Medicare is paying for nonsense. I recently wrote about the free preventive medicine appointments offered by Medicare. Those are worthwhile and are based on good science, but I was surprised to see that Medicare sometimes departs from rigorously science-based standards. They also cover alternative medicine treatments based on fantasy. Chiropractic According… read more "Medicare and Alternative Medicine"
Biofield tuning uses tuning forks to assess the health of clients. This study of inter-rater agreement is a prime example of Tooth Fairy science. A study recently published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine is titled “Inter-Rater Agreement of Biofield Tuning: Testing a Novel Health Assessment Procedure.” It is… read more "Biofield Tuning: Another Example of Tooth Fairy Science"
Acupuncturists do a systematic review and reveal they can’t reliably locate acupoints. No wonder: they don’t exist. Even acupuncturists themselves are beginning to wonder. A critical systematic review of accuracy and precision in acupuncture point location was recently published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies. They point out that “Accuracy of… read more "Do Acupuncture Points Exist? Can Acupuncturists Find Them?"
According to research methodologist R. Barker Bausell, “CAM [complementary and alternative medicine] therapists simply do not value (and most, in my experience, do not understand) the scientific process.” They have seen their patients improve, and that’s all the “evidence” they think they need. They don’t understand that they may have been… read more "How Not To Do Science"
The publisher recently sent me a review copy of Quackery: The 20 Million Dollar Duck, by Tony Robertson. My first thought was “Do we really need another book on this subject? Don’t I know all this stuff already?” I was very pleasantly surprised. Robertson has ferreted out an impressive array of… read more "Quackery: The 20 Million Dollar Duck"
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"
Tooth Fairy Science is science that studies a phenomenon that doesn’t exist. You can do studies on the Tooth Fairy; for instance, comparing how much money she leaves to kids in different socioeconomic groups. You can do studies on the memory of homeopathic water. You can do studies on the… read more "Cranial Manipulation and Tooth Fairy Science"
The term evidence-based medicine (EBM) first appeared in the medical literature in 1992. There were two previous EBMs: Expert-Based Medicine and Experience-Based Medicine. In the 4th century BCE, Aristotle said men have more teeth than women. He was the expert, and for many centuries his error was perpetuated because no… read more "Evidence-Based Medicine, Tooth Fairy Science, and Cinderella Medicine"
The PowerPoint presentation that I gave at the Skeptic’s Toolbox workshop at the University of Oregon on August 7, 2009 is up on their website with the complete text of what I said. The theme of the workshop was scientific method. The title of my talk is “Tooth Fairy Science… read more "Applying Rigorous Science to Messy Medicine"
Chiropractic originated in 1895 when D.D. Palmer claimed to have restored deaf janitor Harvey Lillard’s hearing by manipulating his spine. This makes no anatomical sense, and few if any chiropractors claim to be able to reverse deafness today. But now a chiropractic website is attempting to vindicate D. D. Palmer.… read more "Chiropractic and Deafness: Back to 1895"