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.
A truly homeopathic defense of homeopathy (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/homeopathy-as-nanoparticles/ A review article by Iris Bell attempts to defend homeopathy and show how it might work through nanoparticles. The research she cites is a joke, and her reasoning is a meaningless word salad.
Storytelling in Medicine (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/storytelling-in-medicine/ Anecdotal evidence is unreliable, but patient stories have a role in medical education. Putting a face to a diagnosis serves as a memory aid and a hook to hang the rest of our knowledge on. A book by Paul Griner illuminates important issues in medicine by relating stories from his decades of practice.
Brain-Machine Interface (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/brain-machine-interface/ There are exciting developments in the emerging field of brain-machine interfaces. Scalp electrodes or electrodes implanted in the brain have allowed patients to control a robotic arm by their thoughts. We can expect real-world applications as this technology is refined.
Bodytalk: Medical theater (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/bodytalk-medical-theater/ TED HQ has advised Tedx organizers to vet prospective speakers to ensure content grounded in evidence. They provide guidelines to recognize bad science and pseudoscience. Bodytalk is an energy-healing practice that is a good example of pseudoscientific health theater, appearing to do something but not accomplishing anything substantive.
Fever Phobia (Clay Jones) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/fever-phobia/ Parents are overly concerned about the level of fever in sick children. They fear seizures and brain damage, and feel obligated to treat fevers with antipyretics. Fever is a sign of disease; but the fever itself is harmless and treatment should be based on patient comfort, not on thermometer readings.