TB Or Not TB? Don’t Rely on a Blood Test

TB can’t be diagnosed with a blood test. Tuberculosis has been infecting humans since prehistoric times. It’s still with us. It usually can be cured today with good medical care but is still a serious problem in much of the world, especially among underprivileged socioeconomic groups and some ethnic populations. It kills 1.5 million people

Announcing a New Children’s Book that Promotes Critical Thinking

A new book teaches young children about critical thinking and evidence. It’s not only educational but colorful and funny. Too many adults are like Henry, the little boy in the story who rejects clear evidence and persists in what he wants to believe. Back in 2006 I wrote an article for Skeptical Inquirer titled “Teaching Pigs to Sing“.

A Desperate Choice

A therapy for brain tumors in young children involves deliberately infecting them with a virus. Scary, and is it worth it? In a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine I read about a novel possibility for treating cancer that I had not been aware of. The study’s title was “Oncolytic DNX-2401 Virus for Pediatric Diffuse Intrinsic

100% Cure Rate Is Hard to Believe

An experimental cancer drug made 100% of rectal cancers disappear in a small trial, allowing subjects to avoid the standard treatment of chemotherapy and surgery . “Some scientists say these kinds of results have never been seen in the history of cancer research.” 100% is hard to believe; the 95% confidence interval was 74 to 100. Whatever the true

Statistical Shenanigans?

The manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines say they are 95% effective. Peter Doshi re-examined the evidence and estimates they are only 19-29% effective. This pre-print of an as-yet unpublished re-analysis raises many questions but doesn’t support the claims being made on antivaccine sites. A correspondent asked for my opinion about a study that he said has been appearing

The Role of Liquid Biopsies in Oncology

Liquid biopsies can be used to reduce the amount of chemotherapy used for patients with stage II colon cancer. When a patient has cancer, cell-free tumor DNA circulates in the blood and can be detected in a peripheral blood sample. This is known as a “liquid biopsy,” and it has become a routine practice in

Chiropractic Neck Manipulations in the News

Caitlin Jensen’s chiropractor called 911 when she developed alarming symptoms after neck manipulation. She had a heart attack, was pulseless for 10 minutes, and suffered traumatic brain injury. Surgeons found dissections of 4 arteries in the neck. A month later, she remains paralyzed and is still in the ICU. I’ve been following the news reports

Do Covid-19 Vaccines Affect Fertility?

Fears of future infertility are keeping some parents from vaccinating their children for COVID-19. These fears are not supported by any evidence. A friend told me he had encountered a man who was fully vaccinated. This man says his whole family is vaccinated except his young 7-year-old daughter. He says he’s worried about the effect

Big Success for Anti-obesity Drug

Will an expensive, new, injectable, untested medication help people lose weight? Maybe! But right now, we don’t know if it’s safety and efficacy profiles make it worth the price. When I saw this headline on an article in The Week magazine, I was impressed. Diet and exercise, when combined with existing obesity drugs, typically result in only

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