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.
The antivaccine movement and “autism biomed” versus “outgrowing” autism (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-antivaccine-movement-and-autism-biomed-versus-outgrowing-autism/ Autism is a condition of developmental delay, not of developmental stasis. Some children continue to develop to the point that they no longer meet the criteria for the diagnosis and may be considered “cured.” The cures ascribed to so-called “autism biomed” interventions may have nothing to do with the treatments; they may be falsely taking credit for improvements that would have occurred anyway in the natural course of things.
Support Cancer Research and Own a Piece of the SkepDoc’s Handiwork (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/support-cancer-research-and-own-a-piece-of-the-skepdocs-handiwork/The SkepDoc donated an afghan she had knit to the auction run by Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients to raise funds for legitimate cancer research and challenge the infamous Stanislaw Burzynski to match the funds. Auction is now over, but it brought in $510. Donations can still be made at http://www.crowdrise.com/fightchildhoodcancer/
doTERRA: Multilevel Marketing of Essential Oils (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/doterra-multilevel-marketing-of-essential-oils/ A new company is selling essential oils though a multilevel marketing scheme that allows distributors to make health claims that the company can’t legally make in its advertising, to charge elevated prices, and to coerce customers into buying ineffective products. There’s no good evidence to support the use of essential oils for health purposes, and MLM sales tactics are deceptive.
Pandemrix and Narcolepsy (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/pandemrix-and-narcolepsy/ One brand of flu vaccine, Pandemrix, was associated with an increase in the incidence of narcolepsy in Finland and Sweden. A causal link is plausible but not proven. Use of Pandemrix was suspended. This has no relevance to the use of other flu vaccines.
The DC as PCP? The battle continues (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-dc-as-pcp-the-battle-continues/ Chiropractors who are trying to rebrand themselves as primary care providers want to expand their scope of practice to include prescribing drugs. They attempted an end-run around regulations in Colorado and failed. The battle is ongoing in New Mexico, and other states are considering legislation.
One Flu Into the Cuckoo’s Nest (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/one-flu-into-the-cuckoos-nest/ Influenza is currently going gangbusters, and unfortunately the value of immunizations is being misrepresented. Flu vaccine works. The only question is about the magnitude of the effect and whether the effect is worth the expense. Public health considerations are more important than individual protection.
An Age of Endarkenment? The American Veterinary Medical Association and Homeopathy (Brennen McKenzie) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/age-of-endarkenment/ AMVA policy is that practices that are ineffective should be discarded, but they have never actually discarded anything. A resolution was submitted to reject homeopathy, but they only referred it to committee instead of endorsing it. The victories of the Age of Enlightenment seem evanescent, and we are still rolling those Sisyphean boulders up the hill.