Here we go again with yet another case of religion-inspired child neglect in which lack of medical care led to the death of a child. This time, however, the authorities actually appear to be ready to bring the hammer down on the parents.
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, …
Dr. Kristi Funk is a breast surgeon to the stars in Beverly Hills. She's known for having operated on Sheryl Crow and Angelina Jolie for breast cancer. This year, she published a book about breast health and breast cancer. Unfortunately, it’s full of misinformation and radical advice with little or no basis in science.
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.
Anke Zimmermann is a naturopath in Canada who treats autism who's quackier than the usual naturopath. When last we saw her, she was using homeopathic rabid dog saliva to treat a fear of werewolves. This time around, she presents a "case report" in which she spent two and a half years treating a cranky child with various homeopathic remedies and concluded that her problems were due to the neonatal vitamin K shot. Naturally, that means to her, like any good homeopath, that the correct treatment is vitamin K diluted away to nothing.
Thanks to the Dunning-Kruger effect, many antivaxers think they know more about vaccines than doctors, scientists, and other experts in infectious disease, immunology, and vaccines. It is this arrogance of ignorance that fuels their antivaccine activism and makes them resistant to disconfirming evidence.
We know that alternative medicine use is associated with poorer survival in cancer, but what about the use of so-called "complementary medicine," "complementary and alternative medicine," or "integrative medicine"? Bad news. There's still a negative correlation between the use of pseudoscientific and unproven medicine and cancer survival, even when used with conventional cancer therapy rather than instead of it.
Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a fascinating feature about Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop. In it, we learn—surprise! surprise!—that Gwyneth Paltrow does not like fact-checking. We also learn that the criticism of Goop's selling of pseudoscience and quackery has reached the point where Paltrow has given in and plans to hire a fact checker. Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that it will do no good and that skeptics will have as much work to do refuting Goop's quackery after the fact-checker is hired as we do now.
A few years ago, it was anthroposophic medicine. This year, it's homeopathy. Quackademic medicine at the University of Michigan marches on.