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.
An antivaccine tale of two legal actions (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/an-antivaccine-tale-of-two-legal-actions/ Andrew Wakefield recently filed an ill-advised libel lawsuit in Texas against the British Medical Journal. In another lawsuit in the UK, a judge reversed the decision of the General Medical Council and reinstated Wakefield’s co-author John Walker-Smith, using the questionable rationale that he didn’t realize he was engaged in research. Contrary to what anti-vaccine advocates would like to believe, those lawsuits have no bearing on Wakefield’s conduct or the validity of his study.
Brief Update: Protandim (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/brief-update-protandim/ The diet supplement Protandim now has a second published human study; but like the first one, it still doesn’t qualify as a clinical trial. It was poorly conceived, subjecting participants to invasive procedures with a convoluted rationale. And its results were negative. There was no significant difference between Protandim and placebo except for one outcome where the placebo group was significantly better!
Acupuncture for Migraine (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/acupuncture-for-migraine/ A new study on acupuncture for migraine prevention illustrates the many problems with acupuncture research. Flawed studies often yield false positive results. Acupuncture doesn’t work for migraine: the needles add nothing to the non-specific effects of the attention from the provider. Recommendations to use it are misguided and arise from a failure to understand a science-based assessment of the clinical evidence.
Adherence: The difference between what is, and what ought to be (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/adherence-the-difference-between-what-is-and-what-ought-to-be/ There is a gap between clinical trials and the real world: patients just don’t take their medications regularly. Improving adherence is a challenge: various interventions have been suggested but haven’t been thoroughly evaluated.
An Appraisal of Courses in Veterinary Chiropractic (Ragnvi Kjellin and Olle Kjellin) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/an-appraisal-of-courses-in-veterinary-chiropractic/ Veterinarians in Sweden are being offered training in animal chiropractic, mainly by two companies in Germany. An evaluation of their curricula shows that they mix science, pseudoscience and fantasy. The methods they teach lack any biological plausibility and are irreconcilable with modern biomedical knowledge.