Alternative medicine has been quick to capitalize on the public’s fear of coronavirus. They offer an array of bogus treatments. The news is full of alarming reports about the new coronavirus that originated in China and is spreading throughout the world. There is no treatment other than supportive measures, and… read more "Alternative Medicine Exploits Coronavirus Fears"
Professor Gives Grades to Alternative Medicine
Edzard Ernst assigns a grade to 150 alternative medicine modalities, evaluating plausibility, efficacy, safety, cost, and risk/benefit balance. A very useful reference. Edzard Ernst has written another book, and it’s a real tour de force: Alternative Medicine: A Critical Assessment of 150 Modalities. He probably knows more about alternative medicine than… read more "Professor Gives Grades to Alternative Medicine"
The Magic Feather Effect: Placebos and the Power of Belief in Alternative Medicine
In her book The Magic Feather Effect, journalist Melanie Warner covers placebo research, shows that alternative medicine is placebo medicine, takes a “try it yourself” approach, and gives belief and anecdotes more credit than they deserve. In the movie Dumbo, a little elephant with large ears can fly by flapping them like… read more "The Magic Feather Effect: Placebos and the Power of Belief in Alternative Medicine"
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… read more "How we believe"
The Case That CAM Is Unethical
Edzard Ernst is arguably the world’s foremost expert on the claims and the evidence (or lack thereof) for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Now he has teamed up with a medical ethicist, Kevin Smith, to co-author a new book, More Harm than Good? The Moral Maze of Complementary and Alternative… read more "The Case That CAM Is Unethical"
Announcing: Video Lecture Course on Science-Based Medicine
A couple of years ago, the James Randi Educational Foundation commissioned me to develop a series of 10 video lectures on Science-Based Medicine. After a lot of work and many vicissitudes, it is now available. The lecture titles are: Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine What Is CAM? Chiropractic Acupuncture Homeopathy Naturopathy and… read more "Announcing: Video Lecture Course on Science-Based Medicine"
Charlie Sheen’s HIV Goat Milk Doctor
On January 29, 2016, HBO Real Time host Bill Maher featured Samir Chachoua, a man who claims to have discovered a cure for HIV/AIDS, cancer, and a host of other illnesses. He is not licensed to practice medicine in the US; he operates out of Mexico where he charges rich visitors many thousands… read more "Charlie Sheen’s HIV Goat Milk Doctor"
Fun for the Fourth
Is it OK to laugh when we encounter a ridiculous claim in alternative medicine? This video lecture highlights some hilarious claims and encourages both laughter and appreciation of the human creativity involved. Since today is a holiday, I decided to take a holiday from writing my usual posts and instead… read more "Fun for the Fourth"
Confessions of a Quack: Holistic Harry Tells the Inside Story of Alternative Medicine
Confessions of a Quack is fiction, but it provides real insights into the thinking processes and motivations of quacks, alternative medicine providers, and their patients. He told her the butterbur had flushed out her triple heater meridian, spilling into Pingala Nadi, flooding her Agnya chakra and setting off a Herxheimer-like reaction.… read more "Confessions of a Quack: Holistic Harry Tells the Inside Story of Alternative Medicine"
Cure Is About Caring, Not Curing: Placebos, Alternative Medicine, and Patient Comfort
In a recent post, Dr. Gorski criticized two articles by Jo Marchant on placebos and alternative medicine. He mentioned that she had a book coming out and suggested I might want to review it. The title is Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body. I don’t know of any evidence… read more "Cure Is About Caring, Not Curing: Placebos, Alternative Medicine, and Patient Comfort"