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.  

Epigenetics: It doesn’t mean what quacks think it means (David Gorski) Epigenetics is misunderstood and used by quacks as evidence of mind over matter and the ability of people to re-program the expression of their own genes. Dr. Gorski explains what epigenetics really means and corrects common misconceptions.  

Here we go again: A bill licensing naturopaths rears its ugly head in Michigan (David Gorski) Naturopathy is a cornucopia of quackery. A proposed bill in Michigan would authorize them to engage in a whole list of disturbing practices. We hope this year’s bill will meet the same fate as last year’s: oblivion.  

Gender Differences and Why They Don’t Matter So Much (Harriet Hall) It’s hard to tease out whether a given gender difference is due to nature or nurture. Gender differences are group differences, and averages say nothing about individuals. It is unreasonable to expect that equal numbers of men and women will be attracted to every sphere of human endeavor; we should level the playing field and let men and women choose freely in accordance with their personal preferences and aptitudes.  

Dynamic Neural Retraining (Steven Novella) New knowledge about neural plasticity and brain training is cutting edge science, but it is being perverted to sell brain training programs that are not supported by scientific evidence. Don't believe the hype.  

Legislative Alchemy: Naturopathy 2013 (Jann Bellamy) One argument for licensing naturopaths is that they are already practicing. Why are they not being prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license? Other arguments are based on false assumptions. Proposed bills would license naturopaths where they are not yet licensed and expand their scope of practice where they are already licensed. Legislators need help to understand why these bills should not pass.  

Fighting Back (Jann Bellamy) Jann Bellamy has created a website that collects a wealth of information in one place to help inform legislators and others about how naturopaths are educated, what they do in practice, and what their beliefs about medical care are. It’s called Oppose Naturopathic Licensing! And can be found here  

Honey Boo Boo (Mark Crislip) Typical coughs last for several weeks. They are best left untreated. Over-the-counter cough remedies are ineffective. Flawed studies suggest honey is helpful, but any improvement is likely due to placebo effects.