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.
When doctors betray their patients and science-based medicine for money (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/when-conventional-doctors-betray-science-based-medicine-for-money/ Medical boards have been notoriously ineffective in reining in quackery and bad physician behavior that endangers patients. Two recent cases are discussed: Farid Fata, an oncologist who was arrested because he falsely diagnosed cancers, gave unnecessary chemotherapy, and defrauded Medicare; and Abubakar Atiq Durrani, a spine surgeon who was indicted for performing unnecessary surgeries to defraud insurance companies. It was the legal system that acted; the medical boards did not.
Homeopathy First Aid Kits (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/homeopathy-first-aid-kits/ For $54.99, you can buy a first aid kit with 18 bottles of sugar pills that have been impregnated with homeopathic remedies diluted way beyond the point where no active ingredient remains. And you can get detailed instructions on which of the (now identical) remedies is indicated for everything from “fright” to food poisoning, from burns to bladder infections, from measles to muscle pain. Patients who rely on these remedies and the accompanying instructions in emergencies may be risking their health or even their life.
Autism and Induced Labor (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/autism-and-induced-labor/ The way a recent study was reported in the media has raised fears that autism might be caused by inducing labor and by enhancing labor with drugs like Pitocin. The study showed correlation, not causation. There is mounting evidence that autism is largely genetic and begins in the womb, and delayed delivery may be a marker for the underlying cause(s) of autism.
The facts of the alternative medicine industry (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-facts-of-the-alternative-medicine-industry/ Some of the same pharmacists who dispense your targeted cancer treatment are also selling homeopathic remedies; they promote magical thinking and damage the profession. Dr. Paul Offit’s new book Do You Believe in Magic? is a comprehensive and compelling analysis of the alternative medicine industry and the factors that lead consumers to disregard scientific evidence and return to magical thinking. It demolishes myths and names names.
Improperly Performed Acupuncture Linked to Spontaneous Human Combustion (Clay Jones) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/improperly-performed-acupuncture-linked-to-spontaneous-human-combustion/ News report warning patients to avoid unlicensed acupuncture practitioners because incorrect placement of needles has caused unexplained fiery deaths: A satire that pokes fun at acupuncture and at the state of science reporting in the media.