Puncturing the Acupuncture Myth

Note: This is slightly revised from an article I originally wrote as a “SkepDoc” column for Skeptic magazine. It was pre-released online in eSkeptic and it has already generated a lot of comments, including “a truly amazing piece of peurile pseudo-intellectualism,” “an ad hominem attack on one form of alternative medicine so beset by poor

Sterile Water Injections for Pain Relief

Before ethical standards changed, doctors used to occasionally fool patients with placebo injections of sterile saline or water. If my obstetrician had tried to give me sterile water instead of an epidural, I probably would have hit him. But apparently women are getting sterile water injections for childbirth and are telling us they work. What’s

Snake Oil Science

For my first blog entry, I wanted to write about something important, and I couldn’t think of anything more important than a recent book by R. Barker Bausell: Snake Oil Science: The Truth About Complementary and Alternative Medicine. If you want to understand how medical research works, if you want to know what can lead

CAM Scam

Book review of: Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All, by Rose Shapiro. London: Harvill Secker, 2008. 296 pages. £12.99. ISBN: 978-1-846-55028-7/ Political correctness has emasculated our language. We walk on linguistic tiptoes for fear of offending someone. British journalist Rose Shapiro refuses to be cowed. With refreshing directness, she titled her new

My Response to An Alt-Muddled Friend

I’ve been discussing “alternative medicine” with a friend who is very intelligent but has no training in science. She uses chiropractic, magnets, vitamins, and acupuncture, and she says she doesn’t care what science says because science can be wrong, she trusts her personal experience more, and if something “works” for her, she doesn’t care how