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

El Libro De National Geographic Es Un Desastre “Natural”

El National Geographic proclama: “Esta guía acreditada para las comidas, hierbas, especias, aceites esenciales y otras sustancias naturales que alivian las dolencias comunes, van a mejorar su vida- desde tratar la enfermedad para aclarar la mente, perder peso, limpiar la casa, mejorar el embarazo, y reducir los efectos del envejecimiento”. No, no va a ser

National Geographic Book Is A ‘Natural’ Disaster

Nature’s Best Remedies: Top Medicinal Herbs, Spices, and Foods for Health and Well Being, by Nancy J. Hajeski. National Geographic. 318 pp. $35.00. The National Geographic store proclaims, “This authoritative guide to the foods, herbs, spices, essential oils, and other natural substances that alleviate common ailments will enhance your life—from treating illness to sharpening the

Science Envy in Alternative Medicine

One definition of alternative medicine is medicine that is not supported by good enough evidence to have earned a place in mainstream medicine. Comedian Tim Minchin asked, “What do you call alternative medicine that works?” His answer: “Medicine.” That’s a simplistic answer good for laughs, but the truth is more complicated. Alternative medicine embraces many

The care and feeding of the vagina

The status of women in our society continues to improve. As the cigarette commercial says, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” Indeed, it seems we now have Equal Opportunity Quackery. Este artículo está disponible en español. Sex sells. It’s always been a popular target for quackery, but the quackery used to be directed mainly at