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.
Science-based medicine throughout time (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/science-based-medicine-throughout-time/ A review of medical history shows how modern medicine has benefited from painstaking scientific discoveries, mainly in the last 150 years. Medicine 300 years ago resembled much of today’s “alternative” medicine. The ideas of alternative medicine don’t change, while the practices of science-based medicine give way as new discoveries are made. Today’s science-based medicine may look primitive to doctors of the future, but that’s not a reason for shame or for abandoning it in favor of any non-science-based system.
Doctors Are Not “Only Out to Make Money” (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/doctors-are-not-only-out-to-make-money/The accusation that doctors are motivated solely by money is demonstrably untrue. Most doctors are committed to doing what is in the best interests of the patient regardless of the effect on their income. As new evidence becomes available, they are constantly changing their practices to eliminate the unnecessary and the ineffective even if it is lucrative. The contrast with CAM providers is striking.
Reverse Aging Hype (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/reverse-ageing-hype/ Many metabolic parameters change with age; studies that alter those parameters are routinely hyped as promising to reverse aging. Aging is a complex process with many interacting threads. No single intervention is likely to have a significant impact, and it might have unwanted consequences: for instance, reactivating telomerase might reverse the changes that occur in telomeres with age, but it would likely result in rampant cancer.
Facebook’s reporting algorithm abused by antivaccinationists to silence pro-science advocates (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/facebooks-reporting-algorithm-abused-by-antivaccinationists-to-silence-pro-science-advocates/ The Australian Vaccination Network found a quirk in the algorithm Facebook uses to process harassment complaints against users and has abused that quirk relentlessly to silence its opponents. Simply mentioning the name (even just the first name) of an AVN supporter is enough to trigger a 12 hour ban, and repeated bans have effectively locked pro-vaccine skeptical activists out of Facebook for as long as a week. Facebook needs to change its policy.
The Detox Scam: How to spot it, and how to avoid it (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-detox-scam-how-to-spot-it-and-how-to-avoid-it/ “Detoxes” and “cleanses” are marketing strategies designed to treat a nonexistent condition. The premises are flawed: our bodies are not accumulating toxins, illness is not the result of toxins, and detox treatments don’t remove toxins. Useless detox and cleanse procedures can harm the body as well as the wallet.
Corporal Punishment in the Home: Parenting Tool or Parenting Fail… (Clay Jones) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/corporal-punishment-in-the-home-parenting-tool-or-parenting-fail/ Evidence shows that spanking children is ineffective, is a risk factor for greater forms of physical abuse, and can negatively impact the behavioral and cognitive development of children in a variety of ways. Advocates of Bible-based corporal punishment have been responsible for several deaths. Corporal punishment remains controversial. It has been banned in some jurisdictions but is not banned by federal law.