"Nobel disease" is a term designed to describe whatever it is that drives some Nobel laureates to embrace pseudoscience or quackery later in their careers. One of its most prominent victims, Luc Montagnier, co-discoverer of the AIDS virus, recently demonstrated that he's still suffering from Nobel disease when he laid down a barrage of antivaccine pseudoscience in Paris earlier this month.
Earlier this month, the Society for Integrative Oncology published an article attempting to define what “integrative oncology” is. The definition, when it isn’t totally vague, ignores the pseudoscience at the heart of integrative oncology and medicine.
Cancer quackery, particularly the false hope it engenders in cancer patients, infuriates me. Earlier this week The Sun published an article suggesting that a form of quackery called the Berkson protocol allowed a mother with metastatic pancreatic cancer to survive unexpectedly long enough to see her daughter married. It almost certainly did nothing of the sort.
Earlier this month, Chuck Norris and his wife Gena filed a lawsuit against manufacturers of MRI contrast agents, claiming that the gadolinium in them had "poisoned" Gena. But did it? The evidence linking gadolinium with the symptoms Gena Norris suffered is, even under the most generous interpretation, quite shaky, and there is no doubt that she has been victimized by quacks.
Last week, the FDA released final regulatory guidance regarding freestanding stem cell clinics. The new regulatory framework appears custom-made to allow the FDA to crack down on quack stem cell clinics. But will it?
Adjuvant therapy after surgery, such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and radiation therapy, has contributed to a 39% decrease in breast cancer mortality since 1989. Unfortunately, a significant number of women decline evidence-based adjuvant therapy. A recent study suggests that distrust of the medical system plays a significant role in such refusal.
Dr. David Brownstein is a "holistic" family practice physician in my area. Consistent with being "holistic," he is antivaccine to the core. That's why he's unhappy with the recent CDC recommendation that adults over 50 receive the new shingles vaccine. He thinks he's found a clever argument to show it doesn't work. Unfortunately, his argument only reveals his bias and misunderstanding.
Two years ago, I took note of an "energy healer" named Charlie Goldsmith and an incredibly poor "clinical trial" being touted as evidence of his healing abilities. It now turns out that Goldsmith is following a trail blazed by celebrity psychic Tyler Henry and has his own TV show on TLC. His claims are no more plausible or supported by evidence now than they were then.
Last week, the results of ORBITA were published. This clinical trial tested coronary angioplasty and stenting versus optimal medical management in patients with single-vessel coronary artery disease. It was a resoundingly negative trial, meaning that adding stenting to drug management didn’t result in detectable clinical improvement. What was distinctive about this trial is that it used a sham procedure (i.e., placebo) control, which few trials testing surgery or a procedure use. The results of ORBITA emphasize how important sham procedure controls are, whenever they can be ethically used, and how resistant physicians can be to change.