Ayurveda: Ancient Superstition, Not Ancient Wisdom
Ayurveda is basically superstition mixed with a soupçon of practical health advice.
Would You Drill Holes in Your Head for Science?
The information that can be obtained from sham surgery trials is invaluable, but it doesn’t always change clinical practices, and many have questioned the ethics of subjecting sham surgery patients to the risks of sham surgery knowing there is no possible benefit to their health.
The Riddle of Consciousness
Consciousness is not a nonphysical phenomenon. It is an evolved user-illusion, “a system of virtual machines that evolved, genetically and memetically, to play very special roles in the ‘cognitive niche’ our ancestors have constructed over the millennia.”
Testosterone Rex: the familiar, plausible, pervasive, and powerful story of sex and society. Testosterone drives masculinity; it allegedly explains all those male/female differences.
The Incorrigible Dr. Oz
Oz has made a reputation for himself as the Television SuperDoctor, but don’t be fooled by his dramaticized remedies.
Ancient Navajo Cure for Hearing Loss: A Lesson in Spotting Red Flags
I’ve been getting emails advertising a lost Navajo remedy that can cure deafness. Nearly 33,500 people have allegedly reversed their hearing loss in just two weeks with this 100 percent natural treatment.
Quiroprácticos: pros y contras
Cuando la quiropraxia es efectiva, lo que es efectivo no es “quiropráctico!: es SMT (Terapia de Estimulación Espinal, TEE)…
Answering Vaccine Skeptics
Here are some short answers to some of the most common objections to vaccines…
Chiropractors: Pro and Con
When chiropractic is effective, what is effective is not “chiropractic”: it is SMT. SMT is also offered by physical therapists, DOs, and others…
El negacionismo respecto de las estatinas
Las estatinas, aunque no son la panacea, han mostrado claramente que tienen efectos positivos -más que negativos- sobre los pacientes en riesgo.
The benefits of statins far outweigh their risks, but public perception has been skewed by alarmist misinformation from statin denialists.
The Vicissitudes of the Egg: From Vilification to Vindication
For decades, scientists have been working their way towards a better understanding of what causes heart attacks and strokes.
Do I Really Need to Drink 200 Ounces of Water Every Day?
Here’s how the eight to ten glasses myth got started…
My Personal Odyssey in Skepticism
It changed my life. I had already rejected religion after reading atheist writings, but I was still open to belief in UFOs, ESP, and all sorts of other weird things, simply because I had never come across anyone who questioned those beliefs.
Pensar claramente sobre el cáncer
Cuando a la gente se le diagnostica cáncer, se vuelve vulnerable y se desespera. Buscan información y esperan encontrar libros de recetas de cocina, relatos milagrosos, medicina alternativa y “curas prohibidas” respecto del cáncer.
Why Physical Activity Does Little to Control Weight
Herman Pontzer describes new research findings that challenge our conventional wisdom about diet, exercise, and weight loss.
Turmeric/Curcumin: The “Natural Remedy of the Century” or a Waste of Money?
Turmeric does have other benefits. It enhances the flavor and appearance of Indian food.
The Story Of The Gene
The Gene: An Intimate History. By Siddhartha Mukherjee. Scribner, New York, 2016. ISBN 978-1476733500. 592 pp. Hardcover, $32.00. Nearly six years ago, I reviewed Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (SI, May/June 2011). It was hands-down one of the best books I have ever read on a medical topic. …
Self-Hatred: The Cause of Autoimmune Disease?
The idea that we can take control of our destiny and can prevent or cure illness with our thoughts alone is a seductive one. Wouldn’t that be nice? I wish it were true.
The Screening Test that Caused an Epidemic
Just because you can screen for a disease doesn’t mean you should.
Stick It In Your Ear! How Not To Do Science
Ear acupuncture claims to relieve sore throats. A new study seeming to support that idea is so poorly done that it provides a textbook example of how to distinguish between good and bad science.
A Questionable Letter of Recommendation for Ear Candling
No way am I ever going to put one in my ear. Call me prejudiced… in favor of science and reality.
New Superfoods: Kakadu Plums and Cockroach Milk
“Put simply, it is magic!” In my opinion, the only thing magical about it is the magical thinking required to believe the claims for it.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Do They Really Work?
People want to believe in G/C, and they can easily find reasons to disregard the evidence. Hope springs eternal.
Genius Java: Memory Boosting Coffee
In one sense it might actually make you smarter: if you can understand why its claims are questionable and can apply those lessons to other marketing claims.
Clear Thinking About Cancer
He doesn’t blame people who go off in pursuit of a promised miracle cure. He understands their desperation and the comfort of having a hope to cling to. Rather, he blames those who offer that anything without a fair, accurate, and accountable foundation.
The CAMphora: Health in a Jar
My flabber was thoroughly gasted. Apparently you sit in the jar and put water and maybe Chinese herbs into it and it is connected to 220-volt electricity.
The Truth About Cancer
I actually find it flattering when someone attacks me so stupidly. It means what I wrote was so accurate that they were unable to find anything they could legitimately criticize.
Uninformed Consumers Are Treating Their Flu Symptoms with Muscovy Duck Offal (Minus the Duck)
Why on Earth do people buy a medicine with no medicine in it? The back of the box clearly says “Active ingredient Anas barbariae, 200 CK HPUS.” I suspect most customers don’t bother to read that, and if they do, they don’t know what it means.
Newborn Babies Don’t Have Sex, So Why Do We Vaccinate Them for a Sexually Transmitted Disease?
So babies don’t have sex, abuse drugs, or share razors. And mothers can be tested for the virus; if they don’t have it, there is no risk of them transmitting it to their babies. So are there any valid reasons to vaccinate newborns?
Screening Tests and Primum non nocere
Nonmaleficence says don’t harm the patient; beneficence says help the patient. There’s a trade-off, since almost every treatment carries some small degree of risk. Not treating may do more harm than treating.
Zombie Criticisms of Conventional Medicine
Critics of modern medicine would do well to follow my “SkepDoc’s Rule:” Before you accept a claim, try to understand who disagrees with it and why.
“Biomagnetism Therapy”: Pseudoscientific Twaddle
In a television interview, a practitioner of biomagnetic therapy claimed she had cured her own breast lump and the metastatic cancer of another person. I wonder how many viewers believed her.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Didn’t Win a Nobel Prize, Scientific Medicine Did
Tu Youyou, a Chinese researcher, was awarded half of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of artemisinin, a malaria drug. This has been touted as a victory for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and herbalism. It is anything but.
Someone is always trying to tell us what to eat. It’s like religions: they can’t all be right, and they might all be wrong.