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.  

SANE Vax adopts Dr. Hanan Polansky’s “microcompetition” as its own. Hilarity ensues. (David Gorski) After DNA fragments were reportedly discovered in HPV vaccine, anti-vaccine groups raised irrational alarms. Now they are claiming that Dr. Polansky’s hypothesis about microcompetition (derived with the help of his invention, Computer Intuition!) supports their fears. It doesn’t: Dr. Gorski explains why.  

Re-thinking the Annual Physical (Harriet Hall) Medical groups no longer advise annual checkups for healthy adults. The ritual of the physical exam itself is mostly useless, and early detection of disease doesn’t necessarily improve outcomes. A periodic health interview makes more sense, with preventive medicine advice, blood pressure checks, and carefully chosen screening tests as recommended by the USPSTF.  

Social Anxiety - There’s an App for That? (Steven Novella) Smartphone apps are available for an anxiety treatment technique called cognitive bias modification. This may have potential, but evidence of effectiveness is lacking.  

Informed Consent and CAM: Truth Not Optional (Jann Bellamy) CAM claims to be patient-centered; but in practice it fails to protect patient autonomy, withholding information from the patient. A CAM or integrative medicine provider has a legal and ethical duty to disclose scientific implausibility and lack of efficacy as a part of the informed consent process.  

Perpetual Motion: More on the Bravewell Report (Mark Crislip) The Bravewell Report on integrative medicine advocates integrating fantasy with reality. Truth matters. Medicine should be based on the best approximation of reality that the scientific method can provide, not on questionable beliefs or considerations of popularity and profit. Flexner (who fought to eliminate non-science-based medical schools) must be spinning in his grave.