Joe Schwarcz’s new book Quack Quack is an informative and entertaining look at quackery and pseudoscience past and present. A delightful read. Dr. Joe Schwarcz, the Director of McGill University’s Office of Science and Society, has written many books (seventeen by my count) mostly explaining the chemistry of everyday life.… read more "Quack Quack"
Motivation to Exercise in Mice
A new study in mice shows a connection between gut microbiome and willingness to exercise. Could this discovery lead to improved motivation to exercise in humans? Possibly, but we don’t yet know if humans share the same pathway. A study from the University of Pennsylvania, published in Nature on December 14, 2022 reported… read more "Motivation to Exercise in Mice"
Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements?
Recent research found that supplemental vitamin D doesn’t prevent fractures or have any effect on the diseases it has been claimed to help, and blood tests for vitamin D are useless. Half of all postmenopausal women will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. Hip fractures are common in the… read more "Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements?"
Treating Nightmares with a Smart Watch
Preliminary evidence suggests a watch may help people with severe nightmares. Of course, more research is needed. Nightmare Disorder is a diagnosis defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as: …repeated awakenings with recollection of terrifying dreams, usually involving threats to survival, safety or physical integrity According… read more "Treating Nightmares with a Smart Watch"
Balm of Gilead
Balm of Gilead was mentioned in the Bible, but we don’t know what was in it. It is supposed to relieve pain, but we don’t know if it is effective; there are no controlled studies. I have been watching the National Geographic series Life Below Zero which profiles people who live off… read more "Balm of Gilead"
GOLO for Weight Loss
There are lots of testimonials from people who say they lost weight with GOLO, but its effectiveness is not supported by any scientific evidence. Advertisements for GOLO seem to be everywhere. They feature people who were unable to lose weight until they tried GOLO. The testimonials are enthusiastic and feature… read more "GOLO for Weight Loss"
In Through the Nose, Out Through the Mouth
The advice to breathe “in through the nose, out through the mouth” appears to be based on superstition rather than science. Nose breathing is preferable. Breathing is automatic. We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide without having to think about it. But many people tell us we should think about… read more "In Through the Nose, Out Through the Mouth"
Medicare and Alternative Medicine
Medicare is paying for nonsense. I recently wrote about the free preventive medicine appointments offered by Medicare. Those are worthwhile and are based on good science, but I was surprised to see that Medicare sometimes departs from rigorously science-based standards. They also cover alternative medicine treatments based on fantasy. Chiropractic According… read more "Medicare and Alternative Medicine"
Geriatric Preventive Medicine Appointments Covered by Medicare
Medicare offers free preventive medicine visits for those over 65: the Welcome to Medicare visit and the Annual Wellness Visit. Increased awareness of these benefits would improve health care, save taxpayer money, and reduce inequities of preventive medicine care for underserved populations. Welcome to Medicare The Welcome to Medicare visit… read more "Geriatric Preventive Medicine Appointments Covered by Medicare"
Tomasz Witkowski Busts More Myths
Tomasz Witkowski has written another book filled with skepticism and critical thinking. Tomasz Witkowski is a Polish psychologist and skeptic (founder of the Polish Skeptics Club) who is well known for pointing out the lack of scientific evidence behind most of what psychologists do. I have reviewed three of his… read more "Tomasz Witkowski Busts More Myths"