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Autism Bad science Bioethics Medicine Pseudoscience Quackery

Quackademic medicine at the Marcus Center for Cellular Cures: Stem cells for autism

Stem cells are an unproven therapy for autism, but that isn’t stopping Duke University’s Marcus Center for Cellular Cures from teaming with a for-profit stem cell company to market this quackery for big bucks.

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Antivaccine nonsense Bioethics Medicine

To unblind or not to unblind COVID-19 vaccine trials?

Antivaccine alternative health tycoon Joe Mercola claims that the unblinding of participants in the clinical trials of Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines was intended to “blow up the trials” and undermine the science, making it impossible ever to identify long term adverse events. What he’s really doing is deceptively oversimplifying complex ethical and scientific issues surrounding these trials in the middle of a deadly pandemic, all in the service of his grift.

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Clinical trials Medicine Politics Popular culture Skepticism/critical thinking

WTF happened to John Ioannidis?

John Ioannidis is one of the most published and influential scientists in the world, someone whose skewering of bad medical research we at SBM have frequently lauded over the years. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Since then, Prof. Ioannidis has been publishing dubious studies that minimize the dangers of the coronavirus, shown up in the media to decry “lockdowns,” and, most recently, “punched down”, attacking a graduate student for having criticized him. What happened? Did Prof. Ioannidis change, or was he always like this and I just didn’t see it? Either way, he’s a cautionary tale of how even science watchdogs can fall prey to hubris.

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Clinical trials Medicine Science Skepticism/critical thinking

A blast from the early pandemic past: Healight to treat COVID-19

In April, I wrote about Healight, a device intended to treat COVID-19 by shining UV light directly into the lungs of patients on a ventilator. Its creators have finally published a clinical study. Unfortunately, it is…underwhelming.

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Antivaccine nonsense Bad science Medicine Skepticism/critical thinking

Why is Peter Doshi still an editor at The BMJ?

Peter Doshi is at least borderline antivaccine and has been casting doubt on vaccine efficacy since 2009. Earlier this month, he posted a badly flawed “analysis” casting doubt on the efficacy of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Why does The BMJ still employ him?