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.  

Is acupuncture as effective as antidepressants? Part 2. Blinding readers who try to get an answer (James Coyne) This continues the discussion of the flaws in a study comparing acupuncture to antidepressants. The study is junk science; it lacks transparency and its methodology violates the standards of meta-analysis. PLOS journals are perpetrating misleading mischief and propaganda.  

Congress will soon lose its foremost supporter of quackery, but will it matter? (David Gorski) Senator Tom Harkin has arguably done more than any other elected official to promote quackery. He was instrumental in creating the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the Diet Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). He has announced he will not seek a sixth term; recent exposure of his involvement with Herbalife may have influenced his decision. But his absence probably won’t make much difference.  

Worms, Germs, and Dirt: What Can They Teach Us About Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases? (Harriet Hall) We live in a cleaner world than our ancestors. We have less infectious disease and intestinal parasites, but we have more allergies and autoimmune diseases. Some people who believe there is a causal connection are deliberately infecting themselves with intestinal worms.  

Are You Ready for the Oz Manifesto (Steven Novella) Oz is infamous for promoting quackery on his show. Now he has revealed his belief that medicine is a kind of religion, that evidence is unreliable, and that he feels free to pick his own facts. His agenda is an assault on the scientific basis of modern medicine.  

Should you be “Eating Clean”? (Scott Gavura) A new fad called “Eating Clean” is based on a mixture of common sense diet advice and health myths like the need to detox. It includes bizarre beliefs that reveal a poor understanding of science and an appeal to the naturalistic fallacy.  

California Acupuncture Licensing: Sinking Lower in the Slime! (Ben Kavoussi) The California Acupuncture Licensing Examination does not require knowledge of English; it can be taken in Korean or Chinese. A major cheating and corruption scheme was exposed, and once students were deprived of prior access to exam questions, the pass rate dropped by 30% to its current rate of 38%. Californians are seeking “primary care” from providers who lack adequate training in scientific and evidence-based medicine. The Acupuncture Board is a travesty.