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.
pH Miracle Living “Dr.” Robert O. Young is finally arrested, but will it stop him? (David Gorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/ph-miracle-living-dr-robert-o-young-finally-arrested-but-will-it-stop-him/ Robert O. Young is famous for promoting quack cancer cures and claiming that “the over-acidification of the body is the single underlying cause of all disease.” His answer to everything is to alkalinize. California law permits licensed healthcare providers to practice this kind of harmful pseudoscientific nonsense and Young was only arrested because he was practicing medicine without a license.
Washington State’s Unconscionable, Unconstitutional Child Protection Law (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/washington-states-unconscionable-unconstitutional-child-protection-law/ Washington law mandates reporting of child abuse and neglect and allows parents to be prosecuted for denying essential medical care to a child – unless they are Christian Scientists! The law is clearly unconstitutional, since it gives preference to only one of the many faith-healing religions. And it is clearly immoral, because it denies some children the protection of law and allows manslaughter to go unpunished.
Fighting Against Evidence (Steven Novella) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/fighting-against-evidence/ Edge magazine asked what scientific idea is ready for retirement. Dean Ornish and Gary Klein answered with poorly reasoned attacks on the randomized controlled trial and on evidence-based medicine itself. Science has its limitations, but it’s still the best game in town; it would be foolish to abandon rigorous evidence.
Does treating fever spread influenza? (Scott Gavura) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/does-treating-fever-spread-influenza/ A recent paper suggests that treating fever would spread the flu and lead to more deaths, but it is based only on a mathematical model and speculation. While it’s perfectly fine not to treat a fever, there is no convincing evidence to suggest that you’re putting others in the population at risk if you choose to do so.
Osteopathy in the NICU: False Claims and False Dichotomies (John Snyder) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/osteopathy-in-the-nicu-false-claims-and-false-dichotomies/ A study found that osteopathic manipulation could shorten the length of stay of premature newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit. The results are unconvincing, because the study’s design was faulty, even bizarre. DOs today get a science-based medical education equivalent to that of MDs and they meet the same licensing standards; most of them abandon osteopathic manipulation after they graduate. Osteopathy is a pseudoscientific belief system and there is no justification to continue a two-tiered medical educational system.