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.
Naturopaths and the anti-vaccine movement: Hijacking the law in service of pseudoscience (David Gorski) Although pseudoscience can't persuade the scientific community that its claims are valid, it can still hope to persuade less scientifically knowledgeable legislators. Naturopaths in Ontario are seeking the right to prescribe drugs, and anti-vaccine activists are trying to "Green Our Vaccines" in Oregon.
The Institute for Science in Medicine enters the health care reform fray (David Gorski) Announcing a newly formed institute to promote science-based medicine in academia and public policy, and its first press release protesting the inclusion of woo-friendly provisions in the proposed health reform bill.
Neti pots: Ancient Ayurvedic Treatment Validated by Scientific Evidence (Harriet Hall) Nasal irrigation with salt water, often employing a neti pot (a jug with a spout), originated in ayurveda; modern science has shown it is effective for relieving symptoms of sinus and nasal infections, although overuse can increase the risk of recurrent infection.
Early Intervention for Autism (Steven Novella) Despite all the distractions from those who believe vaccines cause autism and those who promote ineffective and often harmful treatments, mainstream science is making progress to actually help autistic children. A new study shows that early intervention in toddlers (the Early Start Denver Model or ESDM) can make a significant difference in the lives of these children.
A temporary reprieve from legislative madness (John Snyder) Several states have announced emergency waivers of their own inane public health laws, which ban the use of thimerosal-containing vaccines for pregnant women and young children, who are at high risk and are often unable to get the thimerosal-free vaccines due to short supply.
A critique of the leading study of American homebirth (Amy Tuteur) The premier paper on American homebirth safety claims to show that homebirth is as safe as hospital birth, but actually shows that homebirth has nearly triple the rate of neonatal death for comparable risk women.
Lose those holiday pounds (Mark Crislip) In a post-turkey search for easy weight loss methods, Dr. Crislip evaluates and rejects claims for acai, antioxidants, and mesotherapy and falls back on good old diet and exercise.