I recently came across Round the Red Lamp, a delightful volume of medical-themed short stories and other medical writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a medical doctor and the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Among its many treasures are two of his letters that were printed in newspapers in 1887 on the subject of compulsory vaccination.
I recently got an email from a woman who said she was losing her mind trying to find out the truth about frying pans. Many articles say dangerous chemicals are released from various types of frying pan. We already have enough things to worry about; now I’m supposed to be afraid of my frying pan?
I have written about the dietary supplement ASEA several times on the Science-Based Medicine website. It is said to contain stable, perfectly balanced Redox Signaling Molecules, “a mixture of 16 chemically recombined products of salt and water with completely new chemical properties.” Nowhere do they divulge the identity of those sixteen products, and the label
There seems to be many uses for the trains in Indonesia. Shown above, the over-crowded locomotive is taken on by “surfers”. I am constantly amazed by the ingenuity of humans in coming up with weird and funny treatments for real and imagined illnesses. One of my favorites is train track therapy. People in Indonesia lie
Lydia Kang, MD, and Nate Pedersen have written a delightful new book, Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything. Histories can sometimes be a bit dry and boring; this is anything but. It’s a page-turner. The authors ferreted out some of the most disgusting and ridiculous things people have subjected themselves
Las pulseras de cobre se usaron durante siglos en la medicina folcórica. Supuestamente reducen el dolor de las articulaciones y la rigidez asociada a la artritis, y usando cobre en la muñeca presuntamente beneficia a todas las articulaciones en el cuerpo. Existen afirmaciones que el cobre tiene propiedades anti-inflamatorias y anti-oxidantes. Se dice que las
Copper bracelets have been used for centuries in folk medicine. They allegedly reduce the joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, and wearing copper on the wrist supposedly benefits all joints in the body. There are claims that copper has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The copper from the bracelets is said to be absorbed through the
An email correspondent occasionally sends me items of interest from the Indian press. He recently sent me two clippings about initiatives to solve all of India’s problems by studying the Vedas (for Hindus) and the Qu’ran (for Muslims). The Vedas The headline read, “For diabetes, cancer cure, Raj institute to study the Vedas.” The article
I frequently get emails asking whether I think a certain treatment is supported by evidence or is quackery. I recently got one from an elderly man who was wondering whether he should take a friend’s advice to consult an Ayurvedic doctor. That was the first time I’d ever been asked about Ayurveda. I knew it
How do we know whether a treatment is effective? It is only natural to assume a treatment works if: There is a good rationale as to why it should work Lots of patients got better with the treatment But assumptions can be wrong. Remember the old saying that assumptions make an ASS out of U