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.  

Can we finally just say that acupuncture is nothing more than an elaborate placebo? (David Gorski) A further analysis of the acupuncture meta-analysis reviewed last week by Dr. Novella. The results were not clinically significant; and rather than showing that acupuncture works, its findings actually strongly suggest that any effect of acupuncture is due to nonspecific/placebo effects and that the positive studies are due to residual biases.  

The problem of waning pertussis immunity (David Gorski) Recent outbreaks of pertussis don’t mean that the vaccine doesn’t work, only that immunity fades over time. It’s essential to fully implement current DTaP vaccine recommendations while better vaccines and strategies are being developed.  

Procera AVH: A Pill to Restore Memory (Harriet Hall) A step-by-step investigation and deconstruction of a typical diet supplement, a mixture of natural medicines claimed to restore defective memory just as eyeglasses restore defective visual acuity. Deceptive advertising is used to promote a product with no evidence of efficacy.  

The Sweetener Wars – HFCS Strikes Back (Steven Novella) High fructose corn syrup is not the villain it is commonly believed to be. The scientific evidence shows that HFCS is no worse than other sources of sugar and calories.  

Physicians and “CAM” (Jann Bellamy) Several states have laws governing CAM practice by licensed physicians. The different laws and the model guidelines of the Federation of State Medical Boards are discussed, including the problematic requirement that the treatments used be “effective.”  

Protect Yourself (Mark Crislip) Dr. Crislip’s annual review shows why flu is bad and flu shots are good. He demolishes the arguments of Dumb Asses in the health care professions who refuse to be vaccinated.