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.
The “CDC whistleblower saga”: Updates, backlash, and (I hope) a wrap-up (David Gorski) Whistleblower William Thompson alleged CDC malfeasance in withholding data from a vaccine study. The CDC has now issued a statement, and Hooker’s paper re-analyzing the data has been removed from the public domain because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions. Anti-vaccine activists are leaking documents and issuing threats, and much remains to be explained; but the CDC conspiracy theory is implausible and not supported by the evidence.
The Unpersuadables (Harriet Hall) A new book by Will Storr investigates why some people irrationally reject information showing their beliefs are false. Our brains systematically deceive us with illusions and errors in thinking; we create models of reality and try to explain away anything that doesn’t match. We are inherently fonder of stories than of science. Being unpersuadable is an evolved human characteristic; we must learn to overcome the limitations of our prehistoric brains.
CAM and Headaches (Steven Novella) A recent editorial about the treatment of headaches propagates many misconceptions about CAM. It exaggerates CAM’s popularity, blurs the line between CAM and scientific medicine by including things like exercise, pretends that “Western” medicine is just an arbitrary historical choice, and tries to justify CAM modalities that have been disproven.
Chiropractic “pediatrics” firmly in the anti-vaccination camp (Jann Bellamy) Anti-vaccine speakers have been invited to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s upcoming conference. The chiropractic position on vaccines ranges from virulently anti-vaccination to tepid support from a minority. It is scary to think they are promoting themselves as primary care physicians and pediatricians.
Ebola SCAMS (Mark Crislip) Some homeopaths are telling people how to make their own Ebola remedy at home, starting with body fluids from an infected person. Others offer an MP3 file of homeopathic remedy energy. Nano silver is another alleged remedy. This kind of lunacy capitalizes on fears of Ebola and could lead to fatal consequences.