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.

Medical cranks: Why we fight (David Gorski) Videos of presentations from TAM 2013: David Gorski’s and Bob Blaskiewicz’s talks about cancer quack Burzynski and a panel discussion on “Medical Cranks and Quacks” with both of them plus Steven Novella, Harriet Hall, and Mark Crislip.

Revealed by the FDA: The results of the most recent inspection of the Burzynski Clinic (David Gorski) In 2012, when a child died from Burzynski’s experimental treatments, the FDA ordered him to stop enrolling new children in his clinical trials. Now the prohibition has been extended to adults, and the FDA has released a long list of egregious violations found during their inspection. It’s hard to understand why he wasn’t shut down completely a long time ago.

Colonoscopy and Other Colorectal Cancer Screening Options: An Update (Harriet Hall) New data show that colonosocopy cuts the incidence of colon cancer and death from colon cancer by more than half. The pros and cons of the procedure are reviewed and other screening options are discussed.


The Nuances of Informed Consent (Steven Novella) Is it the duty of physicians only to provide information or is it also to steer their patients toward what they think is the best decision? Giving information alone assumes patients are rational actors; they aren’t. Their decisions are affected by the way information is presented to them and by other factors.

Journal of the American Dental Association Falls for Tooth Fairy Science (Jann Bellamy) This once respected journal has gone over to the dark side, publishing a pilot study of chiropractic treatment for temporomandibular disorder (TMJ). In a classical example of “tooth fairy” science, they used the nonsensical “activator” to detect and correct mythical “subluxations.” The justification for the study was a single case report. There was no blinding and no placebo control, the dropout rate was high, and it didn’t meet the criteria for an ethical study.

Irritated by the Skeptical Inquirer. Again. (Mark Crislip) Kenneth Krause’s article in Skeptical Inquirer about conventional medicine was written from the perspective of an outsider. He got his facts right but distorted their meaning and omitted other vital information in order to support his agenda. He accused doctors of secrecy, arrogance, denial, financial motivations, covering up good science, and treating without evidence. Dr. Crislip explains that medical practice is an imperfect, impossibly complicated, but mostly noble profession.

USA TODAY versus Stanislaw Burzynski (David Gorski) In response to a new FDA report of violations in the Burzynski cancer clinic, a major mainstream news source has finally written an exposé of the nefarious doctor and his antineoplaston cancer treatments. It reveals how he offers false hope, how his treatments cause dangerous, even fatally high sodium levels, and how he misinterprets brain scans that show pseudoprogression of brain cancer (actually just a temporary swelling caused by an inflammatory response to effective treatments), and other examples of malfeasance.