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 legal establishment of Winkler County, Texas conspires to punish whistle blowing nurses (David Gorski)  Nurses in Texas did their duty by reporting the unethical and dubious behavior of a doctor, Rolando Arafiles. Whistleblowers are supposed to remain anonymous, but the sheriff tracked them down and one of them is currently on trial for charges that even the Texas Medical Board states are bogus.

The Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010: A long overdue correction to the DSHEA of 1994? (David Gorski)  DSHEA essentially allows manufacturers to market untested medicines as “diet supplements” exempt from the regulations required of other drugs. Senator John McCain has introduced a bill that would correct some of the problems, requiring reporting of adverse events and giving the FDA more regulatory powers.

Time to Care: Personal Medicine in the Age of Technology (Harriet Hall) Review of a book by Dr. Norman Makous that discusses the importance of a strong doctor/patient relationship to counteract the problems created by modern medicine’s impersonal technology and also tells the story of  how modern medicine evolved over the last 60 years.

Checklists and Culture in Medicine (Steven Novella) Atul Gawande’s book “The Checklist Manifesto” is a reminder of how the culture of medicine influences practice. Checklists can enforce discipline, minimize errors, and optimize the practice of medicine.

Science by press release (Amy Tuteur) Press releases do not accurately reflect the content of scientific papers. Medical journalists have become complicit in transmitting inaccurate or deceptive “puff pieces” designed to hype the supposed discovery and hide any deficiencies in the research.

CardioFuel – another magic pill (Peter Lipson) CardioFuel is advertised as an energy producing supplement that increases ATP and energy reserves and helps overcome chronic disease. There is no scientific support for these claims, yet the company’s website fails to supply the required “Quack Miranda Warning.”

Changing Your Mind (Mark Crislip) The strength of science is that scientists change their minds as new information comes in. Dr. Crislip discusses how to decide when new information mandates changes in clinical practice, using the example of a recent study about flu vaccines in the elderly. He says “the data has to change the way I think about medicine, no matter how much it hurts.”