A Report from the Bariatric Trenches

The American Society of Bariatric Physicians recently invited me to speak at their continuing medical education (CME) conference on obesity in Seattle. They got my name from Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch and asked if I could speak about questionable weight loss treatments like HGH, MIC (methionine, inositol and choline), and the HCG Diet. I seized

Nine Breakthroughs and a Breakdown

In his new book Breakthrough! How the 10 Greatest Discoveries in Medicine Saved Millions and Changed Our View of the World Jon Queijo describes what he believes are the 10 greatest discoveries. 9 of them are uncontroversial discoveries that have been on other top-10 lists, but his 10th choice is one that no other list

Diagnosis, Therapy and Evidence

When Dr. Novella recently wrote about plausibility in science-based medicine, one of our most assiduous commenters, Daedalus2u, added a very important point. The data are always right, but the explanations may be wrong. The idea of treating ulcers with antibiotics was not incompatible with any of the data about ulcers; it was only incompatible with

The Water Cure: Another Example of Self Deception and the “Lone Genius”

A correspondent wrote: I hear all day long on my local radio station commercials for The Water Cure, which was created by a Dr. Batmangelli (I have no idea how to spell his name) promising wonderful cures by eliminating caffeine and alcohol and drinking water and sprinkling sea salt on your food. If you REALLY

The One True Cause of All Disease

Alternative practitioners constantly claim that conventional medicine treats only symptoms while they treat underlying causes. They’ve got it backwards. Chiropractors, homeopaths, naturopaths, acupuncturists, and other alternative medicine practitioners constantly criticize conventional medicine for “only treating the symptoms,” while alternative medicine allegedly treats “the underlying causes” of disease. Nope. Not true. Exactly backwards. Think about it:

A New Think Tank for Science in Medicine Speaks Out against Woo in Health Care Legislation

The Institute for Science in Medicine is a newly formed international policy institute that seeks to promote science as the best and only way to ensure not only safe, quality health care but cost effectiveness, as well. Its list of 42 founding members and 15 fellows reads like a Who’s Who of prominent physicians, researchers,

Recombinant Human Antithrombin – Milking Nanny Goats for Big Bucks

Antithrombin deficiency is a hereditary disease causing low levels or defects of antithrombin, a blood protein required for controlling clot formation. Patients are at risk of blood clots, organ damage, and death. They usually have to take oral anticoagulant drugs like warfarin for life. During high-risk procedures like surgery or childbirth, oral anticoagulants must be

Environmental Medicine – Not Your Average Specialty

I recently received an announcement for a conference on “Inflammation and Autoimmunity.”The topic sounded interesting, but as I read further I saw some red flags: A gathering of healthcare leaders with a shared vision. This event focuses on the the [sic] true causes and effects of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including new treatments available for

AAFP Endorses CAM

I recently chastised the American Family Physician (the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians) for assigning a high SORT (strength of evidence) rating to acupuncture treatments that did not merit that rating. While the AAFP claims to strongly support evidence-based medicine, I have observed a gradual infiltration of CAM into their journal, their

Applying Rigorous Science to Messy Medicine

The PowerPoint presentation that I gave at the Skeptic’s Toolbox workshop at the University of Oregon on August 7, 2009 is up on their website with the complete text of what I said. The theme of the workshop was scientific method. The title of my talk is “Tooth Fairy Science and Other Pitfalls: Applying Rigorous

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