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.
On humility, confidence, and science-based surgery (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/on-humility-confidence-and-science-based-surgery/ Cranks and quacks lack humility and have confidence without knowledge. Surgeons must balance confidence in their ability with humility in the face of disease and uncertain science. Humility can become halting indecision and confidence can become reckless arrogance. An exploration of how hard it is to strike the right balance.
Meet Your Microbes: uBiome Offers New Service (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/meet-your-microbes-ubiome-offers-new-service/ The microbial cells on and in your body outnumber your own cells 10:1. uBiome offers to test their genome: your microbiome. At our current state of knowledge, we don’t know what that information means: its value as a personal medical test is questionable. They plan to do use the information for research, but that’s problematic because data-gathering is unsystematic, limited to volunteers with money to spend.
Auditory Integration Training (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/auditory-integration-training/ The Tomatis Method of auditory integration training promises to treat a variety of conditions, but the only evidence of effectiveness comes from small, flawed studies. It may be plausible for certain language disorders, but its use for other conditions is implausible and goes beyond the evidence.
Six reasons CAM practitioners should not be licensed (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/six-reasons-cam-practitioners-should-not-be-licensed/ Licensing health care providers is intended to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Licensing CAM practitioners actually does just the opposite. It’s a bad idea, for the six reasons that are explained here. Licensing statutes should be based on a single, science-based standard of care.
Homeopathy Ramblings (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/homeopathy-ramblings/ In any SCAM index, homeopathy would win the highest rank. Homeopathy is not only implausible, it is wackaloon impossible. Supposed explanations based on quantum theory are gibberish. And it’s not even harmless: a recent survey found published accounts of 1159 people who suffered adverse effects, from allergic reactions to fatalities.