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.

Fashionably toxic (David Gorski) It’s the toxins! The need for detoxification is a failed hypothesis that keeps resurfacing in the form of “autointoxication,” colon cleansing, lemon juice/maple syrup/cayenne pepper cleanses, chelation, and similar ill-conceived ideas. Unnamed, unknown, undefined “toxins” are the new evil humors and miasmas, and detoxification is the newest fashionable form of ritual purification.


How to Build a Bridge (Harriet Hall) How can science-based thinkers build a bridge to reach people who hold false beliefs and to clarify the misinformation they rely on? Meaningful discussion with true believers may be impossible, but there are several strategies that may be helpful in reaching those who have not yet irrevocably made up their minds.

SBM at TAM9 (Steven Novella) At The Amaz!ng Meeting 9 in Las Vegas (July 14-17) 5 SBM bloggers (Steven Novella, David Gorski, Kimball Atwood, Mark Crislip, and Harriet Hall) will be presenting a workshop entitled “Oh, no. Not Again!: Recurring Themes in Medical Mythology.” We will also be on a Science-Based Medicine panel in the main program.

Oil of Oregano (Scott Gavura) There are 5 main questions that must be answered before we can conclude that a chemical has a medicinal effect in the human body. Those questions have not been answered for oil of oregano; a few lab studies have been wildly exaggerated to promote clinical uses that are unproven, foolish, and dangerous.

Smallpox and Pseudomedicine (Kimball Atwood) In 1948 a naturopathy textbook proclaimed that a good case of smallpox eliminated poisons and was preferable to vaccination. Fortunately, scientists knew otherwise, and they eradicated smallpox forever. Naturopaths, chiropractors and homeopaths continue to recycle nonsense about 3 incompatible true causes of disease (psora, subluxation, toxemia) in support of today’s deplorable anti-vaccine movement.