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 latest chapter in the seemingly never-ending saga of dichloroacetate as a cancer treatment (David Gorski) DCA is a common chemical that is being promoted as a “cure for cancer big pharma doesn’t want you to know about.” The evidence isn’t there.
Alcohol and Pregnancy (Harriet Hall) Drinking large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy causes congenital defects; but we don’t know if there is a threshold below which small amounts of alcohol are harmless. The standard advice to abstain entirely during pregnancy is precautionary, not evidence-based.
New Data on Cell Phones and Cancer (Steven Novella) The Interphone study of cell phone users found no clear association with brain tumors and one subgroup even appeared to show a protective effect. Current evidence shows that there is either no risk or possibly a very small long term risk that would have to be balanced against the convenience of cell phones.
“Medical Voices” on vaccine: Brave, brave Sir Robin (David Gorski) Mark Crislip easily answered the “9 Questions that Stump Every Pro-Vaccine Advocate” challenge from the “Medical Voices” anti-vaccine site. Instead of acknowledging and responding to his debunking on their website, they demanded a public debate, a favorite ploy of cranks everywhere. SBM refuses to play their game.
Naturopathy for allergies (Peter Lipson) Naturopathy is basically a collection of old fashioned medical superstitions presented under a veneer of highly speculative, quasi-scientific assertions. The treatments they recommend for allergies are implausible and not supported by evidence.
Upcoming Talk: Why Do We Make Bad Health Care Decisions? (Scott Gavura) Announcement of a talk by SBM blogger Scott Gavura in Toronto on May 28th.
Epiphany (Mark Crislip) Most hospital infections are preventable. Medicine has instituted evidence-based infection control measures that have saved many lives, and it is constantly self-assessing and trying to do better. There are no similar efforts in alternative medicine, which has never modified any of its practices to improve safety or efficacy.
The story of Andrew Wakefield in pictures (David Gorski) A link to an exposé of Andrew Wakefield’s misdeeds in the vaccine/autism saga in the highly accessible form of a cartoon.