Last week, we at Science-Based Medicine announced the arrival of a new blogger, Dr. Val Jones. She’s already made her mark here by in the course of her description of how she awakened to the problem of unscientific so-called “alternative” medicine infiltrating its way into medicine coining a new term that may well become more widely used than anyone could suspect.
I’m now happy to announce two more additions to the SBM team. Both are experienced bloggers. Both are excellent bloggers. Both are just as alarmed as the rest of us about how antiscience has insinuated its way into biomedical academia. Moreover, each will bring his own useful new viewpoint here to shake things up.
The first, Dr. Peter Lipson, is an internist in private practice. Consequently, he brings the perspective of how a health care professional “in the trenches,” so to speak, must deal with issues of science-based versus non-science-based medicine. His description follows:
Peter A. Lipson, M.D. is a practicing internist and teaching physician in Southeast Michigan.. After graduating from Rush Medical College in Chicago, he completed his Internal Medicine residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. During his intern year, he led a medical mission to hurricane-ravaged Honduras and managed to have it count toward elective time rather than vacation.
After finishing his residency, he moved back to the Detroit area taking a position as an academic hospitalist. When he found he did not enjoy sharing a call room with various arthropods, especially some known as “sewer flies”, he went into private practice at a large community=based teaching hospital.
He currently maintains a private practice, and serves as a teaching physician at the same large community hospital.
Because he isn’t busy enough, he is an avid reader. He is also quite used to patients, friends, and family members quizzing him about dubious medical practices. The marvel known as “the internet” has made these practices widely available to credulous consumers, which makes Dr. Lipson’s job harder. As his knowledge of non-science-based medical practices grew, he found that simply educating his own patients, students, and residents wasn’t enough, so he began to blog, first at WhiteCoat Underground, then at denialism blog, where he continues to bloviate prolifically.
A primary goal of his writing is to illuminate the differences between science-based medicine and everything else. His perspective as a primary care physician and his daily interaction with real patients gives him what he hopes is special insight into the current “De-lightenment” in medicine. As new media evolve, pseudo-scientific, deceptive, and immoral health practices become more and more available to patients, making his job all that much more difficult—and all that much more interesting.
Our other new blogger is David J. Kroll, Ph.D. He brings a truly unique and needed perspective to this blog given how much we deal with herbalism and claims that herbs can cure disease. The reason is because he’s a natural products cancer researcher who studies plant-derived compounds as potential treatments for cancer:
David J Kroll, PhD, is a biomedical educator and natural products cancer pharmacologist focusing on the discovery of novel compounds from diverse natural sources, including botanical dietary supplements. He is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) in their Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE). Dr. Kroll is also guest faculty and graduate advisory board member for the MS program in Science and Medical Journalism at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Kroll holds a BS in Toxicology and a PhD in Pharmacology & Therapeutics. He originally launched his NIH- and American Cancer Society-supported independent academic research program studying the mechanisms of chemotherapeutic drug resistance. As more than half of anticancer drugs are derived from plants, microbes, or marine organisms, Dr. Kroll has always held high regard for nature as a source of chemical diversity in the discovery of drugs for a variety of therapeutic areas and worked at one point with the co-discoverers of Taxol (paclitaxel). In 1995, his historical curiosity and role as a pharmacology professor for pharmacy, medical, and nursing students led him to develop educational modules on the truth and fiction behind herbal remedies and non-botanical supplements. Demand for this objective information extended to the public and Dr. Kroll became a widely sought expert source on supplement quality and misinformation for the print and broadcast media.
Dr. Kroll has grown increasingly dismayed at the bastardization of his research field by an industry that often distorts and misappropriates the peer-reviewed natural products research literature in product marketing. His professional relationships with academic centers for integrative medicine have left him largely discouraged that such lofty institutions also promote questionable approaches in the name of medicine, yet he is encouraged by a handful of investigators in a few centers that truly subscribe to science-based medicine in the rigorous evaluation of therapeutic natural products.
Dr. Kroll is currently funded by the NIH National Cancer Institute to identify and characterize anticancer and chemopreventive pure compounds from milk thistle (Silybum marianum). He also serves on the NCI’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine Physician’s Data Query Editorial Board.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by Dr. Kroll are his alone and do not represent the policies or viewpoints of his department, institution, or research funding agencies. As Dr. Kroll is a PhD basic scientist and not a licensed physician, the information provided is for educational purposes only and should never be used as a replacement for consultation with a licensed and properly accredited medical professional.
Please join us in welcoming these two new bloggers to the SBM fold. They will both be blogging here every other week beginning next week.