Cancer Clinical trials Complementary and alternative medicine Integrative medicine Medicine Pseudoscience Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

Aromatase inhibitors and acupuncture in breast cancer: Spinning a negative study

Aromatase inhibitors are antiestrogen drugs frequently used to treat breast cancer. Unfortunately, they can cause significant joint pain. A recent study of acupuncture for joint pain caused by these drugs was basically negative, but the authors did their best to spin it as positive. Same as it ever was for acupuncture studies.

Clinical trials Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

More acupuncture Tooth Fairy science as 2015 approaches its end

Several years ago, Harriet Hall coined a term that is most apt: Tooth fairy science. The term refers to clinical trials and basic science performed on fantasy. More specifically, it refers to doing research on a phenomenon before it has been scientifically established that the phenomenon exists. Harriet put it this way: You could measure […]

Cancer Clinical trials Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Politics Science

Does medical marijuana work? The answer is (mostly) “no” and “we don’t know”

My opinion about medical marijuana has been fairly consistent. First, the claims made by its advocates for it far exceed the evidence for its benefit, which is why I’ve referred to it as the “new herbalism.” Of course, it’s not really very new, but it is herbalism in that medical marijuana advocates make grandiose claims […]

Biology Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Science

When what an acupuncture study shows is much more interesting than what acupuncture believers think it shows

Of all the “alternative” therapies out there, arguably the most studied is the modality known as acupuncture. Perhaps the reason is that, unlike homeopathy, which based on physics, chemistry, and biology alone is so implausible that, for it to “work,” huge swaths of well-established physics and chemistry would have to be shown to be not […]