Here is a recap of the stories that appeared recently at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo in medicine. 

Chemotherapy doesn’t work? Not so fast… (David Gorski) Critics of mainstream medicine keep repeating the malicious lies that chemotherapy doesn’t work, is poison, and will kill you. The reality is complex, because the response depends on the type and stage of cancer as well as on the type of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy cures certain types of cancer, prolongs survival in other types of cancer, and is often effective as an adjuvant and for palliating symptoms


TIME Magazine, Dr. Oz, What to Eat, and Supplements (Harriet Hall) Dr. Oz frequently strays from science and endorses woo-woo on his TV show. He recently did better in print. His article in TIME magazine presents accurate information and unobjectionable advice about diet. An accompanying article is less than enthusiastic about diet supplements. For once the media “got it right.”

Pseudoscience Sells (Steven Novella) There is money in pseudoscience: for instance, worthless “energy bracelets” are being sold with deceptive and frankly ridiculous claims. Current regulations offer little protection for consumers: we are reduced to playing whack-a-mole to get individual false claims retracted.

Caffeine for ADHD (Scott Gavura) Some parents of children with ADHD want to avoid pharmaceuticals and turn to the “natural” stimulant caffeine. Studies of caffeine for ADHD show mixed to negative evidence for efficacy and no long-term safety data. Instead of “go natural,” it’s preferable to “go science” when making treatment decisions.

Dummy Medicine, Dummy Doctors, and a Dummy Degree, Part 2.1: Harvard Medical School and the Curious Case of Ted Kaptchuk, OMD (cont.) (Kimball Atwood) Ted Kaptchuk’s book “The Web That Has No Weaver” received rave reviews. It claims to show that traditional Chinese medicine is as valid as scientific medicine because it is part of an internally consistent thought system, but it fails to show that TCM has any basis in reality. It is full of contradictions, questionable facts, and poor reasoning: there is sophistry in every page.