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.
Steve Novella vs. Julian Whitaker on vaccines at FreedomFest (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/battling-antivaccinationists-at-freedomfest/ Dr. Novella was enlisted at the last minute to debate an anti-vaccine activist (Suzanne Somers’ doctor) who claimed that vaccines cause autism and by 2041 the incidence of autism will be 100% and our children and our country will be destroyed. None of Whitaker’s facts or arguments were valid. Dr. Novella clearly won the debate, easily mopping the floor with his opponent.
Caption this: Dr. Gorski meets Dr. Whitaker (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/dr-gorski-meets-dr-whitaker/ Dr. Gorski invites readers to caption a picture of Dr. Whitaker pointing his finger at a laughing Gorski after the FreedomFest debate. Submissions include “The Emperor does too have new clothes!”
Oxygen Is Good, Even When It’s Not There (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/oxygen-is-good-even-when-its-not-there/ Reprinted from a 2004 Skeptical Inquirer article. A humorous take on over-the-top claims for various oxygen therapies, including ridiculous claims and bogus “scientific studies” for Vitamin O, which doesn’t even contain any oxygen!
Holding the Polio Vaccine Hostage (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/holding-the-polio-vaccine-hostage/ Smallpox was eradicated. Polio would have followed by now but ignorance and politics have interfered with total eradication. Most recently, the Taliban has banned polio vaccination in North Waziristan, holding its children hostage and threatening world health as a political maneuver.
The HCG Diet: Yet another ineffective quick-fix diet plan and supplement (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-hcg-diet-yet-another-ineffective-quick-fix-diet-plan-and-supplement/ Human chorionic gonadotropin continues to be used to promote weight loss even though multiple studies have shown it doesn’t work and despite FDA warnings dating back to the 1970s. Even Dr. Oz recommends it.
The Plausibility Problem (David Weinberg) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-plausibility-problem/ The traditional P-value can be very misleading. Weinberg demonstrates the importance of plausibility in an easy-to-understand graphic format. Even for the best studies, if the premise is highly unlikely, a positive result doesn’t give us convincing evidence that the premise is true.