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 favorite tactic of the antivaccine movement: When science doesn’t support you, use the law (David Gorski) A resolution known as the “Vaccine Safety Study Act,” HR1757, currently before the Committee on Energy and Commerce, is intended to bring an answer to the question of vaccines and autism by studying health outcomes of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children. This has already been adequately studied, and there is no legitimate scientific question at this time. The proposed study would waste money and would not put an end to the concerns of antivaccinationists.

Cunnilingus, Michael Douglas’s Cancer, and the HVP Vaccine (Harriet Hall) Michael Douglas has brought the risks of human papilloma virus (HPV) to the attention of the public. The virus can be transmitted by oral sex and it causes up to 80% of oropharyngeal cancers. The HPV vaccine protects against these as well as cervical cancers in women, and is recommended for both sexes. It is a very safe vaccine; myths about its alleged dangers and defects are easily debunked.

Irlen Syndrome (Steven Novella) Irlen syndrome is a supposed defect in the brain’s ability to process visual information, and is treated by the Irlen Method with colored lenses. The syndrome probably doesn’t exist, the research is shoddy, and the colored lenses do not appear to work. It should have been pronounced dead, but it persists as a medical zombie along with other unkillable nonsense like homeopathy and subluxation theory.

Integrative Medicine Invades the U.S. Military: Part Three (Jann Bellamy) Integrative medicine is a poorly defined concept whose central idea is that incorporating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into conventional medicine will improve the practice of medicine. The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command is using taxpayer money to pursue a wild goose chase looking for evidence that this is true. The evidence just isn’t there.

A Different Perspective: Placebo SCAM, and Advertising (Mark Crislip) The preponderance of literature shows there is no placebo effect on any objective medical problem, only a change in the patient’s perspective. Placebos are unethical outside the context of a clinical trial. Doctors are using a form of advertising when they persuade a patient to accept a science-based treatment. Most SCAMs (supplements, complementary and alternative medicine) use advertising to promote useless products for their placebo effects, and they exaggerate what the placebo effect can do.

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