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.
Deadly Choices about Vaccination (David Gorski) A review of Paul Offit’s new book Deadly Choices, an excellent, well-researched book that describes the anti-vaccine movement, explains its history, and counteracts the pseudoscience and fear that have fueled it and created a manufactroversy.
Followup: More Evidence against the XMRV Virus as a Cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Harriet Hall) One study found XMRV virus in patients with CFS; subsequent studies have all failed to find it. Now a new study provides several independent lines of evidence indicating that contamination in the lab could explain false positive results in the original study.
Obesity Denial (Steven Novella) Some people deny that there is an obesity epidemic, but the data show it is real. The deniers have been confused by changing definitions that shifted some of the overweight people into the obese category and by misunderstandings about the BMI measurement which is admittedly imperfect but serves a legitimate purpose.
Energy Drinks (Scott Gavura) The newly popular energy drinks are essentially caffeine delivery vehicles with no convincing evidence to support claims of cognitive or athletic enhancement. Some of the added ingredients are useless and potentially risky but probably safe in the amounts used.
“Piltdown medicine” and Andrew Wakefield’s MMR Vaccine Fraud (David Gorski) An article in the British Medical Journal exposes further evidence of overt fraud in Wakefield’s now-retracted Lancet article, the one that started the anti-vaccine movement. Investigative journalist Brian Deer found systematic and numerous discrepancies between the medical records of the subjects and the descriptions in Wakefield’s paper; there can be no innocent explanation.
Of SBM and EBM Redux. Part III (Kimball Atwood) This is the third post in a series, continuing to identify the inadequacies of the tools evidence-based medicine applies to implausible claims and to question the wisdom of efficacy trials for these claims. Part IV will follow.