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.
One more time: No, wearing a bra does not cause cancer (David Gorski) The idea that bras cause cancer is a myth that refuses to die. Bras do not impair lymph drainage or interfere with the removal of “toxins.” A new study confirms what other studies have shown: no correlation of bra-wearing with cancer.
The Reality of Ancient Wisdom: Acupuncture and TCM Weren’t So Great (Harriet Hall) An old book by a missionary doctor in China describes what traditional Chinese medicine was really like in 1883-1913. It was prescientific, superstitious, ineffective, and sometimes barbaric. Acupuncture bore little resemblance to today’s practices, and serious complications were common. These revelations serve as a reality check: acupuncture and TCM are evidence of ancient ignorance, not ancient wisdom.
Autism Prevalence Unchanged in 20 Years (Steven Novella) There is no autism epidemic. The number of diagnoses has increased, but the evidence strongly suggests this is due to better diagnosis, changing definitions, and greater acceptance. A new study looked at autism prevalence around the world; it showed no change from 1990 to 2010.
Side effects may include liver failure (Scott Gavura) Dietary supplements are popular and widely believed to be safe. But there have been many cases of supplements causing liver failure leading to death or liver transplant; and harms are likely under-reported. Contamination of supplement products and lack of routine monitoring are worrisome.
Legislating Ignorance (John Snyder) A Florida law prohibits doctors from asking patients about guns in the home. This is unwarranted legislative interference with the practice of good preventive medicine by pediatricians who feel ethically obligated to counsel parents about gun safety along with other accident prevention issues. There is good evidence that counseling has a positive impact on safe storage of guns in the home. Legislation has also interfered with science by regulating the funding of gun control studies.