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.


Mothering magazine: Peddling dangerous health misinformation to new mothers (David Gorski)  Mothering magazine claims to “inspire natural families.” Actually, it and the website are inspiring quackery and anti-vaccination propaganda. Its “experts” rely on anecdotal experience instead of science, support AIDS denialism, and even recommend homeopathic remedies for whooping cough.

The Meaning of Secondary Prevention (Harriet Hall) The term “secondary prevention” is applied inconsistently: according to dictionary and encyclopedia definitions it refers to screening procedures for early detection of asymptomatic disease, but it is often used to refer to what the dictionary calls “tertiary prevention” in those who already have diagnosed symptomatic disease. Possible misunderstandings might impact patient care; they should be avoided by more precise use of language.

1023 2011 (Steven Novella)  The 1023 campaign is a UK based organization whose purpose is to raise awareness of the actual claims of homeopathy (1023 is a reference to Avogadro’s number). They define homeopathy as “an unscientific and absurd pseudoscience, which persists today as an accepted form of complementary medicine, despite there never having been any reliable scientific evidence that it works.”

The Good Rewards of Bad Science (Ben Kavoussi) Respectable universities are facing reduced funding, so they have welcomed grants for improbable studies in integrative medicine and acupuncture. Funding seems to outweigh the concern for good science. One paper was even retracted by its authors saying they no longer agreed with their published results.

Cranberry Juice (Mark Crislip)  Cranberry juice has long been recommended for the prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs) but the only supporting scientific studies are fundamentally flawed. It probably doesn’t work.