Smokey the Bear Medicine and Prevention

When I was an intern, we used to joke that we were practicing “Smokey the Bear” medicine: stamping out forest fires. Patients would wait until a spark of disease had developed into a dangerous flame, and then they’d expect us to deal with it. We were mostly doing disaster control, and we wished we could

Colloidal Silver, Smurfs, and Ebola

Colloidal silver is back! It competed in the ring of science and was thoroughly clobbered. If it had any dignity, it would have stayed down for the count and admitted defeat; but like some bizarre whack-a-mole or zombie it keeps stumbling back to its feet, wanting to fight again. This myth that refuses to die

Evidence: “It Worked for My Aunt Tillie” Is Not Enough

Evidence means different things to different people. Even quacks and their victims claim to have evidence that their treatments work. Sometimes that evidence consists only of testimonials from satisfied customers or from personal experience. “I tried X and I got better.” “I know Y works because it cured my Aunt Tillie’s arthritis.” I had a

Bad News and Good News from Down Under: Science-Based Medicine in Australia

The bad news: in a disturbing attempt to woo customers, some Australian pharmacists are offering in-store consultations with naturopaths. The good news: Australian skeptics and supporters of science have had a lot of recent successes in combatting quackery. Non-Doc in a Box In an article in the Australian magazine The Skeptic, Loretta Marron reports on naturopaths

Misguided Naturopath Claims To Have Cured Cervical Dysplasia

George Papanicolaou, who originated the cervical dysplasia test that bears his name (the Pap smear) Naturopath Kate Whimster has written a case study of a patient with cervical dysplasia who was allegedly treated successfully with naturopathic treatment. She says: In many cases conventional treatment can be invasive, ineffective, or can put patients at risk for future complications.

What Does ND Mean?

Chronic Lyme disease almost certainly does not exist, but a growing number of doctors are diagnosing and treating it with long-term antibiotics and other remedies. They are known as LLMDs (“Lyme Literate” medical doctors). This subject has been covered repeatedly on Science-Based Medicine, here, here, here, here, and elsewhere. I have a correspondent who joined a Yahoo group for

What Is Naturopathy?

When people ask me “What is naturopathy?” I have never been able to give a good concise answer. I can confidently explain what acupuncture, chiropractic and homeopathy are all about, but naturopathy has eluded me. I have finally realized that it’s not my fault. The whole concept is so ill-conceived and poorly defined that it