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

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

Critical Thinking in Medicine

Rodin’s Thinker is doing his best to think but if he hasn’t learned critical thinking skills, he is likely to make mistakes. The human brain is prone to a multitude of cognitive errors. Critical thinking in medicine is what the Science-Based Medicine (SBM) blog is all about. Jonathan Howard has written a superb book, Cognitive Errors

Should Evidence-Based Medicine Be Replaced By Interpersonal Medicine?

An opinion piece in the New England Journal of Medicine complains about the limitations of evidence-based medicine (EBM) and recommends a new approach they call “interpersonal medicine.” In my opinion, good clinical medicine is already interpersonal medicine; there is no need for something new. The 22 November 2018 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine carried an opinion

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