Pandemic Stories in the News: Something to Laugh About
Steven Novella said it best: “Pandemics breed more than a contagious disease. They spread fear, misinformation, pseudoscience, and exploitation.” I would add, “and humor.” I have written about COVID-19 before, first on the February 4 in an article on Science-Based Medicine about how alternative medicine had jumped on the bandwagon, then again in my March …
COVID-19: A Field Day for Scams and Misinformation
Our world has been disrupted due to legitimate fears about COVID-19. People are afraid, and unscrupulous and/or misinformed people have been quick to exploit those fears. The FTC has offered advice for consumers to help them avoid coronavirus scammers. On March 19 they published Part 2, and the FTC and FDA have sent out warning …
A Test for Earlier Diagnosis of Autism? Not Convincing
Autism is diagnosed on clinical grounds by observing the child’s behavior. There is no blood test or any other objective test to diagnose it. But that hasn’t stopped people from claiming to have found one. Among other candidates, a saliva test has been proposed, and now an eye scan. In summer 2019, a press release …
I recently came across an advertisement for a “One-Of-A-Kind Adventure,” a Bigfoot Adventures Tour Company endeavor that offers single-day, multi-day, and even Bigfoot-by-bike experiences. Their website promises to take you to sites where Bigfoot has been spotted numerous times and tracks have been found. They utilize “proven methods to call one in” and carry high-tech …
Why ‘Trying It for Yourself’ Is a Bad Idea
When I write about a treatment that has been inadequately tested (or that has never been tested or has been tested and shown not to work), someone always asks if I have tried it myself. Apparently, they believe it really works, and if only I would try it for myself, I would believe too. If …
Don’t Believe the Ads: Dietary Supplements Don’t Cure Tinnitus
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, is a hallucination. The sounds can’t be heard by anyone else; they are illusory sensations produced by the brain. For some, it is only a minor annoyance; for others, it interferes with sleep and quality of life and sometimes causes severe suffering. There is no cure. Nothing will stop …
The Pharma Shill Gambit Is Stupid
I am regularly accused of being a shill for Big Pharma. They are supposedly paying me lavishly to promote their business by writing good things about pharmaceuticals and bad things about alternative medicine. It has become a running joke in our household. My husband keeps asking me where I’m hiding the money, and I keep …
You Can’t Pray the Gay Away
Tolerance for the full spectrum of human sexuality has made great strides. LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) issues are frequently in the news. Same-sex marriage is now legal in all U.S. states and in numerous other countries around the world. But in seventy-two countries, homosexuality is a crime, and in thirteen countries, gay …
How Not to Do Science
According to research methodologist R. Barker Bausell, “CAM [complementary and alternative medicine] therapists simply do not value (and most, in my experience, do not understand) the scientific process.” They have seen their patients improve, and that’s all the “evidence” they think they need. They don’t understand that they may have been deceived by the post hoc …
Estaba equivocada (y apuesto a que tú también)
Para mí, uno de los grandes placeres del escepticismo es descubrir que me equivoqué en algo. Más que sentirme culpable por mi error, me siento orgullosa por haber aprendido algo y tener una mejor comprensión de la realidad. Cuando los escépticos encuentran una afirmación cuestionable, hacen algo para chequear los hechos. Pero ¿qué pasa si …
I Was Wrong (and I Bet You Were Too)
For me, one of the great pleasures of skepticism is finding out I was wrong about something. Rather than feeling guilty about my error, I feel proud that I have learned something and have a better understanding of reality. When skeptics encounter a questionable claim, they do some fact-checking. But what if they don’t realize …
Clínicas Ambulatorias para Inyectarse Intravenosas – Una Mala Idea
Solo tiene que entrar. No podría ser mejor. No se necesita turno ni orden médica — simplemente ingrese a clínica ambulatoria y aplíquese la infusión de nutrientes vía intravenosa (IV) a elección. Es una moda pasajera. Hay salones IV, bares de goteo, negocios de boutiques de vitaminas, puestos de rejuvenecimiento, incluso servicios IV móviles que …
Walk-In Clinics for IVs—a Bad Idea
Just walk in. It couldn’t be more convenient. No appointment needed, no order from a doctor—you just walk into a storefront clinic and get the IV nutrient infusion of your choice. It’s a popular fad. There are IV lounges, drip bars, boutique vitamin drip shops, rejuvenation stations, even mobile IV services that come to you. …
Cuidado y Nutrición de la Vagina
Según lo visto en Skeptical Inquirer Volumen 42, Número 5. En nuestra sociedad, el estatus de las mujeres continúa mejorando. Como dice la publicidad de cigarrillos, “Has recorrido un largo camino, muchacha”. Ciertamente, parece que ahora tenemos Igual Oportunidad de Charlatanismo. El sexo vende. Siempre fue un objetivo popular para el charlatanismo, pero éste solía …
Measles Was Gone, but It Came Back
Measles was eliminated from the United States in 2000. It could have stayed gone, but it didn’t. As of April 19, 626 cases had been reported to the CDC so far in 2019 in multiple states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, …
El Dr. Oz Vende Chatarra
Con su entusiasta autobombo y sus embustes al aire, el Dr. Oz siempre me asombró por sonar más a un vendedor de automóviles usados que a un respetado cirujano cardiotorácico. Un vendedor de automóviles usados le dirá a usted que el automóvil está en condiciones impecables, que siempre estuvo guardado en un garaje climatizado, y …
Tratamiento Facial “Vampiro”
Artículo traducido por Alejandro Borgo, Director del CFI/Argentina. Hay una nueva moda para las celebridades: los tratamientos faciales vampiro. ¿Ha visto usted la foto de Kim Kardashian West luego de su tratamiento-vampiro, mostrando su rostro salpicado con sangre y cubierto con pequeñas heridas? Si no la ha visto, haga clic en el link y mírela …
Lou Gehrig’s Disease Was Named for the Baseball Player—but Was He Misdiagnosed?
Lou Gehrig, the famous New York Yankees first baseman, was known as the “Iron Horse” for his batting skills and stamina. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and voted the greatest first baseman of all time, he set records that stood for over fifty years. In 1939, on his thirty-sixth birthday, he was diagnosed …
Beber sangre de murciélagos es una mala (y loca) idea
En la medicina tradicional china (MTC), uso médico generalizado de productos animales tales como bilis de oso, cuernos de rinoceronte, huesos de tigre y escamas de pangolín ha devenido en la práctica de la crueldad animal y ha amenazado a varias especies respecto de su extinción.
Dr. Oz Sells Lemons
I was not at all surprised to learn that Dr. Oz is selling the other kind of lemon, the kind that grows on trees.
Un exceso de tonterías
El mundo se está volviendo más loco? Parece que sí, pero quizá es que yo estoy más consciente de la estupidez. He aquí solo unas pocas cosas estrafalarias con las que me he cruzado recientemente.
A Surfeit of Silliness
Is the world getting crazier?
Revolviendo el contenedor de basura del VAERS La realidad es la mejor medicina
Sin duda, las vacunas son uno de los más grandes triunfos de la medicina moderna.
Drinking the Blood of Bats Is a Bad (and Batty) Idea
Now humans are turning the tables. They are drinking the blood of bats in the misguided belief that it has health benefits.
Human ingenuity is endless. People are always looking for the next secret that will improve their health and appearance.
A 500-Pound Amoeba: Psychiatry from the Inside
Psychiatry is arguably the least science-based of all the medical specialties. There are no objective blood tests or imaging studies to diagnose mental illness, medications are often not very effective and have bad side effects, and it’s hard to do good controlled studies on talk therapies. No wonder people are skeptical.
Colorpuncture applies various colors of light to acupoints with a small flashlight-like instrument with a colored quartz rod.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on Vaccination
Today’s anti-vaccine arguments echo the same words that were used in 1887.
Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fear
The headlines say things like, “Best Non-Toxic Cookware Options: Don’t Let Your Cookware Kill You” and “Cookware is a scary toxic minefield.”
Did Salt Water Supplement Regenerate Baby’s Heart Valve?
If a missing part of the heart was actually regenerated by ASEA, it would have been trumpeted in the headlines and someone would be in line for a Nobel Prize.
Train Track Therapy
People in Indonesia lie down on the tracks with their head on one rail and their legs on another. When a train comes, they get up and move away; after it passes, they lie down again.
Book about Quackery Is a Hoot!
In addition to colorfully describing quackeries I was already aware of, the book covers many that were new, along with providing obscure facts and tidbits about celebrities.
Pulseras de cobre y cócteles: ¿el cobre te curará o te matará?
Las pulseras de cobre se usaron durante siglos en la medicina folcórica. Supuestamente reducen el dolor de las articulaciones y la rigidez asociada a la artritis, y usando cobre en la muñeca presuntamente beneficia a todas las articulaciones en el cuerpo.
Copper Bracelets and Moscow Mules: Will Copper Heal You or Kill You?
Copper bracelets have been used for centuries in folk medicine. They allegedly reduce the joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, and wearing copper on the wrist supposedly benefits all joints in the body.
Recent Developments in ‘Eastern’ Science
Science from the Koran and the Vedas? Who knew?
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.