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

Too Many Tests

Doctors order too many tests. Some are useless, some are harmless (except for the cost), but some can lead to serious bodily harm. Misconceptions about tests Many people, even doctors, tend to think of tests as giving consistent, reliable, yes/no answers. They think a test can make a diagnosis, but that’s not how it works.

Kidney Cancer and Incidentalomas

Kidney cancer diagnoses are increasing but there has been no increase in mortality or rate of metastases. Kidney cancer is most often diagnosed as an incidental finding on a CT scan that was done for unrelated reasons. Treatment may not always be needed. In the February 1, 2019 issue of American Family Physician, there is an

Leaky Brain, Leaky Gut: Are They Real?

First there was leaky gut; now there’s leaky brain. These questionable concepts are being promoted by practitioners of so-called “functional medicine.” First there was leaky gut  Three years ago Mark Crislip wrote about leaky gut syndrome for SBM. He said, “because of an almost complete lack of supporting basic science and few therapeutic clinical trials showing no effect,

How we believe

In James Alcock’s classic 1995 article “The Belief Engine,”  he said, “Our brains and nervous systems constitute a belief-generating machine, a system that evolved to assure not truth, logic, and reason, but survival.” Now he has expanded that thesis into a book, Belief: What It Means to Believe and Why Our Convictions Are So Compelling.

Science Moms Fight Fears with Facts

A new documentary takes a novel approach. It features scientist moms who are just like other moms except that they understand the science. They set the record straight about GMOs, vaccines, and other subjects of interest to parents. They provide the facts to counteract unreasonable fears. At the recent conference of the Committee for Skeptical

The Brain Warrior’s Way: Standard Health Advice Mixed with Misinformation and Fanciful Ideas

Daniel Amen, the media-savvy psychiatrist and promoter of SPECT scans, has teamed-up with his wife Tana to write a self-help book that hopelessly muddles good medical advice with misinformation and speculation. Dr. Daniel Amen has been called the most popular psychiatrist in America. His main claim to fame is the SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography)

Vegan Betrayal: The Myths vs. the Realities of a Plants-Only Diet

If vegans really followed these guidelines, they could get adequate nutrition; but all too often they don’t. NOTE: The original version of this book review was criticized for not making it clear when I was simply reporting the book’s content and when I was expressing support for one of its arguments. I have revised it

Therapeutic Touch Pseudoscience: The Tooth Fairy Strikes Again

When tested, therapeutic touch (TT) practitioners failed to detect the human energy field they thought they could feel. Experimental setup from Rosa et al., from JAMA, 1998, 279 (13) A study out of Iran titled “Therapeutic touch for nausea in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: Composing a treatment” was recently published in the journal Complementary Therapies in