Last Week In Science-Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Dr. Harriet Hall   

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.

California Acupuncturists Don’t Need to Know English! (Ben Kavoussi)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/california-acupuncturists-dont-need-to-know-english/ Two state senators have sent a cease-and-desist letter to the California Acupuncture Board directing them to immediately abandon their attempts to institute an English-only exam. Licensed acupuncturists are already endangering the public with nonsensical and often unsanitary procedures, and licensing them when they can’t speak their patients’ language can only lead to several foreseeable kinds of harm resulting from poor patient/provider communication.

Danger Zones of Parental Vaccine Refusal (John Snyder)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/danger-zones-of-parental-vaccine-refusal/ Vaccine exemptions for religious and personal reasons are allowed in most states; they are endangering our public health. Parents mean to act in their child’s best interest but they refuse vaccines for a number of faulty reasons, all based on repeatedly debunked myths.

Sharyl Attkisson and CBS News: An epic fail in reporting on the murder of autistic teen Alex Spourdalakis (David Gorski)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/sharyl-attkisson-promoting-wakefields-narrative-about-murder-alex-spourdalakis/ The anti-vaccine movement has blatantly highjacked the story of the brutal murder of an autistic child to promote its message. The CBS reporter lies by omission and exploits Andrew Wakefield’s visit to the child’s bedside. Activists are doing their best to absolve the mother of guilt for her crime by blaming everything from vaccines to failure of the medical staff to “detoxify” the child.

The future of “integrative medicine” is too close for comfort (David Gorski)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-future-of-integrative-medicine-is-too-close-for-comfort/ An article in The America Journal of Medicine is an apology for integrative medicine that repeats a similar script to other articles, complete with fallacies like the appeal to popularity and the false dichotomy. Its definition of integrative medicine is gobbledygook. In reality, integrative medicine represents the infiltration of quackery into our medical schools and hospitals and is a really bad idea.

Does Everybody Have Chronic Lyme Disease? Does Anyone? (Harriet Hall)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/does-everybody-have-chronic-lyme-disease-does-anyone/ An article by Suzy Cohen on Huffington Post is a fear-mongering piece suggesting that anyone with a long list of nonspecific symptoms could have chronic Lyme disease until proven otherwise. So-called Lyme literate medical doctors (LLMDs) are diagnosing a nonexistent disease with highly questionable tests and are treating patients with long-term antibiotics and other treatments that don’t help and can only harm. These patients are suffering and deserve better.

MMR and Autism Rises from the Dead (Steven Novella)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/mmr-and-autism-rises-from-the-dead/ The National Vaccine Injury Compensation (NVIC) compensates children who have a possible reaction to vaccines such as encephalitis. Anti-vaccine activists constantly misinterpret compensation as proof that vaccines cause autism. Vaccines probably don’t cause encephalitis and may even protect against it; and there is sufficient evidence to show that vaccines don’t cause autism.

CAM practitioners as primary care providers under the Affordable Care Act: Part 2 (Jann Bellamy)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/cam-practitioners-as-pcps-under-the-aca-part-2/ Part 2 continues the evaluation of the effects of the Affordable Care Act. Groups like the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care are promoting the acceptance of alternative practitioners as primary care providers. State practice acts give acupuncturists, chiropractors, and naturopaths a scope of practice that far exceeds their abilities. They are clearly not qualified to assume the role of primary care providers for the “undifferentiated” patient. They don’t have the training or the experience with seriously ill patients, and they can’t be expected to reliably determine when patients need referral for “biomedical” care when they have not had a “biomedical” education.

I refute it thus (Mark Crislip)  http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/i-refute-it-thus/  The most reliable way to understand reality is science and the scientific method. Despite what some people want to believe, reality has demonstrated over and over that vaccines are protective and unvaccinated individuals are at increased risk. When people deny that reality, reality strikes back and communities have outbreaks of preventable diseases