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.  

Bleaching away what ails you (David Gorski) The so-called “Miracle Mineral Supplement” or MMS is claimed to treat everything from HIV to brain cancers. It is 28% sodium chlorite in distilled water, and it forms chlorine dioxide in the body, equivalent to industrial-strength bleach. Autism quacks are now subjecting autistic children to this nasty industrial chemical.  

“How do you feel about Evidence-Based Medicine?” (Harriet Hall) In an online discussion, medical doctors answered that question in ways that revealed an appalling misunderstanding of science, for instance “Experience trumps EBM.” EBM has its problems, but it is clearly superior to personal experience, intuition, or any other method of determining which treatments are safe and effective.  

Reporting Preliminary Findings (Steven Novella) Small pilot studies are useful in directing further research, but no firm conclusions can be based on them. Press releases for such studies can result in patients making medical decisions on faulty information. Press releases should be discouraged, and journals should clearly identify findings as preliminary.  

POM: Not So Wonderful (Jann Bellamy) “POM Wonderful” is a brand of pomegranate juice marketed at a high price with misleading advertising implying effectiveness for various health conditions. A cease and desist order has been issued because of their deceptive trade practices. In future, any claims must be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence meeting accepted standards and reflecting the entire body of knowledge. The cat and mouse game of case-by-case litigation could be avoided by passing laws with clearer, enforceable regulatory standards.  

There’s an app for that?!? (Mark Crislip) A new smart phone app applies computerized pattern recognition to the tongue to identify the ZHENG state, a concept from traditional Chinese tongue diagnosis. Other apps are available for every SCAM from homeopathy to naturopathy. There is no app for science-based medicine.