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.
The problem with preclinical research? Or: A former pharma exec discovers the nature of science (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-problem-with-preclinical-research/ A recent article condemned the quality of current preclinical research. Science is messy but self-correcting: the process involves publishing results on the frontier of science, some of which are later disproven. Preclinical research can be improved, but blanket condemnation is unwarranted.
Chiropractors as Family Doctors? No Way! (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/chiropractors-as-family-doctors-no-way/ Recent proposals to utilize chiropractors as primary care providers are misguided. Chiropractors are not equipped to fill that role safely or effectively.
Hypnotherapy For Pain and Other Conditions (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/hypnotherapy-for-pain-and-other-conditions/ Hypnosis is hard to define and even harder to study. It’s hard to tell whether positive studies are due to anything specific about hypnosis or to placebo and non-specific effects from the therapeutic interaction. Neuroimaging techniques might eventually offer some insight.
Gold mine or dumpster dive? A closer look at adverse event reports (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/gold-mine-or-dumpster-dive-a-closer-look-at-adverse-event-reports/ There are various systems for reporting adverse events from drugs, but they are flawed in many ways. They have the potential to provide early warnings, but they are indiscriminate and provide a numerator without a denominator. Their data are frequently misinterpreted. They can only identify possible correlations; attributing true correlation or causation requires further study.
Consumer Reports and Alternative Therapies (Donald Marcus) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/consumer-reports-and-alternative-therapies/ Consumer Reports and its Health Newsletter have a double standard. They give sound advice about nutrition and medicine, but their recommendations for alternative therapies are unreliable. They relax their standards and accept lower levels of evidence for the efficacy and safety of alternative therapies, likely because they use consultants who are biased advocates of alternative and integrative medicine.