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-woo in medicine.  

Closing out 2012 with a bit of fun: Do you want some quantum with that pseudoscience? (David Gorski) The term “quantum” is used and abused in alt-med. QuantumMAN is a hilarious example, purporting to upload quantum medicines into your brain via computer or smartphone. Its website is suffused with shockingly silly pseudoscience.  

Beyond Informed Consent: Shared Decision-Making (Harriet Hall) The ethical principle of patient autonomy is not well-served by simply giving patients the facts and making them responsible for their own healthcare decisions. Studies of communication and of decision psychology have illuminated the difficulties involved. Doctors can provide direction without paternalism, engaging in a constructive process of shared decision-making.  

What’s past is prologue (Mark Crislip) Looking back at 5 years of Science-Based Medicine, Dr. Crislip reflects on its accomplishments and its development into a precious resource for science-based information and analysis of SCAM. What will the next 5 years bring? We can expect more of same and hope for even more.  

Nutrigenomics – Not Ready for Prime Time (Steven Novella) Personal nutritional advice based on genetic analysis holds promise for the future but is not yet ready for prime time. The concept of nutrigenomics is being exploited by those who pretend to have knowledge that simply does not exist. Just as with stem cells, quackery has contaminated a legitimate field of research, and the word “nutrigenomics” has become a red flag.  

Dr. Oz Doubles Down on Green Coffee Bean with a Made-for-TV Clinical Trial (Scott Gavura) Despite a lack of credible evidence, Dr. Oz has been promoting green coffee beans for weight loss. He did a “project” on his TV show allegedly showing that green coffee beans produced more weight loss than placebo in patients who did not change their eating habits. This unregistered, unethical, highly flawed semblance of a clinical trial was a travesty incapable of proving anything.  

The Great and Powerful Oz versus science and research ethics (David Gorski) Dr. Oz has devolved from a respected cardiothoracic surgeon and researcher into a huckster selling whatever he thinks his audience will buy. He knows how to do good science, as evidenced by his impressive publication record; but his recent TV “study” of green coffee beans violated basic principles of research methodology and ethics. He was in direct violation of his university’s policy on protecting human research subjects, but he is so prominent it is unlikely that they will investigate him.