Science is the most effective means of determining medical treatments that work and whose benefits outweigh their risks. Those who promote pseudoscientific or prescientific medicine, however, frequently appeal to other ways of knowing, often ancient ways of knowing from other cultures, and pointing out deficiencies in SBM to justify promoting their treatments. Do their justifications hold water?
Australian researchers have carried out another randomized clinical trial on acupuncture for in vitro fertilization. Unsurprisingly, it's completely negative. Also unsurprisingly, acupuncturists are not happy and are furiously making excuses.
David and Collet Stephan were convicted in 2016 for failure to provide the necessities of life for their son Ezekiel Stephan, who died of bacterial meningitis after his parents treated him with natural remedies, supplements, and naturopathy. Unfortunately, as a result of their appeal, the Canadian Supreme Court has granted them a new trial. Predictably, they are claiming vindication. The verdict is nothing of the sort. The Stephans got off on a technicality, but this ruling will serve as propaganda for quacks for years to come.
With the rise of quack stem cell clinics, there has been a rise of crowdfunding campaigns to assist patients in paying for expensive stem cell treatments of unproven efficacy. Unfortunately, as a recent study shows, these crowdfunding campaigns nearly always oversell efficacy and ignore potential risks of the treatments, while making powerful emotional appeals.
Proponents of integrating quackery like most traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) into real medicine portray themselves as underdogs being persecuted by big pharma and the FDA. In China, however, the case of Tan Qindong shows that in China TCM is big pharma.
Orac loves to bask in the adulation of his "fans." This time around, one of the old men of quackery, Gary Null, has decided that he really, really doesn't like science-based medicine. That includes Steve Novella, Susan Gerbic, and...Orac.
Rigvir is a "virotherapy" from Latvia promoted by the International Virotherapy Center and, increasingly, by alternative cancer clinics. There is no convincing scientific evidence for its efficacy. That didn't stop its advocates from presenting a case report. Not surprisingly, the case report isn't convincing either.
Last week, the media were awash with reports of the "interstitium," which was dramatically described as a hitherto undiscovered "organ," a narrative that was definitely a triumph of PR over science that went beyond what even the investigators claimed in their paper. Worse, the investigators themselves even speculated that their discovery could "explain" acupuncture and other kinds of alternative medicine, thus providing an opening for quacks to run wild with their discovery, something I expect to see very soon.
Earlier this month, Congress passed an omnibus budget bill that provided a large hike in the budget the National Institutes of Health. Unfortunately, along with that budget hike was an even bigger percent hike for the NIH's bastion of quackery, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. How did this happen?
ICD-10 is a standardized system of alphanumeric codes for diagnoses maintained by the World Health Organization used throughout the world for billing, epidemiology, research, and cataloging causes of death. Its successor, ICD-11, is nearing completion, and unfortunately appears to be taking the “integration” of traditional medicine to a whole new level by integrating quack diagnoses with real diagnoses.