NOV
22
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Points of Interest 11/21/2014

SAVE THE DATE FOR NECSS 2015 "We’re thrilled to announce that NECSS 2015 will be co-sponsored by the Society for Science-Based Medicine and will expand to include a third full-day of programming! Friday’s schedule will be curated by the team at SfSBM and feature content available exclusively at NECSS 2015. Saturday and Sunday schedules will once again feature the best of science and skepticism."Photomed Laser Surg. 2014 Nov 20. Laser Acupuncture: Keep It Scientific.. Humor?Miracle showdown!Alternative advice leads to death in NorwayThese Homeopathy Doctors Are Angry They Weren’t Allowed To Treat People With Ebola
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NOV
21
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Points of Interest 11/20/2014

JRSM Open. 2014 Nov 4;5(11):2054270414551659. eCollection 2014. Hypochondriacal attitudes and beliefs, attitudes towards complementary and alternative medicine and modern health worries predict patient satisfaction.J Med Life. 2014 Sep 15;7(3):381-386. Epub 2014 Sep 25. Secret Lanthanides.Self-chiropractic screening "Have you ever thought how do I know if I need a chiropractor? How can you tell if you should even consult one?" Simple answer: you never do.'Homeopathy CAN cure Ebola': Doctors attack 'armchair intellectuals' at World Health Organisation who refuse to let them treat deadly virus with snake venom remedy. Seriously delusional.Vaccine court complete story: Compensation system largely broken, AP findsAn Illustration Advocating Science-Based MedicineAcupuncture clinic closed for improper 'infection prevention' standards
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NOV
15
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Evil Knievel and Homeopathy

One of the spectacles of my youth was the Evil Knievel rocket motorcycle jump of the Snake River Canyon. He thought he was going to die making the jump but he was a man who had the courage his convictions:

Throughout his career (and later life), he would repeatedly talk about the importance of "keeping his word." He stated that although he knew he may not successfully make a jump or even survive the canyon jump, he followed through with each stunt because he gave his word that he would. Prior to the canyon jump, Knievel stated, "If someone says to you, 'that guy should have never jumped the canyon. You knew if he did, that he'd lose his life and that he was crazy.' Do me a favor. Tell him that you saw me here and regardless of what I was, that you knew me, and that I kept my word."

I watched the jump on ABC's Wide World of Sports and to this day I do not know whether to admire him for following through on his word or think him a fool for not backing out. Probably a bit of both.

So I have mixed feelings about homeopaths (MD's at that), going to West Africa to treat ebola patients with arsenic and snake venom. Homeopathy, referred to as a "controversial technique" is in fact fantastical nonsense that cannot and does not have any efficacy against any illness. Still I have to have a grudging admiration for their trip, even if it is based on the most profound of delusions. I sure hope they do not catch ebola and then rely on their own nostrums for treatment.

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JUL
06
0

Hold the Mayo

I did my residency in Minneapolis at the county hospital. Occasionally a patient would go the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for a second opinion, get all their tests repeated and more, then came back with the same diagnosis and treatment plan. We would say if you want a Rochester Sandwich, hold the mayo.

That started my skepticism about big name clinics and famous hospitals. There are good and bad doctors everywhere. Judging from the metastasis of pseudo-medicine into many of the prominent medical institutions in the US, I suspect my bias that these institutions are more interested in income than science-based medicine.

Which brings me to Complementary and alternative medicine from the Mayo Clinic, with the subtitle

You've heard the hype about complementary and alternative medicine. Now get the facts.

Given that they have an Integrative Medicine Department, I was wondering how they would spin 'the facts.' As always in a CAM article, they start with the disingenuous:

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FEB
07
0

Good News of a Sort

CVS, the second biggest pharmacy chain in the US, is no longer selling tobacco products as of October 1. They will lose 2 billion a year in sales as a result.

That’s a good thing for an industry that is ostensibly in health care.

“As the delivery of healthcare evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care,” Larry J. Merlo, the president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

and

“Making cigarettes available in pharmacies in essence ‘renormalizes’ the product by sending the subtle message that it cannot be all that unhealthy if it is available for purchase where medicines are sold,” the company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Troyen Brennan, wrote in a new article in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

And yet.

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FEB
05
6

Bring Out Your Science

Peasant Woman: Well, how’d you become a doctor, then? King Arthur: The Homeopathic Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. That is why I am your doctor. Dennis the Peasant: Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of medicine. Supreme medical power derives from scientific inquiry, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. Arthur: Be quiet! Dennis the Peasant: You can’t expect to wield medical power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sort of.

Good satire can be indistinguishable from reality. The Onion does it all the time and sometimes their articles show up in my feed and I think they are legitimate.

When I saw the headline “Prince Charles tells skeptics “Be more scientific except homeopathy” at first I thought it was legit. It wasn’t. But it close enough to reality that it could have been.

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Recent Comments
Alan
Once you resort to name calling, you have already lost the argument. What happened to the scientific approach? Prove it wrong if y... Read More
Monday, 10 November 2014 17:28
Alan
Once you resort to name calling, you have already lost the argument. What happened to the scientific approach? Prove it wrong if y... Read More
Monday, 10 November 2014 17:28
Guest — Alan
Actually, it is incumbant upon the CAM community to prove that CAM works. Not the other way around. That is the scientific appro... Read More
Friday, 12 December 2014 18:27
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JAN
19
0

People Die. Homeopathy Can Help.

Death probably has more inevitability than taxes. Everyone dies. The question is not are you going to die. You are. The question is are you going to die before you should. Is your death preventable?

There are a lot of reasons why people die prematurely. I spend 95% of my time in in-patient medicine and my sense is a major reason people die is lack of health care insurance. They have illnesses like HIV or high blood pressure and they do not seek care until it is too late to halt or reverse the course of their disease. It is sad.

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JAN
14
0

Cognitive dissonance

F. Scott Fitzgerald said "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."

The Wikipedia says cognitive dissonance is the "presence of incongruent relations among cognitions (thought and understanding) that frequently results in excessive mental stress and discomfort."

I wonder about both: that it is the mark of a first rate intelligence and that it causes mental stress.  In the world of pseudo-medicine cognitive dissonance seems to work just fine. Today I found several examples of cognitive dissonance.

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8303 Hits
JAN
02
0

Popcorn

I found an announcement for a lecture on homeopathy and the speaker is going to give free door prizes as follows:

• An emergency homeopathy kit, valued at $100;

• An international travel homeopathy kit, valued at $165;

• A family homeopathy, kit valued at $250. Harriet Hall has discussed these kits and they contain nothing that could have any efficacy, although I cannot find the exact contents of the kits offered here. That is a serious chunk of change for collection of virtually nothing.  It would make a nice charitable donation or business expense on the tax form.  I wish my water was worth that much, and I drink Bull Run water, best in the world.  I wonder how Oscar would have categorized homeopathic products.  
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Copyright

© 2014

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