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.  

A surprising article about “integrative” medicine in The New England Journal of Medicine vs. “patient-centered” care (David Gorski) At an integrative health fair a blood test supposedly diagnosed a woman with cancer and she was offered a $6000 course of treatment with intravenous vitamin C. Her MD had great difficulty convincing her that she didn’t actually have cancer. Patient-centered care requires real informed consent, and “integrative medicine” relies on misinformed consent.  

When To See a Doctor (Harriet Hall) How can you decide when a symptom merits a visit to the doctor? Some warning signs demand immediate attention, but minor transient symptoms are a normal part of life. They can sometimes escalate into false perception of a serious problem with the collusion of an injudicious doctor.  An essential part of good medicine is to reassure patients, answer questions, and provide comfort.  

Anti-Smoking Laws - The Proof of the Pudding (Steven Novella) Smoking ban laws constitute a therapeutic trial. Data from various avenues of research agree that smoking bans are effective public health measures that improve the health of the population by reducing exposure to second-hand smoke.  

FDA versus Big Supp: Rep. Burton to the Rescue (Again) (Jann Bellamy) The Diet Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was a mistake. Proposed legislation supported by woo-friendly legislators would further weaken FDA and FTC oversight of diet supplements and would make the situation even worse.  

Help a reader out: Abstracts that misrepresent the content of the paper (David Gorski) A request for examples of scientific papers whose abstracts are misleading.  

The Application of Science (Mark Crislip) Translating research into practical applications is not as easy as it seems. A study showed that postoperative infections are reduced by preoperative screening and treatment for MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Implementing a new protocol to do this turned out to be far from straightforward: unexpected considerations and difficulties arose.