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.
Did a high ranking whistleblower really reveal that the CDC covered up proof that vaccines cause autism in African-American boys? (David Gorski)
Anti-vaccine sources erupted over reports that a whistleblower had confessed to fraud in the CDC, saying that when he and his co-authors published a study 10 years ago, they covered up a link between the MMR vaccine and autism in a subgroup of African-American boys. Anti-vaccine activist Brian Hooker published a flawed, questionable re-analysis of the data. We don’t yet know the whole story, but this appears to be just an ideological tempest in a teacup; and it does nothing to change the scientific consensus on vaccines.
Diet Cults vs. Science-Based Healthy Eating (Harriet Hall)
In his book Diet Cults, Matt Fitzgerald argues that science has established quite definitively that there is no one healthiest diet: humans evolved to adapt and thrive on a variety of diets. He debunks the Paleo and other popular diets and shows that their advocates are swayed by emotional and moral influences. He proposes an informal diet guide consisting of a hierarchy of healthier-to-less healthy foods that is flexible, accommodates individual preferences, and that most nutrition experts would endorse based on the best available evidence we have at this point.
Bad Science Journals (Steven Novella) Open-access online journals charge the author to publish. Some of them are fraudulent, falsely representing themselves as peer-reviewed and trading on the reputation of journals formerly published in print. Half of the dubious journals accepted a bogus nonsense article for publication.
Naturopathy vs. Science: Facts Edition (Scott Gavura) A comparison of naturopathy websites and Wikipedia entries on subjects like homeopathy, adrenal fatigue, candidiasis, and black cohosh is illuminating. Naturopaths claim to base their practice on scientific principles; but it is obvious that they endorse many non-science-based diagnoses and treatments and are often openly antagonistic to science, even saying the scientific method is not applicable to what they do.
A Touch to Fear: Chiropractic and the Newborn Baby (Clay Jones)
Some chiropractors treat newborns and consider themselves qualified to act as pediatric primary care providers. A chiropractor described what he did when called by a midwife to treat a fussy baby right after a home birth. His incompetence was obvious, and the outcome could well have been disastrous. Chiropractors do not have the training to evaluate newborns; chiropractic “adjustments” of newborns are never indicated and could be dangerous.