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.  

Reassessing whether low energy electromagnetic fields can have clinically relevant biological effects (David Gorski)

There is no known mechanism by which cell phone radiation could cause cancer. Pasche’s research on cancer treatment with “tumor-specific” AM frequencies might possibly elucidate such a mechanism. It seems highly implausible, but his methods are those of good science. Rather than rejecting it as “impossible” we should wait to see where his results lead.  

Legislative alchemy (briefly) revisited: Naturopathy in Vermont and colloidal silver (David Gorski)

Proposed legislation in Vermont would position naturopaths as primary care physicians who can serve as a patient’s medical home. The folly of this idea is illustrated by the fact that their proposed formulary includes colloidal silver, which is not only useless, but dangerous. It causes argyria, a permanent disfiguring blue-gray discoloration of the skin.  

An Owner’s Manual for the Heart (Harriet Hall)

Heart 411, a new book by a cardiac surgeon and a cardiologist, is an example of the best of science-based medicine in action. It covers everything about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease and the evidence behind it. It amounts to an owner’s manual for the heart.  

What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine? (Steven Novella)

A recent article defending TCM uses fallacious reasoning and ironically provides an excellent argument for rejecting TCM. It is a pre-scientific superstitious view of biology and illness, and its traditional methods must be re-evaluated using the standard principles of science-based medicine.  

Night of the living naturopaths (Linda Rosa)

Some naturopaths in Colorado have repeatedly lobbied for licensure, while others fear loss of the right to work as unlicensed naturopaths. Regulation is problematic because there is no operational definition of “substandard practice” and because the government has a duty to protect the public from the useless and often dangerous treatments offered by naturopaths such as a homeopathic snakebite kit.  

Placebo Again (Mark Crislip)

Placebo effects have no clinically meaningful application, especially in the world of infectious disease. Placebos can’t alter pathophysiology, and the subjective effects are not clinically impressive. Using placebos requires deception and violates the basic principles of medical ethics.