Quackery has thoroughly infiltrated medical academia in the form of "integrative medicine." So what's worse than Harvard offering an acupuncture course? It might be Duke offering a reflexology and reiki course.
In the US, there is an unfortunate attitude that the parents own their children. When the parents are religious zealots belonging to a church like the Followers of Christ, which believes in prayer instead of medicine, the results are tragic. Unfortunately, we as a society value religious freedom more than children.
Nearly six years ago, I learned of parents who treated their children's autism by feeding them "Miracle Mineral Solution"—or even giving it to them in enemas. It turns out that MMS is a strong bleach. I had thought this cult of bleaching away autism had gone away. I was wrong. Incredibly, parents are still giving their children bleach enemas and tearing up their colons.
There is a type of “vaccine injury” story promoted by the antivaccine movement that is particularly pernicious, a narrative I call “death by Gardasil.” The stories, which use tenuous connections between vaccination against HPV to prevent cervical cancer and the unexpected death of a teen or young adult, are always tragic, and you can’t help but feel incredible empathy for the parents. However, none of these stories constitute compelling evidence that Gardasil kills young people. Basically, antivaxers exploit the grief of these parents and their understandable desire to find a cause for their child’s demise to demonize HPV vaccinations as …
I always love a good crank fight, and we seem to be witnessing an entertaining one, as Leslie Manookian attacks fellow antivaxer James Lyons-Weiler for not being antivaccine enough. Get out the popcorn!
If you want yet another piece of evidence that quackademic medicine, where once science-based medical schools embrace quackery, is triumphant, is needed, look no further than a fallacy-filled blog post on the Harvard Health Blog in defense of acupuncture.
Colton Berrett developed transverse myelitis at age 13 and as a result was left permanently disabled, with significant paralsysis. Four years later, he died, apparently by suicide. Polly Tommy and the VAXXED crew have been promoting the message that it was Gardasil that caused Colton's disease and therefore killed him. When I explained why Gardasil almost certainly had nothing to do with Colton's disease and death, I learned once again how "they" view "us."
For a quarter of a century, quackery and pseudoscience have been integrated into medicine through the construct of "integrative medicine" and into academic medicine in the form of quackademic medicine. Unfortunately, there has been little pushback. That's why it's good to see a recent article in The Surgeon decrying this phenomenon. We need more of this.
Oprah Winfrey gave a rousing acceptance speech while accepting the Cecile B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes on Sunday night, sparking talk of her running for President in 2020. It's time to throw some cold water on that idea by reminding everyone that Oprah is not a force for reason and evidence. Quite the contrary.
In pseudoscience, appeals to nature are everywhere. It’s not surprising, then, that there is profit to be made selling “raw” (i.e., untreated) water at very high prices for its nonexistent health benefits, those benefits all claimed to be due to the “naturalness” of the water. I can’t help but note that cholera, Giardia, amoebic dysentery, and a wide variety of waterborne illnesses prevented by modern water treatment techniques are all very, very “natural."