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.  

Joe Mercola: Quackery pays (David Gorski) Mercola has become powerful, influential, and filthy rich by supporting quackery. Now some of the mainstream media are starting to take notice.  

Does thinking make it so? CAM placebo fantasy versus scientific reality (David Gorski) The “power of the mind” and the “power of placebo” have been highly over-rated. One writer even claimed placebos prove the existence of God! Various forms of mind-body magical thinking are popular; but the mind doesn’t control reality, and placebos have never regenerated a limb.  

Applied Kinesiology by Any Other Name... (Harriet Hall) Applied kinesiology is one of the silliest things in CAM: a bogus muscle testing procedure based on vitalistic “energy medicine” ideas and ideomotor illusions. A chiropractor has reinvented it as “Nutrition Response Testing” and is using it to test nutrient requirements and prescribe individualized supplements. Whatever you call it, it stinks.  

Teaching Pseudoscience in Universities (Steven Novella) A new group in Australia, Friends of Science in Medicine, has been formed to advocate high standards of science in medical academia and to discourage the teaching of CAM pseudoscience in Australian universities. A similar effort spearheaded by David Colquhoun in the UK resulted in removal of CAM courses from universities in that country.  The problem is arguably even worse in the US.  

Antipodean CAM (Jann Bellamy) A trip “down under” revealed a plethora of CAM nonsense in Australia and New Zealand. Offerings included jjimjibang, a kind of heated bathroom therapy, and bioenergetic flea and tick collars for dogs. But there were also encouraging signs of a pushback.

“Obama Promises $156 Million to Alzheimer’s... But where will the money come from?” That’s easy: the NCCAM! (Kimball Atwood) The title says it all. Budget compromises are difficult, but defunding the NCCAM would be a good idea for several reasons.  

AK: Nonsense on Full Automatic (Mark Crislip) A history and description of applied kinesiology reveals just how silly and impossible it really is.  “Tooth fairy scientists” studied AK, but double blind studies proved it works no better than random guessing.