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.
Quackademic medicine trickles out to community hospitals (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/quackademic-medicine-trickles-out-to-community/ Academic medicine is systematically encompassing things that used to be called quackery, lending them an undeserved aura of respectability. Community hospitals feel encouraged to follow their example. Hospitals are even offering their patients such ridiculous, disproven treatments as ionic footbaths and ear candling.
What Would It Take? (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/what-would-it-take/ It has been claimed that a 2 milligauss field emanates from the hands of energy healers. Physics says that’s highly unlikely and even if true would not explain energy healing. A discussion of what it would take to get this improbable claim accepted by mainstream science illustrates how science evaluates any claim.
Liberation Procedure for Multiple Sclerosis ( Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/liberation-procedure-for-multiple-sclerosis/ An update on Dr. Zamboni’s “liberation” surgery to correct alleged chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), which he thinks is the cause of MS. Despite enthusiasm in the MS community, a review of the evidence suggests that the whole thing is a failed hypothesis.
Legislative Alchemy: 2012.5 (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/legislative-alchemy-2012-5/ An update of the status of legislative efforts to legitimize CAM over the last 6 months, covering naturopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, licensing, insurance, and authorized treatments. A number of proposed bills have failed to pass: most developments have been encouraging.
Science, Evidence and Guidelines (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/science-evidence-and-guidelines/ An analysis of doctors’ attitudes about evidence-based medicine, broken down by specialty and presence or absence of nuance. Some falsely think EBM equals rigid guidelines. Applying EBM to individual patients is far from a cookbook exercise, but experience doesn’t trump evidence.