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.


 The curious case of Poul Thorsen, fraud and embezzlement, and the Danish vaccine-autism studies (David Gorski) Two Danish studies showed no correlation of autism with MMR vaccine or of autism with thimerosal. Anti-vaccine activists think they can reject those studies because one of the co-authors, Poul Thorsen, was indicted for financial fraud. There is no reason to think his financial shenanigans influenced the studies; and anyway, even without those studies the evidence is clear that vaccines don’t cause autism.

The trouble with Dr. Oz (David Gorski) In anticipation of Dr. Steven Novella’s scheduled appearance on the Dr. Oz show, Dr. Gorski provides a review of why Science-Based Medicine has criticized Oz. He has promoted pseudoscience and quackery and even presented talking to the dead as a form of psychotherapy!

A Skeptic in Oz (Steven Novella) Dr. Novella reports on his experience as a guest on the Dr. Oz show and shows how Oz controlled and framed the discussion of alternative medicine. He invites Oz to continue the discussion in a skeptical forum.

Conflicts of Interest (Harriet Hall) Dr. Hall was chastised by an acupuncturist because she listed no conflicts of interest on an editorial published in Pain. An exploration of the concept of conflict of interest shows that Dr. Hall doesn’t have one but the acupuncturist does.

Dr. Oz on alternative medicine: Bread and circuses (David Gorski) A follow-up analyzing what happened when Dr. Novella appeared on Oz’s show. Oz was guilty of framing, fallacious reasoning, misrepresentation, and pandering to the public.

Do calcium supplements cause heart attacks? (Scott Gavura) Calcium supplements are recommended to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, but two recent studies suggest that they raise the risk of heart attacks. The small but proven benefit must be balanced against the possibility of harm: a definitive answer is not yet available.

Cochrane is Starting to “Get” SBM! (Kimball Atwood) An editorial published by Cochrane cites SBM and echoes our criticism that Cochrane’s systematic reviews ignore prior plausibility, have included even bogus studies in their analyses, and always call for more research even where it is inappropriate. Supporting Feedback letters agreed. It seems our message is starting to get through.