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.
Alternative medicine use and breast cancer (2012 update) (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/alternative-medicine-use-and-breast-cancer-2012-update/ New studies add to the growing body of evidence that (1) “conventional” science-based care works for breast cancer and (2) eschewing conventional care can have disastrous consequences. Choosing CAM over conventional therapy not only increases the risk of dying from breast cancer, but it increases the chance of dying horribly.
New AAP Policy on Circumcision (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/new-aap-policy-on-circumcision/ After a multidisciplinary panel reviewed all the published evidence, the AAP announced that the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks. But the benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision, and health is not the only consideration. Since religious and other factors play a part in the decision, they feel the decision should be left to parents.
No Health Benefits from Organic Food (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/no-health-benefits-from-organic-food/ A recent review of 240 studies found no evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious. They may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic resistant bacteria, but there’s no evidence that this presents any significant health risk.
The DC as PCP? Revisited (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-dc-as-pcp-revisited/ The attempt to rebrand chiropractors as primary care physicians is bad enough, but giving them the legal authority to prescribe is beyond the pale. Ill-conceived legislation in New Mexico did just that. Ensuing developments illustrate why it was a bad idea.
Guiding Lights (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/guiding-lights/ A lucid statement of the principles that guide science-based medicine, starting with “there is a reality independent of human existence.” We recognize the limitations of anecdotes, experience, human thought processes, and medical research. We consider prior probability. Finally, “understanding is always tentative and subject to change.”.