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Another Lawsuit To Suppress Legitimate Criticism – This Time SBM

Gavel-court-legal-law-lawsuit

I suppose it was inevitable. In fact, I’m a bit surprised it took this long. SGU Productions, the Society for Science-based medicine, and I are being sued for an article that I wrote in May of 2013 on Science-Based Medicine. My SBM piece, which was inspired by an article in the LA Times, gave this summary:

The story revolves around Dr. Edward Tobinick and his practice of perispinal etanercept (Enbrel) for a long and apparently growing list of conditions. Enbrel is an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of severe rheumatoid arthritis. It works by inhibiting tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which is a group of cytokines that are part of the immune system and cause cell death. Enbrel, therefore, can be a powerful anti-inflammatory drug. Tobinick is using Enbrel for many off-label indications, one of which is Alzheimer’s disease (the focus of the LA Times story).

The claims and practice of Dr. Tobinick have many of the red flags of a dubious medical practice, of the sort that we discuss regularly on SBM. It seems that Dr. Tobinick does not appreciate public criticism of his claims and practice, and he wants me to remove the post from SBM. In my opinion he is using legal thuggery in an attempt to intimidate me and silence my free speech because he finds its content inconvenient.

Of course, we have no intention of removing the post as we feel it is critical to the public’s interest. This is what we do at SBM – provide an objective analysis of questionable or controversial medical claims so that consumers can make more informed decisions, and to advance the state of science in medicine.

We also feel it is critical not to cave to this type of intimidation. If we do, we might as well close up shop (which I suspect the Tobinicks of the world would find agreeable). Defending against even a frivolous lawsuit can be quite expensive, but we feel it is necessary for us to fight as hard as we can to defend our rights and the work that we do here at SBM.

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Posted in: Announcements, Legal

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One Million Page Views

For the first time, ScienceBasedMedicine.org has reached a million page views in a month, thanks to a surge in social media buzz. We’ve come close before, but finally pushed comfortably past that major milestone earlier this week. As of today, SBM served 1,051,943 pages to 649,315 visitors in the last thirty days. These are mainstream-scale numbers: SBM is now competing effectively with many popular websites about not-so-science-based medicine.

Dr. Evil: “One MILLION visits.”

What articles are attracting so much attention? The traffic surge is powered by several popular recent posts, but mostly two of Dr. Gorski’s, about the Food Babe and John Oliver skewering Dr. Oz. Dr. Novella’s Food Fears post isn’t far behind. Other respectable slices of the traffic pie chart include Dr. Hall’s perpetually popular Isagenix post, and Scott Gavura’s coffee enema post — which also happen to be the two busiest SBM pages of all time, with Aspartame — Truth vs Fiction in third place.

graph of one million pageviews

SBM’s inaugural post was on January 1, 2008. Unfortunately, we have no traffic data until the middle of 2013. Since then, we’ve seen a doubling in average monthly traffic. It’s been a team effort, of course, but Facebook and Twitter have been huge factors in that steady growth. Bobby Hannum manages those accounts for us, and somehow manages to post and tweet for us almost every single day while going to medical school. If you haven’t already, please like and follow.

Next stop: a million views per week…

~ Paul Ingraham, Assistant Editor

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A little more weekend shameless self-promotion to spread an important message about Stanislaw Burzynski

Weekends seem to be the time for shameless self-promotion. At least, some weekends are. So, in that tradition, I can’t help blowing my own horn a bit and urging SBM readers to head on over to listen to The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, Episode #455, March 29, 2014. There, Bob Blaskiewicz and I are interviewed about Stanislaw Burzynski and what you, as supporters of science-based medicine, can do to counter the efforts of his supporters to pressure the FDA to let children with cancer receive antineoplastons, efforts that are yielding fruit.

Bob Blaskiewicz has set up a Change.org petition “Protect Desperate Patients from the Houston Cancer Quack“. Bob and I urge you to check it out and sign it.

In the meantime, for those of you in Rep. Darrell Issa’s district, note that I will be in San Diego from April 5th to 9th attending the American Association for Cancer Research Meeting. If there are any skeptics in the San Diego area who would like advice on getting this message to Rep. Issa and/or having a meetup, drop me a line at my e-mail address on our contact page.

Posted in: Announcements, Cancer

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Announcing the Society for Science-Based Medicine

We are proud to announce a new organization: The Society for Science-Based Medicine.
A Society for a community of like-minded individuals, both in and out of health care, who support the goals of Science-Based Medicine.

People should not suffer, die, go bankrupt, and lose time and hope because of complementary and alternative pseudo-medicine.
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Posted in: Announcements, Science and Medicine

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Happy Thanksgiving!

We celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. on the fourth Thursday in November. Because I live in the U.S. and Thanksgiving falls on my regular blogging day this year, I get the day off.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for the cornucopia of blog fodder coming up as we move toward the end of 2013 and into 2014. The Bravewell Collaborative is shutting down this month although it is not giving up on pushing the integrative medicine agenda. On December 13th, the Council for Chiropractic Education, which is only provisionally accredited now due to failure to follow numerous regulatory requirements, will have its day in court before the National Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. The NAICI will then recommend to the Department of Education whether or not the CCE should continue as the approved accrediting agency for all chiropractic colleges. On January 1, 2014, Section 2607 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination against state-licensed CAM providers, kicks in along with the rest of the ACA. Lawsuits to follow. Early next year will undoubtedly bring a new batch of proposed state legislation seeking to license naturopaths as primary care doctors. These are always interesting reading as they inevitably include a laundry list of legally permissible quacky naturopathic treatments such as colonic irrigation, organ repositioning and homeopathy. And, given the ACA’s emphasis on, and reimbursement for, primary care, chiropractors will certainly continue their campaign to convince everyone that they are actually PCPs. I expect legislation will be introduced seeking expansion of chiropractic and naturopathic scope of practice. Perhaps acupuncture too.

So stay tuned. And Happy Thanksgiving wherever you live.

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Because the world needs more Mark CrislipTM

Should anyone be in Ashland, Oregon the afternoon of Sunday the 10th of November, and is sober after an afternoon of watching the NFL,  I will be giving a talk on Supplementary, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Myths.  Sponsored by the Jefferson Center, details on their website.

For those in the Portland, Oregon area, I will be giving same talk on Monday November 18th.

7:00 PM
Portland State University
Science Bld. 1 – Room 107

Although the Patriots-Panthers game may be more exciting.

Sponsored by Oregonians for Science and Reason and the PSU Department of Physics.

Both talks are free.

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You Get What You Pay For

I will be giving a free talk entitled Acupuncture: A Science-Based Evaluation of a Popular SCAM to the Bay Area Skeptics on Wednesday, October 2 at 7:30 pm.

Information at the Bay Area Skeptics site on how to get to the La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley.

A wonderful time will be had by all. Well, those who drink first.

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New help page for commenting and login issues

Earlier this year, after getting hacked, we made some major changes. It all had to be done, but of course there are some new headaches. We’ve published a new help page explaining the changes, why you do not have to have a Facebook or Twitter account, and why some comments are held for moderation (one normal reason, one buggy reason). Obviously we are working as fast as a volunteer-powered organization possibly can to fix the bugs, and we thank you for your patience. Meanwhile, if you’ve been frustrated trying to comment, this page should offer some relief.

Help with logging in & commenting

Good news update: the “vanishing submit button” problem has (probably) been solved at last, eliminating one of the major reasons we originally published the help page.

The Editors
ScienceBasedMedicine.org

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Launching the SBM Facebook Page

As the medical student leading the charge on SBM’s social media presence, I’m happy to announce the creation of the Science-Based Medicine Facebook Page!

After we recently revived the Twitter account – which everyone should follow for the latest in SBM goodness – this page was the next logical step. It will serve as a platform for complementary and alternative media (CAM) to the site: quotes, links, events, and posts that don’t necessarily merit a full post on the blog but are worthwhile nonetheless. It will also serve as a forum for followers to contribute their own content (after moderation) to the SBM community as well. Please visit the page, “Like” the page, and recommend it to all your friends and family.

 

You can find us at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ScienceBasedMed

Twitter: @ScienceBasedMed

Posted in: Announcements

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Science-Based Medicine Site Upgrades

Science-Based Medicine Site Upgrades

Hi everyone, I’m Joe Fulgham and I’ll be your webmaster for the evening. I was asked by Steven, David, and Paul to come in and fix up ScienceBasedMedicine.org’s web site. Some of you may recognize me from the Caustic Soda podcast, but by day I’m a web consultant.

In addition to a complete makeover and a slight reorganization of content we’re also changing the way you log in to post to the site. I wanted to spell out what the changes are and why we’re making them.

As you may have heard, Science-Based Medicine has had some web-server troubles of late. There was a fairly nasty security breach and recovering from that on a rebuilt server meant a few glitches and some connectivity problems. After a few software upgrades and a lot of tweaking we now have the server running quickly, efficiently, and with greatly increased security. That allows me to finally move forward on the redesign which if not active right now will be very soon.

Redesign
ScienceBasedMedicine.org is sporting a cutting-edge new layout that’s reminiscent of the previous one but leaner, cleaner and responsive.

If you resize your browser window you’ll note the new design automatically fits to all resolutions and devices. Visitors will no longer see a wildly different “mobile version” on their smartphones vs. desktop browsers vs. tablet devices.

I’ve also taken this time to reduce the visual clutter on the site, pushing a clean, content-focused layout. A lot of the old sidebar information has been moved to links in the menu while important navigation and fundraising sections (support Science-Based Medicine!) remain in the simplified sidebar for posts, while static information pages have enhanced navigation on the left side.

When you’re done reading the content and the sidebar doesn’t have what you need the new footer area has several choices for additional information, from the latest Tweets to Recent Posts and Comments.

Commenting
For security reasons and to reduce strain on the server we’re changing the way you log in to comment here on sciencebasedmedicine.org. We will no longer require a sciencebasedmedicine.org user account, but instead allow logging in with either a WordPress.com, Twitter, or Facebook account. Shortly after changing to this system we’ll be removing the 46,000+ “Subscription” level accounts from the server. Yes, you read that right. Yes, that’s too many for us to administrate, sorry.

Reorganization
I’m also changing the “Permalink” structure of the site to a friendlier version, as well as moving a few pages around within that structure. Old incoming links should auto-redirect to the current address so nothing should become completely broken. If it does, or you see any other errors toss an email to sbmredesign@holycow.com with as much information as you can give me, including relevant URIs, browser, etc.

One more blatant plug, ok? Hi Vancouver Skeptics!

Enjoy the new site!

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