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.


 Vaccines work. Period. (David Gorski)  Anti-vaccinationists exaggerate the risks of vaccines and downplay the beneficial effects. A recent study collected an unprecedented amount of historical data (88 million cases) and estimated that vaccines have prevented 103 million cases of contagious disease since 1924 and 26 million in the last decade alone. It offers interactive graphs for each disease. 


Philosophy Meets Medicine (Harriet Hall)  In a new book, Mario Bunge shows that medicine is firmly based on the philosophical principles of materialism, systemism, realism, scientism, and humanism; without these principles, it would be useless. He provides insights about the scientific method and the flaws of both evidence-based medicine and alternative medicine. He proposes a systemic approach to solving problems at the intersection between medicine and politics.


The Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients need your help (David Gorski) A plea to join the campaign to alert Congress to the horrendous research practices of the Burzynski Clinic that were uncovered by the FDA and to call for an inquiry into how Burzynski got away with it for so many years. 


The Seralini GMO Study – Retraction and Response to Critics (Steven Novella)  The Seralini study claimed to show that GMO corn causes cancer in laboratory rats. It was flawed by small sample size, lack of statistical analysis, ambiguous results, a questionable selection of rat strain, and dubious ethical treatment of animals. After an avalanche of criticism, the journal has decided to retract the study.


Beyond the flu shot: A closer look at the alternatives (Scott Gavura) As many as half the population may be using products touted as influenza preventatives or treatments. Most of these are useless or unlikely to be effective. Vaccines are the most effective means of protecting yourself and the community.


Separating Fact from Fiction in the Not-So-Normal Newborn Nursery: Vitamin K Shots… (Clay Jones)  Recently several infants at Vanderbilt University suffered brain damage from hemorrhages because parents had rejected the vitamin K shot normally given to all newborns on the first day of life. A review of the role of vitamin K shows that newborns are deficient in vitamin K and explains why supplementing it is essential to protect them from life-threatening bleeding complications. A single vitamin K shot at birth is effective and safe.