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.  

Undermining the regulation of stem cell therapies in Italy: A warning for the future? (David Gorski) Stem cell quackery is rampant: clinics offer miraculous cures with untested treatments that may not even contain stem cells. Swayed by arguments of “health freedom” and “compassion,” the Italian government is on the brink of approving stem cell quackery and even facilitating it with government funding.  

GAPS Diet (Harriet Hall) The Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet is a mishmash of half-truths, pseudoscience, imagination, and untested claims. It is the invention of one woman who believes a large number of health and psychological problems (especially autism) are caused by an imbalance of gut microbes. Her claims are not supported by any published evidence.  

SkepDoc to Speak in Portland (Harriet Hall) Brief announcement of a talk by Dr. Hall on May 17 in Portland, Oregon, with a link to further information.  

Enbrel for Stroke and Alzheimer’s (Steven Novella) Dr. Edward Tobinick’s one-man institute treats Alzheimer’s and a long list of other diseases with spinal injections of Enbrel, an anti-inflammatory arthritis drug. His claims are leaps and bounds ahead of the evidence. He is exploiting desperate patients and the regulatory system has failed to protect them.  

Is thyroid replacement a performance-enhancing drug? (Scott Gavura) Dr. Jeffrey Brown sees thyroid disease where others see normal thyroid function. He gives thyroid supplements to athletes to enhance their performance. His unorthodox approach is not supported by evidence, and a review of current knowledge about thyroid disease suggests that what he is doing is unwise and possibly unethical.  

The Sleep Bank (Clay Jones) A satire that pokes fun at bogus medical treatments and at medical reporting. A doctor of Sleepology collects sleep from volunteers with a machine and transfers it to patients to treat sleep deprivation plus a long list of other conditions such as halitosis.