The Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan has embraced integrating quackery with medicine in its "integrative medicine" program. But what is it teaching its trainees? Unfortunately, I've started to find out.
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.
In Houston, a toddler was admitted to the pediatric ICU at Texas Children's Hospital with a serious case of the measles. Unfortunately, one of the nurses there is antivaccine and blabbed about him on social media. The hospital quite appropriately fired her, but I would go further and say that antivaccine nurses should not be caring for children. Ditto antivaccine doctors.
Antivaxers claim that HPV vaccination causes primary ovarian insufficiency, also known as premature ovarian failure. A large epidemiological study has just shown them to be wrong. As usual.
Over the last few years, AORN and the American College of Surgeons have been battling it out over AORN's 2014 guideline that has increasingly led to the banning of the surgical skull cap in the operating room in favor of the bouffant cap as the preferred surgical headgear. Lacking from this kerfuffle has been much in the way of evidence to support AORN's guideline, but unfortunately that didn't stop the ACS from appealing mainly to tradition and emotion in objecting to 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.
Last Sunday, 60 MINUTES Australia broadcast a story about a very sympathetic girl with cerebral palsy and her family, who traveled to Bioss Stem Cells, a stem cell clinic in Monterrey, Mexico, for unproven "stem cell" treatments. The story was nearly completely devoid of skepticism and played, in essence, as a 20 minute advertisement for quacks. It is one of the worst examples of boosterism and false balance about unproven treatments I've ever seen.
It seems as though I have to write a post like this every year or two, as measles outbreaks keep raging and children keep getting sick and even dying. I feel obligated to "thank" the primary author of this misery, the man whose scientific fraud and other efforts have fueled antivaxers' fear of the MMR vaccine. So thanks Andrew Wakefield. Thanks for the measles. Again. In 2018.
Our old friend anti antivaccine activist J. B. Handley invokes the “vaccines didn’t save us” gambit. It doesn’t go well for him. You could say that he fought vaccine science, but, as always, the vaccine science won.