Medicine

While The Pump Handle is on holiday break, we are republishing some of our favorite posts from the past year. This one is from February 2016: A study finds the odds of preterm birth were lower among Colorado women living in counties served by Title X clinics, which began offering free access to IUDs and contraceptive implants in 2009.

Naturopathic oncologists think that they’re real cancer doctors, to the point of even studying their specialty as though it were real. They couldn’t be more wrong.

To all those who come here regularly for a dose of Insolence, Respectful or otherwise, skepticism and science, best holiday wishes for whatever end-of-year holidays you might celebrate. I’ll probably be on a less intensive blogging schedule until after the New Year, depending on things go (sometimes, even between Christmas and New Years, something happens…

As hard as it is to believe, I’ve been at this blogging thing for 12 years now. In fact, it’s been so long that this year I didn’t even remember to mention it when it happened nearly two weeks ago. Over that time period, I’ve dealt with a large number of conspiracy theories. Indeed, skeptics…

As 2016 comes to a close — and 2017 looms with enormous uncertainty — let’s end the year with some encouraging public health news. This time it’s a study on one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century: fluoridation.

Three weeks ago, I wrote a post that, much to my surprise, went viral, garnering more Facebook “Likes” than any before it, although it only came in maybe third in traffic after the all-time record-holding post from a couple of years ago. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. It was, after all, about Tom Price,…

One of the oldest antivaccine tropes that first encountered is one that I like to call the “toxins gambit.” Basically, this is an antivaccine lie that portrays vaccines as being laden with all manner of “toxins” because they have—gasp!—chemicals with scary sounding names and even some chemicals that are toxic. The lie derives from the…

Blogging is a funny thing. Sometimes the coincidence involved is epic. For instance, as I do on many Mondays, yesterday I crossposted a modified and updated version of a post from a week ago from my not-so-super-secret other blog. This time around, it just so happened to be a post about what I like to…

I write quite a bit about placebo effects. Of course, part of the reason is that placebo effects are just plain interesting from a scientific perspective. After all, if one can relieve symptoms with inert sugar pills or other ineffective interventions because of the power of expectation, that’s something we should want to understand. Also,…

If you work in public health, you’ve probably heard about the new era of practice — an era being dubbed Public Health 3.0. Among the components that define this new phase is an emphasis on building cross-sector collaborations to affect the social determinants of health. In other words, public and private sectors have a role — and a stake — in improving community health. And now there’s evidence that such collaborations can save people’s lives.