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.
Biologie Totale and other bastard offspring of Ryke Geerd Hamer’s German New Medicine (David Gorski) Biologie totale is a French offshoot of a German cancer quackery based on the idea that cancer is caused by psychological conflicts. It blames the victim, and it kills people by persuading them to abandon conventional cancer treatment.
A nutritional approach to the treatment of HIV infection – same old woo? (Peter Lipson) Dr. Jon Kaiser treats AIDS patients with the nutritional supplement K-PAX along with other modalities. His credentials are suspect, he claims an unbelievable success rate, and his published pilot study is not only entirely unconvincing but fails to disclose his conflict of interest as the maker and seller of the product being studied.
Halsted: The Father of Science-Based Surgery (Harriet Hall) A new biography tells how modern science-based medical education originated at Johns Hopkins and how Dr. William Stewart Halsted was directly responsible for the major innovations (like wearing gloves) that created modern surgery. His accomplishments were all the more remarkable in that he was addicted to cocaine and morphine for 40 years.
The 2nd Yale Research Symposium on Complementay and Integrative Medicine. Part II. (Kimball Atwood) The second of a two-part series describing this conference at Yale, covering a debate between Steven Novella and integrative medicine proponent David Katz that highlighted the issue of plausibility. Dr. Atwood further describes his own encounters with Dr. Katz that revealed Katz’s naïveté and gullibility.
Plausibility in Science-Based Medicine (Steven Novella) Following up on the Yale Symposium, Dr. Novella refutes the straw men arguments of CAM proponents and explains what prior plausibility really means, and why it is so important for science-based medicine to consider it.
CAM on campus: Integrative Medicine (Tim Kreider) A report on how CAM was presented to first-year medical students in a mandatory lecture by a respected faculty member and administrator. While he was not an outspoken proponent of CAM, he repeated fallacious arguments and said nothing to discourage even the most ridiculous modalities like homeopathy.
Just the Facts (Mark Crislip) A survey showed that anti-vaccine websites were filled with misinformation and falsehoods, complaints about infringement of civil liberties, and conspiracy theories; only Wikipedia was free of taint. The facts don’t seem to matter much to CAM proponents and anti-vaccine activists.