Professor Gives Grades to Alternative Medicine

Edzard Ernst assigns a grade to 150 alternative medicine modalities, evaluating plausibility, efficacy, safety, cost, and risk/benefit balance. A very useful reference. Edzard Ernst has written another book, and it’s a real tour de force: Alternative Medicine: A Critical Assessment of 150 Modalities. He probably knows more about alternative medicine than anyone else alive, and he

Herbalife or Herbadeath?

A case of fatal liver failure in India was attributed to Herbalife products, adding to many other reports from around the world. Analysis showed Herbalife products contain heavy metals and other contaminants. The products have not been scientifically tested, and in the absence of evidence of benefit to human health, they can’t be recommended. Herbalife

Generic Drugs and Global Deception

Generic drugs are supposed to be equivalent to brand-name drugs, but all too often they are defective. Katherine Eban’s book shows that corrupt overseas manufacturers have committed intentional global fraud. The system is broken and the FDA lacks the power to correct abuses. I always thought generic drugs were the best choice. They were tested

Do Acupuncture Points Exist? Can Acupuncturists Find Them?

Acupuncturists do a systematic review and reveal they can’t reliably locate acupoints. No wonder: they don’t exist. Even acupuncturists themselves are beginning to wonder. A critical systematic review of accuracy and precision in acupuncture point location was recently published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies. They point out that “Accuracy of point location is essential for

Ebola: Science Is Making Progress

Good news! Research on Ebola has identified a 100% effective vaccine and medications that produce a 90% survival rate. The Ebola virus There have been 24 outbreaks of Ebola virus disease (also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever) in Africa since 1976. It spreads through contact with infected body fluids. Case fatality rates have ranged from

What Does It Feel Like to Die?

We’re all going to die; we wonder what it will feel like. This book describes what typically happens during the period between diagnosis of a fatal illness and death. ca. 1882, Washington, DC, USA — Washington, DC.: President Garfield Lying Wounded In His Room At The White House, Washington. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS We’re

Vitamin D and Diabetes: Another Case Where Supplementation Sounded Like a Good Idea But Wasn’t

A new study shows vitamin D supplements don’t prevent diabetes. But there are still unanswered questions. This cartoon shows vitamin D killing cancer. It doesn’t. It doesn’t prevent diabetes either. Low vitamin D levels appear to be a risk factor for diabetes. Observational studies have found a correlation between a low blood level of Vitamin

American Family Physician Endorses Acupuncture

A CME article in American Family Physician misrepresents the evidence, claiming acupuncture has been proven safe and effective. An accompanying editorial gives despicable advice on how to manipulate patients to accept this theatrical placebo. The flagship journal of my specialty of family medicine is the American Family Physician. Each issue contains a quiz that qualifies for continuing medical

Vyleesi: New Drug for Hypoactive Sexual Desire in Women

New drug to treat hypoactive sexual desire in women, Vyleesi, is not very effective and has several drawbacks. It is NOT Viagra for women. The FDA has approved a new drug, Vyleesi (bremelanotide) that has been hyped as “female Viagra”. It is no such thing. Viagra is used to treat erectile dysfunction in men who

Bee Stings for Arthritis

Bee sting therapy may be somewhat effective for arthritis, but it can’t be recommended. Are bee strings [correction: stings, not strings!] an effective treatment for arthritis? Many patients with arthritis have reported that their symptoms went away after they were stung by bees. There are testimonials galore from beekeepers whose arthritis resolved after they were