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.
Angelina Jolie, radical strategies for cancer prevention, and genetic denialism (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/angelina-jolie-radical-strategies-for-cancer-prevention-and-genetics-denialism/ Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a bilateral mastectomy is being criticized, including accusations of “mutilation” and conspiracy theories. She made a rational, science-based decision. Dr. Gorski explains the science and the surrounding issues, including the fact that the BRCA1 gene is patented and one company has a monopoly.
Progressive Mythology (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/progressive-mythology/ A review of the book Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left. There are anti-science attitudes on both sides of the aisle. The authors call for clear, unbiased thinking about public policies based on good scientific evidence rather than ideology-influenced distortions of science.
DSM-5 and the Fight for the Heart of Psychiatry (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/dsm-5-and-the-fight-for-the-heart-of-psychiatry/ The new edition of the psychiatric diagnosis manual was recently released, changing some diagnostic categories and generating much controversy. It depends on lists of signs and symptoms rather than on defined pathophysiology, but it serves as a useful placeholder while science seeks more evidence-based, and more biologically informed categories and diagnoses.
A closer look at vitamin injections (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/a-closer-look-at-vitamin-injections/ IV infusions of vitamins are being offered, mainly by naturopaths, for prevention and treatment of various serious diseases. The practice is not grounded in science, and may carry some risks.