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.
Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s cancer “success” stories (DavidGorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/stanislaw-burzynskis-cancer-success-stories/ The upcoming movie about Burzynski and his cancer treatments relies on success stories, attacks on Burzynski’s critics, attempts to justify billing patients for research, and a mention of a supposed clinical trial out of Japan that has not yet been published. Burzynski’s approach abuses the clinical trial process, and the patient testimonials are not what they seem.
Sex, Gender, and Sexuality: It’s Complicated (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/sex-gender-and-sexuality-its-complicated/ Sex refers to biological traits, gender to social roles. The distinction is blurred because we can’t always tell which characteristics are biologically determined, and there is no either/or test for male and female. Even the XX versus XY distinction is complicated by anomalies like XXY, XYY, XO, and mosaics. Sex, gender, and sexuality constitute a multidimensional spectrum with various axes, biological, social, and psychological.
I Am Not Your Enemy: An Open Letter to My Feminist Critics (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/i-am-not-your-enemy-an-open-letter-to-my-feminist-critics/ Dr. Hall responds to criticism of an earlier article, asks that people read what she says rather than what they choose to imagine she says, and asks that feminists unite on the many things they agree on instead of focusing on divisive areas of disagreement.
SBM e-Books (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/sbm-e-books/ Announcing a series of e-Books that are compilations of posts from the SBM blog organized by topic. The first 3 are on naturopathy, homeopathy, and miscellaneous CAM.
Legislative Alchemy: Chiropractic 2013 (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/legislative-alchemy-chiropractic-2013/ Chiropractors continue their efforts to expand their scope of practice and to get public and private insurers to cover their services. Proposed legislation in New Mexico would promote them to primary care physicians and even permit them to prescribe controlled substances or perform surgery if the chiropractic board approved. Only one proposal makes sense: an Oklahoma bill that would require chiropractors to get informed consent about stroke risk when manipulating necks; it is opposed by the Oklahoma Chiropractor’s Association.
A Final Word: On T-Shirts and Teapot Tempests (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/a-final-word-on-t-shirts-and-teapot-tempests/ In response to repeated requests, Dr. Hall explains why she wore the controversial T-shirt at TAM 2012.
Warts (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/warts/ Does duct tape cure warts? Probably not. Many treatments have been proposed, everything from colonics to dead cats; but warts are a self-limited disease, and the clinical studies are inconclusive and hard to interpret.