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.
The Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy: Equivocal as Predicted (Kimball Atwood) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-trial-to-assess-chelation-therapy-equivocal-as-predicted/ The NIH-sponsored chelation trial confusingly reported a slight overall advantage but no advantage for death, heart attack, stroke, coronary revascularization surgery, or hospitalization for angina. The benefit was limited to diabetic subjects. The results were marred by incomplete data and other serious flaws. The researchers themselves said it did not constitute evidence to recommend chelation treatment. The study was unethical, and publishing it would violate international medical journal requirements that honor the Helsinki Declaration.
The result of the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT): As underwhelming as expected (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-result-of-the-trial-to-assess-chelation-therapy-tact-as-underwhelming-as-expected/ The TACT study was dubious for a lot of reasons, including the involvement of felons and an inadequate consent form. It was unethical, dangerous, pointless, and wasteful. Despite the spin put on it by chelationists, the results were negative. Acceptance of chelation is a good example of the CAM double standard.
Lessons from the History of Insulin (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/lessons-from-the-history-of-insulin/ Before the discovery of insulin, type 1 diabetes was a death sentence for children. The story of insulin can teach us valuable lessons about the drug approval process, the importance of animal research, the role of Big Pharma, the value of genetic engineering, and the motivation of scientists and doctors. CAM’s questionable offerings for diabetes treatment pale beside the accomplishments of scientific medicine.
Scaremongering to Sell Water Filters (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/scaremongering-to-sell-water-filters/ Water filters are being marketed with false claims that fluoride is toxic and lowers IQ. They misrepresent the evidence and create unreasonable fears to sell their products. Our drinking water is safe without filtration.
It’s time for true transparency of clinical trials data (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/its-time-for-true-transparency-of-clinical-trials-data/ We can’t rely on systematic reviews of clinical trials because negative studies don’t get published and published studies often withhold details. Essential evidence is missing or inaccessible. We know how to fix the problem of data transparency and we need to act on that knowledge.
Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book (Val Jones) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/eat-to-save-your-life-another-half-true-diet-book/ A book that claims to contain science-based nutrition information fails to live up to its promises. It’s just another in a long series of half-true, hysteria-peddling, micro-nutrient-obsessed diet advice books. Warning signs of questionable diet advice are reviewed.