Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo in medicine.


Freeways, autism, and correlation versus causation (David Gorski)  The strengths and weaknesses of epidemiologic studies are illustrated in a discussion of a recent study allegedly linking autism in children to the proximity of their mother’s home to a freeway during pregnancy.

A New Perspective on the War against Cancer (Harriet Hall)  A riveting new book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee, is an eloquently written and illuminating combination of insightful history, cutting edge science reporting, and vivid stories about the patients, doctors, activists, and researchers involved. Science is beginning to understand cancers and to sequence their genomes: rather than eliminating cancer we may succeed in converting cancer from a killer to a controllable chronic disease.

Echinacea for Cold and Flu (Steven Novella) The NCCAM has spent our taxpayer money on another study that only confirms what we already knew: echinacea doesn’t work for colds, despite its popularity and the lame attempt of the study’s authors to put a positive spin on negative data.

Like a Car Accident, Slow Down and Stare (Mark Crislip) Links to a YouTube video of a lecture Dr. Crislip gave on “The Vaccine Pseudocontroversy” to the Oregonians for Science and Reason last fall.

Vaccines are a pain: What to do about it (Scott Gavura)  Shots hurt, and reducing pain might improve vaccine acceptance. 18 pain-reducing methods are discussed, with explanations of the evidence or the lack of evidence for each.