Wim Hof, the Iceman

Wim Hof, the Iceman, is extraordinarily resistant to extreme cold. His Wim Hof Method (WHM) combines breathing exercises, cold exposure, and meditation. Hyperventilation has been shown to reduce the body’s response to inflammation, but Hof’s extravagant claims of health benefits are not supported by scientific evidence. Wim Hof, also known as “The Iceman”, is a

Appendicitis: Surgical vs. Medical Treatment

Surgery or antibiotics for appendicitis? This new study can help with the decision. The standard treatment for appendicitis has long been appendectomy, the removal of the appendix. The successful use of antibiotics instead of surgery was first reported in 1956 by Dr. Coldrey in the British Medical Journal, and since then there have been several randomized trials of

Don’t Ice Sprains

Ankle sprains are common; as a family physician I treated a lot of them. My most memorable ankle sprain patient was a young woman I saw during my residency training. Doctors had diagnosed a sprain. They gave her crutches and told her not to try to bear weight on the injured ankle until the pain

When Doctors Refuse to Believe Evidence

Paul Offit’s new book covers the evidence for many surgeries, medications, and screening tests that have been proven ineffective and harmful yet are still being used by doctors who refuse to follow the science. Science-based medicine is all about testing medical ideas against reality. If there is abundant evidence from well-designed controlled clinical trials that

Ian Harris on “Surgery, the Ultimate Placebo”

Ian Harris explains that more than half of commonly performed surgical operations may be placebos. Adequate studies using a blinded control group are essential. Ian Harris, a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, wrote a book titled Surgery, The Ultimate Placebo. I haven’t read the book, but I

The Evidence for Hydrogen Water

Alex Tarnava sells Drink HRW Rejuvenation tablets. The evidence for the health benefits of drinking hydrogen water is not convincing. This is Alex Tarnava. He sells hydrogen water in the form of Drink HRW Rejuvenation tablets. The scientific evidence is not convincing.I am always ready to follow the evidence wherever it leads, but it has

New Drugs for Sickle Cell Disease: Small Benefit, Large Price

The FDA has approved two new drugs to treat sickle cell disease. They don’t do much, and they are prohibitively expensive.  Sickle cell disease is a serious condition, an abnormality of hemoglobin that is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, where both parents have to pass on the defective gene. The red blood cells take

Milk and Health: The Evidence

A useful review of all the current evidence about milk and health provides a lot of surprises. It shows that current recommendations are flawed and that much of what we have believed is wrong. Milk has been praised and vilified. Vegans eschew it. Babies thrive on it. Adults who are lactose-intolerant learn to avoid it.

Pitfalls in Research: Why Studies Are More Often Wrong than Right

Here is a course guide to episode 9, “Pitfalls of Research”, of my YouTube lecture series on science-based medicine. Alternative medicine relies heavily on anecdotal evidence and personal experience, but it knows it won’t convince mainstream science unless it can provide scientific validation. It is quick to crow about positive results from scientific studies, often

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

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