Results for: nccam

On the dangers of using valid placebo controls in clinical trials of acupuncture

I don’t recall if I’ve ever mentioned this before on this blog, but there was a time when I was less skeptical of acupuncture than I am now. It’s true. Don’t get me wrong, though. I never for a minute considered that the whole rigamarole about “unblocking” or “redirecting” the flow of that mystical life force known as qi had anything to...

/ November 17, 2008

“Urban Zen” and homeopathy at Beth Israel Medical Center, or: Dr. Gorski destroys his chances of ever being invited to join the faculty at BIMC or the Albert Einstein College of Medicine

I guess I never really wanted to work in Manhattan anyway. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. I mean, why on earth would I want to? What’s the attraction? Living in the heart of it all, all those shows and all those amazing cultural activities, all those world-class restaurants? Being close to Boston, Philadelphia, and other cool East Coast cities,...

/ November 3, 2008

How State Medical Boards Shoot Themselves (and You) in the Foot

This is almost the final entry (for now) in a series of posts about the pitfalls of regulating physicians who peddle quackery.† In previous entries we’ve seen how quacks have portrayed an illegal and pseudoscientific treatment, intravenous hydrogen peroxide, as legitimate; how a physician who practiced that and other dubious methods eluded definitive regulatory sanctions for years; examples of quacks banding together to...

/ October 31, 2008

Placebos in the news again

Towards the end of last week, I was contemplating what I would be writing about for Monday. No topic had quite floated my boat, but I hated to dip into the archive of topics I’ve written about before to update a post. After all, I like to be topical whenever possible. Then what to my wondering eyes should appear (yes, I know...

/ October 27, 2008

The Pseudomedical Pseudoprofessional Organization (PPO*)

(*Not to be confused with “Preferred Provider Organization,” which shares the acronym) This is part of an ongoing series† discussing pitfalls of regulating physicians, but I’ve decided, in the interest of flexibility, to vary the title. A couple of weeks ago I gave some examples of how individual physicians practicing substandard, implausible medicine manage to avoid or delay being disciplined by state medical boards. I...

/ October 17, 2008

Disintegrating Integrative Medicine: Lessons From Baking

Suppose I were to bake you a cake and my ingredient list included the following: Eggs Milk Butter Sand Flour Baking Powder Vanilla Melamine Sugar Chocolate icing What is the problem with the ingredient list? It has integrated inedible and poisonous items into the very fine basic ingredients that make a good cake. This is the exact same problem that the medical...

/ October 16, 2008

Fun with homeopaths and meta-analyses of homeopathy trials

Homeopathy amuses me. Well, actually it both amuses me and appalls me. The amusement comes from just how utterly ridiculous the concepts behind homeopathy are. Think about it. It is nothing but pure magical thinking. Indeed, at the very core of homeopathy is a concept that can only be considered to be magic. In homeopathy, the main principles are that “like heals...

/ October 13, 2008

Kimball C. Atwood IV, MD

Kimball Atwood IV, MD is a practicing anesthesiologist who is also board-certified in internal medicine. He had been interested in pseudoscience for years, but became active in 2000 after a nursing conference at his own hospital advocated Therapeutic Touch, Guided Imagery, and several other implausible practices as effective treatments for pleural mesothelioma. Shortly thereafter he became a member of the Massachusetts Special...

/ October 5, 2008

Cognitive Dissonance at the New York Times

Humans have the very odd ability to hold contradictory, even mutually exclusive, ideas in their brains at the same time. There are two basic processes at work to make this possible. The first is compartmentalization – the ideas are simply kept separate. They are trains on different tracks that never cross. We can switch from to the other, but they never crash...

/ October 1, 2008
AutismsFalseProphets

Autism’s false prophets revealed

Dr. Paul Offit has written a book about the false prophets of autism, those who promote the idea that vaccines cause autism and those who sell quackery to treat autism, which are often the same people. If you want a good history of how the "vaccines cause autism" myth started, this is a great primer.

/ September 29, 2008