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.
An update on the case of Sarah Hershberger: Parental rights trump the right of a child with cancer to live (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/an-update-on-the-case-of-sarah-hershberger-parental-rights-trump-a-the-right-of-a-child-with-cancer-to-live/ The family of the Amish girl who stopped chemotherapy fled with her to Central America where she was treated with laetrile, chelation, detoxification, and natural supplements and is reportedly doing well. The court-appointed guardian has bowed out, arguing that she is not likely to see the child again and that it may already be too late for chemotherapy to help her. Her parents have traded an 85% chance of cure for a high likelihood of a painful death.
Chiropractic Reform: Myth or Reality? (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/chiropractic-reform-myth-or-reality/ The facts behind the accusation that a chiropractor broke a baby’s neck in Australia remain unclear, but there is no evidence to support chiropractic treatment of children. A recent survey of chiropractic practices in that country shed some light on the claim that chiropractic is “reforming” and becoming science-based. A substantial number of chiropractors are clearly still using quack methods.
Measles Spike in US (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/measles-spike-in-us/ 2013 has seen a resurgence of measles in the US – 175 confirmed cases so far. Most new cases are imported from outside the country, and they spread because herd immunity is low in pockets of low vaccine compliance. The MMR vaccine works: the unvaccinated are 22 times more likely to get measles than the vaccinated.
The Council on Chiropractic Education Straightens Up? (Jann Bellamy) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-council-on-chiropractic-education-straightens-up-2/ The CCE is embroiled in a heated dispute among various chiropractic factions over new accreditation standards. The purists want to limit chiropractic to the detection and correction of “subluxations,” while another group wants chiropractors to act as family doctors. Some are pushing for prescription rights and others want chiropractic to remain drug-free. Accreditation has nothing to do with the legitimacy of what is being taught.
5 out of 4 Americans Do Not Understand Statistics (Mark Crislip) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/5-out-of-4-americans-do-not-understand-statistics/ A brief review of frequentist and Bayesian statistics. What does the p value really mean? What is the role of prior probability? Statistically significant doesn’t mean the results are true or clinically significant.