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.
Brief Announcement: Video of Panel on Alternative Medicine (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/brief-announcement-video-of-panel-on-alternative-medicine/ The recently released video of the panel “The Truth About Alternative Medicine” from TAM 2012 features 3 SBM bloggers.
The “central dogma” of alternative/complementary/integrative medicine (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-central-dogma-of-alternativecomplementaryintegrative-medicine/ A central idea runs through much of alternative medicine: the belief that wishing for healing heals. Positive thinking is good, but there’s no objective evidence of “mind/body” effects on things like cancer survival, and it sometimes results in sick people blaming themselves for their disease.
Andrew Weil’s Seasonal Supplements (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/andrew-weils-seasonal-supplements/ Dr. Weil is promoting a new line of products and a new system of prescribing different supplement regimens for each season of the year. This is good marketing but not good science. It is consistent with Weil’s history of “stoned thinking” and reliance on intuition.
The Power of Replication – Bems Psi Research (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-power-of-replication-bems-psi-research/ Daryl Bem published a series of 9 experiments supposedly showing that future events could influence the present. The many flaws in his experimental methods and his statistics have been exposed, and 3 independent replication attempts have failed to confirm his findings.
Rejecting cancer treatment: What are the consequences? (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/rejecting-cancer-treatment-what-are-the-consequences/ Outcomes for cancer are dramatically worsened by delaying or rejecting conventional cancer treatment and relying on alternative treatments. Several recent studies have demonstrated the magnitude of the harm.
Questioning Whether Psychotherapy and Support Groups Extend the Lives of Cancer Patients (James Coyne) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/questioning-whether-psychotherapy-and-support-groups-extend-the-lives-of-cancer-patients/ The evidence does not support the common belief that psychotherapy promotes survival. A review of the literature shows that well-designed studies were negative and positive studies were seriously flawed.