Last Week at Science-Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Harriet Hall, MD (The SkepDoc)   

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 complexity of cancer: A science-based view (David Gorski) The recent American Association for Cancer Research meeting highlights the difference between hard-core science and alternative medicine: alternative proponents seek simplistic pseudo-explanations while scientists acknowledge that cancer is not a single disease and is incredibly complicated. 

A Report from the Bariatric Trenches (Harriet Hall) The presentations at an American Society of Bariatric Physicians conference on obesity varied in quality from educational to questionable to frankly disturbing. A researcher disclosed that if a study failed to get the results he wanted, he didn’t publish the study because it would “pollute the literature;” and a clinician asserted that it was OK to use a placebo. 

The Other Anti-Vaccinationists (Steven Novella) A moral objection to abortions has led some anti-vaccine activists to attack vaccines on the basis that they allegedly contain aborted fetal tissue. They distort the facts and misrepresent the scientific evidence to support their agenda.  

The Vaccine War (David Gorski) A critique of the recent Frontline episode on PBS on the anti-vaccine movement. It was science-based but allowed some false claims to go unchallenged. 

Bogus Diagnostic Tests (Kimball Atwood) Certain commercial laboratories are marketing misleading tests that are misused by quacks. Bogus tests are sold direct to the consumer as well as to health care providers; test results are used to justify useless and dangerous treatments. 

Dr. Jay Gordon: Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing (Joseph Albietz) First, anti-vaccine activist pediatrician Jay Gordon advised his followers not to watch the PBS show on vaccines, then he wrote an angry letter to the producer complaining that his interviews were not included in the show. Gordon’s letter is a petty, hypocritical rant personally attacking the producer without offering any evidence to refute the facts presented in the show, and revealing that he rejects science and prefers to rely on personal experience and opinions.