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.
Our fearless leader Steve Novella gets the best responses to his posts! (David Gorski) Homeopathy defender John Benneth has produced two videos in which he attacks Steven Novella personally with ludicrous and demonstrably false statements like “he doesn’t have any patients,” makes references to Jews, Nazis, and underwear models, and even uses the N word. He spews lots of amusing crank venom, but offers no evidence that any of Dr. Novella’s statements about homeopathy are wrong.
The continuum of surgical research in science-based medicine (David Gorski) Applying the standards of science-based medicine to surgical research is problematic because of factors like variation in surgical skill and the difficulty of defining whether something is a new procedure that should be tested or just a minor technical innovation. Some new procedures have been widely adopted without proper study: efforts are underway to make surgery more evidence-based.
Taking Control of Death (Harriet Hall) Literature can teach us things about the world that science can’t. Two recent novels provide insight into why some rational people reject lifesaving medical procedures and prefer to die sooner but to die on their own terms.
Our Visit with NCCAM (Steven Novella) Josephine Briggs, the director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), invited 3 SBM bloggers to meet with her and other NCCAM officials. She reads the SBM blog, shares our concerns, and wants to make her organization a more rigorous scientific one. She even offered to have experts from SBM review NCCAM material before it is published on their website.
Looking for quackademic medicine in all the wrong places (David Gorski) Dr. Gorski solicits inputs to update his list of medical schools and academic centers that have been infiltrated by quackademic medicine and are teaching or tolerating non-science-based treatments.
CAM on Campus: Ethics (Tim Kreider) Another report from the medical school trenches describing how integrative medicine was introduced to first-year students. The lecture was misleading, contained fallacies, and suggested that a clinician’s uncontrolled observations should trump scientific evidence.
Outbreaks (Mark Crislip) A description of several recent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illness around the world and in the U.S. that occurred because of falling immunization rates. Vaccines not only prevent individual illnesses, but they protect the community.
In honor of World Homeopathy Awareness Week 2010 (David Gorski) A collection of humorous videos that illustrate the utter ridiculousness of homeopathy, a system of quackery based on magical thinking.
In honor of World Homeopathy Awareness Week 2010, part 2 (David Gorski) What’s the harm in homeopathy? Links to 2 videos describing the harm, including the tragic case of 9 month old Gloria Thomas Sam, whose parents allowed her to die under homeopathic treatment and were sentenced to 10 years in jail for manslaughter by gross criminal negligence.