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.



Breast Cancer Awareness Month pseudoscience from (who else?) Joe Mercola (David Gorski) The infamous Mercola and others have dishonored Breast Cancer Awareness Month by resurrecting old myths. They claim that breast cancer is caused by drinking milk from cows treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone. Also by the aluminum in antiperspirants and the wires in underwire bras. None of these claims is based on science.

Steven Fowkes (Part 1 of 2): How to Cure Alzheimer’s and Herpes (Harriet Hall) Chemist Steven Fowkes claims to be able to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s, at least in the early stages, and to cure herpes. His reasoning is flawed and he has no evidence from clinical studies, just speculation and testimonials.

Alpha Brain – What’s Wrong with the Supplement Industry (Steven Novella) Alpha Brain is a typical supplement mixture that claims to “enhance” mental function, sleep, creativity, and athletic performance.” It is marketed with deceptive references to basic science studies, falsely claiming that they constitute evidence for a mixture that has never been clinically tested.

Constipation Myths and Facts (Scott Gavura) Constipation is a common problem with various popular remedies, none of which are supported by high quality evidence. A number of myths are exploded, including the idea that the colon is the root of all illness.

Please Don’t Define “Complementary and Alternative Health Practices”! (William London) The American Association for Health Education is inviting comments to define approved terminology. Their whole concept of defining complementary and alternative health practices is fatally flawed. Their proposal incorporates jargon, marketing doublespeak, and euphemisms for quackery.

Milk Thistle and Mushroom Poisoning (David Kroll) Milk thistle is an herbal remedy for mushroom poisoning that actually works, by protecting the liver. It’s a good example of the legitimate use of a medicine from a herbal tradition in clinical situations, and an extract has received emergency IRB approval and IND status.