Professor Fabrizio Benedetti is the most famous and almost certainly also the most influential researcher investigating the physiology of placebo effects. In a recent commentary, he asks whether placebo research is fueling quackery, as quacks co-opt its results. The answer to that question is certainly yes. A better question is: How do supporters of science counter the placebo narrative promoted by quacks, in which placebos represent the “power of the mind to heal the body”?
I've written twice before about German alternative medicine cancer clinics, the quackery they ply, and how they take advantage of desperate cancer patients. Finally, in a disturbing report a journalist has investigated what one of these clinics (Hallwang) does and how such clinics can continue to operate.
More and more, alternative medicine practitioners are offering unproven, almost certainly ineffective, and potentially dangerous stem cell therapies. How are they doing it?
As you probably noticed, I didn’t manage a post yesterday. Nor did I manage one today, other than this. That’s because I was busy preparing for QEDCon, where I will be on a panel and giving a talk, and, of course, putting together my talk. As I write this, I’m horrendously jet lagged; so I probably couldn’t write much that’s coherent anyway. Consequently, there likely won’t be any new posts until next week. I will take a moment, however, to mention that there will be significant changes to this blog in the near future. It’s a process that will likely …
By definition, alternative medicine has not been shown to be effective or has been shown to be ineffective. Thus, alternative medicine is ineffective against cancer and can best be represented as either no treatment at all or potentially harmful treatment. It is thus not surprising that cancer patients who choose alternative medicine have a higher risk of dying from their cancer. A new study confirms this conclusion yet again.
Orac finds it necessary and desirable to take a break to contemplate a black hole and recharge his Tarial cells. Here's what will happen in his absence (not much).
It's been a bad week for the Gray Lady in the science department. Hot off the heels of hiring a climate science denier for its op-ed section, it's published a credulous article that uncritically touts a book full of dubious alternative medicine testimonials.
I must admit that the last couple of weeks have been rather grim here on the old blog. Betweemn Donald Trump’s White House spewing , an unfortunate patient embracing quackery, pseudoscience at the VA, and more. So it is that I feel as though it might not be a bad idea to step back for a day, to look into an acupuncture “study” that’s been making the rounds in the media. Oddly enough, I remember it showing up a week ago and meant to discuss it then. So I’m glad that I saw a new news story on it in …
Kellyanne Conaway inadvertently gave us one of the most descriptive terms ever: Alternative facts. Alternative medicine is a lot like alternative facts in that it is unmoored from reality. Like alternative facts, it can also kill.
A characteristic of real doctors and real health care providers is that they usually don’t sell the drugs and remedies that they recommend. Indeed, physicians are generally not allowed to in most states, as it’s considered a conflict of interest. Also, the Stark Law forbids physician self-referral, which is the referral of a patient to a medical facility in which that physician has a financial interest, be it ownership, investment, or a structured compensation arrangement. The reason why it’s considered unethical for physicians to sell the drugs or treatments they recommend or to self-refer is that there is an inherent …