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.
A brief note on killing cancer cells in a dish (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/a-brief-note-on-killing-cancer-cells-in-a-dish/ It’s easy to kill cancer cells in the lab. It’s not so easy to kill them in the human body without harming normal cells.
“Alternative Medicine: Sense and Nonsense” Upcoming Lecture by Dr. Paul Offit (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/alternative-medicine-sense-and-nonsense-upcoming-lecture-by-dr-paul-offit/ A brief announcement of Dr. Offit’s scheduled talk on June 8 at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Coconut Oil (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/coconut-oil/ Coconut oil was once demonized for its high content of saturated fats, and now it’s being promoted as a miracle food. Neither extreme is right. It’s probably safe to use in reasonable amounts in the diet, but there is no credible evidence for the many health benefits claimed for using it as a supplement.
Patient Participation in Decision-Making (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/patient-participation-in-decision-making/ The old model of paternalism has been discarded, but the issue of patient participation in decision-making is a complex one that requires thoughtful engagement. Existing evidence is inconclusive because it’s hard to capture all the nuances in a clinical trial.
Naturopathic organ repositioning coming soon to Pennsylvania? (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/naturopathic-organ-repositioning-coming-soon-to-pennsylvania/ A bill in Pennsylvania would license naturopathic doctors and among other things would allow them to “reposition body tissues and organs.” That is impossible. Naturopathic doctors reject evidence-based medicine. This bill would allow them to provide primary care with the same scope as an MD. There are many reasons why that would be a bad idea.
People Encouraging Turtle Agony* (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/people-encouraging-turtle-agony/ A news report featured veterinarians torturing rescued sea turtles by sticking needles in them (AKA providing acupuncture). Dr. Crislip calls this another kind of “PETA” and explains why providing such fantasy-based treatments to animals is not only useless but cruel.