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.


Homeopathy for fibromyalgia: The Huffington Post bombs again (David Gorski)  Dana Ullman, a notoriously clueless homeopathic apologist, has written another article for Huffington Post, this time advocating homeopathic treatment of fibromyalgia. He fallaciously compares homeopathy to vaccination, cherry-picks the literature, misquotes, omits, and misinterprets, uses straw man arguments, and commits howlers like saying Thomas Edison discovered electricity. He uses science-y-sounding language to promote what is nothing more than sympathetic magic.

Dabigatran: A Promising Alternative to Warfarin (Harriet Hall)  A new drug offers to replace warfarin as the standard for preventing blood clots in susceptible patients; its advantages include no diet restrictions, no monitoring with blood tests, few interactions with other medications, one fixed dose for everyone, and it may even work better than warfarin. Dr. Hall discusses its pros and cons, clinical trials, issues surrounding FDA drug approval and Big Pharma, and other concerns, and explains why this “alternative” medicine fits what “alternative medicine” really should mean: a scientifically plausible, evidence-based alternative to an established treatment.

Homeopathy and the Selling of Nonspecific Effects (Steven Novella)  A recent study claims to have found that homeopathy has clinical benefits in rheumatoid arthritis that are attributable to the consultation process rather than to the homeopathic remedy. What they really found is that homeopathy didn’t work, and their results were confounded by all the non-specific effects that result from the interactions of provider and patient rather than from any physiologic response to the treatment. Homeopathy can’t claim these non-specific effects as unique to their consultation process.

The DC as PCP? (Jann Bellamy) The Council on Chiropractic Education plans to eliminate the word “subluxation” and the phrase “without drugs or surgery” from its accreditation standards. New Mexico’s “Chiropractic Advanced Practice” will allow selected chiropractors to prescribe drugs. Chiropractors are campaigning for the right to practice primary care medicine – but their level of training is woefully inadequate for that purpose.

Nosodes Redux: “I hate those meeces to pieces!” (Mark Crislip) A humorous analysis of a useless, poorly conceived study that killed 142 innocent mice to test whether homeopathic nosodes could protect against leptospirosis infection. They can’t, but vaccination can; we knew that. Homeopathy is based totally on fantasy; it requires belief in magic and constitutes a cultural delusion.