand what science-based

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Rituximab

IV rituximab has been used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. A large, well-designed new study shows it doesn’t work. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME or ME/CFS), is a poorly-understood condition characterized by profound fatigue and a constellation of other symptoms. The diagnostic criteria, cause, pathophysiology, and treatment have been embroiled

Medical Apartheid

Harriet Washington’s book tells the dark history of medical experimentation on black Americans. It also reveals broader problems of inequality, poor science, and human failures. In a recent post, Clay Jones reminded us that “the unconscious need to avoid cognitive dissonance serves as a powerful motivation to rationalize even the most horrific beliefs and behaviors.”