In Praise of Uncertainty

There is an old joke about a patient who had high praise for her new doctor. She had had headaches for years, and no one had ever been able to explain why. The cause remained uncertain. But the uncertainty ended when her wonderful new doctor promptly diagnosed her with cephalalgia. The joke is that cephalalgia

European Manifesto Against Pseudo-Therapies

A new organization in Spain is trying to protect patients from becoming victims of pseudoscience. They have prepared a manifesto.  Spain is standing up for science A manifesto has been organized by the Spanish organization APETP, which translates as the Association to Protect the Sick from Pseudoscientific Therapies. The organization has three main goals: to make

New Regenerative Medicine Center

Neil Riordan donated big bucks to a school of naturopathy for a Center for Regenerative Medicine named after him. Both Riordan and the treatments offered in his new center are questionable. The Neil Riordan Center for Regenerative Medicine at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences (SCNM) located in Tempe, Arizona. The Southwest College

The Parasympathetic State

The claims for an essential oil mixture, Vibrant Blue Parasympathetic, are devoid of science. They are a mixture of pseudoscience, misrepresentation, lies, and imagination. Starting a new year. For the past 12 years, I have written an article for the Science-Based Medicine blog every Tuesday. I have often thought that the best way to illustrate

Why ‘Trying It For Yourself’ Is A Bad Idea

When I write about a treatment that has been inadequately tested (or that has never been tested or has been tested and shown not to work), someone always asks if I have tried it myself. Apparently, they believe it really works, and if only I would try it for myself, I would believe too. If it worked

Supplements with Multiple Ingredients, Many with No Apparent Rationale

Dietary supplements frequently have multiple ingredients, often mixtures of vitamins, minerals, and herbs. The rationale for including each ingredient is questionable, to say the least.  Whenever I evaluate the evidence for a dietary supplement, one of my first questions is “What is it?” I remember many years ago, when I first started doing this, I

Aging: Is It a Preventable Disease?

David Sinclair says aging is a disease that can be prevented and treated, and there is no reason life must end. The evidence he presents from scientific studies is intriguing, but far from definitive. Wouldn’t it be nice if the right side of this image became obsolete? Can aging and death be avoided? We are

Hydrogen Water Is Not “the New Nutrient;” Health Claims Are Hype, Not Science.

A new fad, drinking hydrogen water, claims to provide all kinds of health benefits. The scientific evidence isn’t there. Hydrogen is an element, not a medicine Hydrogen water? Good grief! There are already two atoms of hydrogen in every molecule of water (H2O). They are not talking about that; they mean molecular hydrogen, the gas

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

Skin pH: Salesmanship, Not Science

People are being encouraged to worry about the pH of their skin and to try to change it. These concerns and interventions are not supported by scientific evidence. You have probably heard of the alkaline diet. Public knowledge of pH, the scale by which acids and bases are measured, is plagued by misinformation. People who