Abortion is controversial but ubiquitous. 1 in 4 American women will have an abortion by the age of 45 and around the world 40-50 million pregnancies end in abortion every year. Anti-abortion activists have long relied on moral and religious arguments to convince others that abortion is wrong, wrong, wrong.… read more "The Science of Abortion"
A doctor is adamant about avoiding dairy because IGF-1 allows cancer cells to multiply. I think he’s relying on speculation and an over-abundance of caution. Healthy food or carcinogen? Opinions differ. A neighbor told me, “one of my doctors was very adamant about not consuming dairy because the growth factor… read more "Should We Avoid Dairy Out of Fear of Cancer?"
Hormone replacement therapy in menopause is safer and more effective than we have been led to believe. A new book examines the evidence and sets the record straight. Estrogen replacement stops hot flashes cold and is a veritable Fountain of Youth. Estrogen replacement is dangerous: it kills women. It prevents… read more "Estrogen Matters"
Precision medicine is a development that promises to tailor treatments to the individual patient based on genetic and other molecular and cellular analyses. In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative. A website for Precision Medicine claims to offer “perfect care for every individual.”… read more "Precision Medicine and Uncertainty"
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… read more "Therapeutic Touch Pseudoscience: The Tooth Fairy Strikes Again"
I’m going to follow Mark Crislip’s example and recycle my presentation from The Amazing Meeting last week, not because I’m lazy or short on time (although I am both), but because I think the information is worth sharing with a larger audience. We’ve all had screening tests and we’re all likely… read more "A Skeptical Look at Screening Tests"
There are four main principles in medical ethics: Autonomy Beneficence Non-maleficence Justice Autonomy means the patient has the right to consent to treatment or to reject it. Autonomy has to be balanced against the good of society. What if a patient’s rejection of treatment or quarantine allows an epidemic to… read more "Science-Based Medicine Meets Medical Ethics"
Three kids on the same block were diagnosed with leukemia last year. That couldn’t happen just by chance, could it? There MUST be something in the environment that caused it (power lines, the chemical plant down the street, asbestos in their school, iPods, Twinkies?). Quick, let’s measure everything we can… read more "Hyping Health Risks"
I’m an equal opportunity skeptic. I’m skeptical about alternative medicine, pseudoscience, and quackery; but I apply the same standards of skepticism to conventional medicine. I don’t write about conventional medicine so much, because I don’t need to. Science itself is inherently skeptical and scientific medicine is self-criticizing and self-correcting. When… read more "A Skeptical Look at Screening Tests"