One of the most popular forms of quackery sold by alternative medicine practitioners such as naturopaths is intravenous vitamin therapy, sometimes also called “intravenous micronutrient therapy” (IVMT). Most are variants of a concoction known as “Myers cocktail,” and there is no good evidence that IVMT is efficacious for any of the indications for which quacks use it. Last week, the FTC issued a proposed consent agreement based on a complaint against the company selling iV Bars for false advertising. Here’s hoping this is the beginning of something good.
Helene Langevin has been named the new director of the National Center for Complemenary and Integrative Health. Given her history of dodgy acupuncture research, my prediction is that the quackery will flow again at NCCIH, the way it did in the 1990s when Tom Harkin zealously protected it from any attempt to impose scientific rigor on it.
A study released yesterday has led to numerous breathless headlines in the media about Russian bots on Twitter sowing discord about vaccines by spreading polarized antivaccine and provaccine messages. The stories imply that this is a huge problem. But is it? There's no doubt that this study showed some Russian bots Tweeting polarized messages about vaccines, but, contrary to the news stories, it doesn't support the concept of a widespread Russian effort to stoke conflict about vaccines. It's unclear whether the Russian effort was opportunistic or experimental, but it wasn't huge.
A clinical psychologist named Shannon Kroner invited Orac's alter-ego to a "panel discussion" on vaccines. Let's just say Orac knows a trap when he sees one and didn't fall for this one. However, he thought it wise to write this post to warn other science advocates about traps for the unwary—like this one. Heed Orac's advice!
Richard Jaffe was Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski's lawyer. For nearly two decades, Jaffe defended this cancer quack from the FDA, Texas Medical Board, and the government in the name of "health freedom" and even invented Burzynski's business model of having over 70 clinical trials open that allow him to treat any cancer patient he wants. More recently, he's been a defender of for-profit quack stem cell clinics. Last week, he shocked me by finding one stem cell clinic so quacky that he thinks the government should shut it down, even going so far as to use criminal prosecution if necessary. Basically, …
Infectious disease outbreaks are costly in human and financial terms. An analysis of the 2013 Brooklyn measles outbreak shows just how costly one outbreak can be and how much it can strain already strained public health resources. This is the cost of antivaccine madness.
It may be two days after the 4th of July, but it's never too late to deconstruct a holiday-inspired antivaccine rant about "zero tolerance vaccine laws" by the grand dame of the antivaccine movement.
Last week, we learned that antivaccine pediatrician Dr. Bob Sears was disciplined by the Medical Board of California. It didn't take long for him to take to Facebook to make excuses and paint himself as a martyr to the "vaccine freedom" cause or for his antivaccine admirers to come up with ridiculous conspiracy theories.