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 NCCAM Strategic Plan 2011-2015: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (David Gorski) A year ago, 3 SBM bloggers met with Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, to discuss inappropriate funding of dubious CAM research; their efforts were apparently wasted.  The NCCAM’s new plan involves “bait and switch” thinking and embraces various forms of quackery

Ear Infections: To Treat or Not to Treat (Harriet Hall) Doctors no longer treat every ear infection with antibiotics, but they carefully select appropriate candidates for “watchful waiting” and follow them closely. Two new studies emphasize that accurate diagnosis is the essential factor, and it is not always easy

The Flu Vaccine and Narcolepsy (Steven Novella) Narcolepsy was reported to be associated with one strain of flu vaccine in children in Finland. The data are intriguing but problematic; a causal link has not been established, and further investigation is needed.

CAM on campus: Black History Month (Tim Kreider) A university-sponsored celebration of Black History Month included a talk on holistic medicine and an anti-GM (genetically modified) food movie. Honoring African Americans is a laudable goal, but using the occasion as an excuse to promote pseudoscience is an insult. All Americans, African- or otherwise, deserve the truth.

Vaccine Council of Vaccination (Mark Crislip) Opinion-based and reality-based medicine are two world views that can’t communicate with each other because they speak different languages. Dr. Crislip dissects a position paper recently issued by an anti-vaccine group that provides an excellent illustration of this divide.