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 update: Why is the release of the Burzynski sequel being delayed? (David Gorski) The second movie about Burzynski and his antineoplaston cancer treatments has been delayed, supposedly due to an international distribution deal, and pre-orders for the movie are no longer being taken, “due to high demand.” Dr. Gorski speculates that there might be another explanation: one of the patients featured in the movie as a success story has stopped posting her latest scan results, and a recent video shows facial asymmetry, suggesting that her brain tumor has continued to grow.  

Bogus Electrodermal Testing Devices and the Failure of Regulators to Act (Harriet Hall) In electrodermal diagnosis, a biofeedback device is connected to a computer to diagnose non-existent health problems and recommend treatments with homeopathic remedies and other useless products. Users claims that the machines are FDA approved; they aren’t. They are clearly bogus and illegal, and regulators have the authority to eliminate them, but they have acted only sporadically and ineffectively.  

Clinical Decision Making: Part I (Steven Novella) The first in a series of articles that will explore how doctors think in clinical situations. It’s not always possible to make a specific diagnosis, but doctors can rule out everything bad, understand the phenomenology as best they can, then treat symptomatically. The reality of the diagnostic process is a far cry from what is depicted on the Dr. House show.  

Legislative Alchemy: Acupuncture and Homeopathy 2013 (Jann Bellamy) An update on proposed legislation in various states that would affect the practice of acupuncture and homeopathy. CAM providers will keep trying until they get their way. To prevent that, concerned citizens must be more proactive in fighting back.  

Acupuncture and Allergic Rhinitis: Another Opportunity for Intellectual Sterility (Mark Crislip) Dr. Crislip reviews the conceptual framework that underlies science-based medicine, then critiques a recent study of acupuncture for allergic rhinitis. Its methods are so seriously flawed that any effects found are likely due to noise and bias. The authors themselves say improvements may not be clinically significant, yet an accompanying editorial touts the study as lending “compelling support” to the effectiveness of real-world acupuncture.