Why We Need Science

Most patients, and even many medical doctors and scientists, have not grasped how important it is to use rigorous science to evaluate claims for medical treatments. All too often, people decide to try a treatment that is irrational, that hasn’t been tested, or that has been tested and shown not to work. Why do they

Restricting Freedom, from Typhoid Mary to Covid-19

We are seeing a lot of pushback on government restrictions imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Many people refuse to wear masks or practice social distancing. Some claim that the disease has been conquered, pointing to improvement in survival rates, and manage to ignore the increasing number of new infections and hospitalizations. Some continue

How a Drug Is Born

Big Pharma is not a misnomer. Pharmaceutical drugs are big business. The US is the world leader in producing new drugs and is  responsible for  nearly half of the new molecular entities (NME’s) that come on the market.  Americans spend well over $300 billion yearly on prescription drugs. Both Big Pharma and the FDA have come in for harsh criticism, much

Applied Kinesiology and Other Chiropractic Delusions

Kinesiology is the scientific study of movement. Applied kinesiology (AK) is a bogus muscle-testing technique most commonly used by chiropractors but also by some others. It is neither scientific nor valid. It’s based on a delusion. One commenter said, “It is denounced as an absurd and dishonest parlour trick by anyone else who knows anything

In Praise of Uncertainty

There is an old joke about a patient who had high praise for her new doctor. She had had headaches for years, and no one had ever been able to explain why. The cause remained uncertain. But the uncertainty ended when her wonderful new doctor promptly diagnosed her with cephalalgia. The joke is that cephalalgia

Beware the PIED Piper

It sounds like the script of a science fiction/fantasy movie: the class dunce takes a pill and suddenly becomes smarter than everyone in the class including the teacher; an elderly Alzheimer’s patient takes a pill and his memory is instantly restored – Alzheimer’s dementia cured! Don’t you wish? If only that sort of story could

An Owner’s Manual for the Vagina

A book review of The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and the Vagina – Separating the Myth from the Medicine by Jen Gunter, MD. New York: Citadel/Kensington Books, 2019. ISBN-13: 978-080653931. 432 pages. Paperback, $18.95. Considering that half the population has one, the vagina has been plagued by an inordinate amount of myth and misinformation. There are many reasons. Prudery inhibits

Opioids: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Opium, a dried latex collected from the opium poppy, was the original “wonder drug.” It effectively relieved pain and had other medicinal effects – and incidentally produced euphoria and addiction. There is archaeological evidence that it was used as early as 5700 BC. It was the active ingredient in laudanum and paregoric. For decades, these

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