Antivaccine activists amuse me. Obviously, I think they are a major risk to public health. Their relentless demonization of vaccines as causing autism, autoimmune diseases, “shaken baby syndrome,” and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) serves no purpose other than to frighten parents and discourage them from vaccinating. As despicable as some of their antics…

I hate stories like this, but what I hate even more is the way stories like this are all too commonly reported. Readers have been sending me links to stories about a woman named Alex Wynn that have been published over the last few days, in particular this story about her in the Daily Mail…

Many are the lies and epic is the misinformation spread by the antivaccine movement. For instance, they claim that vaccines cause autism, autoimmune diseases, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), cancer, and a wide variety of other conditions and diseases when there is no credible evidence that they do and lots of evidence that they don’t.…

The conspiracy deepens. What conspiracy? You ask. Haven’t you heard? Big pharma is out killing alternative medicine doctors! Or at least that’s what you’ll be told if you venture towards the deep dark underbelly of quack websites. Up until now, the most prominent “victim” was autism quack, Jeff Bradstreet, who, according to police, committed suicide…

Back when I started this blog, I hadn’t yet become aware of the phenomenon known as quackademic medicine. This phenomenon, as you recall, is the infiltration of academic medical institutions that should be bastions of science- and evidence-based medicine by outright quackery. In quackademic medicine, we see Very Respectable Academic Physicians and Scientists wasting their…

My topic yesterday was When doctors betray their profession. In my post, I talked about some very unethical doctors representing tobacco companies in lawsuits against them seeking compensation for death and injury due to smoking, as well as to doctors and scientists peddling pseudoscience and quackery representing claimants in the Autism Omnibus action several years…

When doctors betray their profession

And now for something completely different…but depressingly the same in some ways. Longtime readers—and I do mean longtime—might remember from several years ago a certain case adjudicated before the Vaccine Court. I’m referring, of course, to the Autism Omnibus. In Autism Omnibus, some 4,800 claimants were bringing action seeking compensation for “vaccine injury” characterized by…

Mammography is a topic that, as a breast surgeon, I can’t get away from. It’s a useful tool that those of us who treat breast cancer patients have used for over 30 years to detect breast cancer in asymptomatic women and thus (or so we hope) decrease their risk of dying of breast cancer through…

Three weeks ago, I did a post about how prone the antivaccine movement is to conspiracy theories. At that time, one example that I used was the then-very recent death of an autism quack and antivaccinationist (but I repeat myself) who’s been big in the “autism biomed” movement for a long time and a regular…

I frequently call homeopathy The One Quackery to Rule Them All, but there are times when I am not so sure that that’s the case. You see, there is…another. I’m referring, of course, to what is referred to as “energy medicine.” What energy medicine modalities have in common is that they postulate that there is…

A homeopathic “debate” in BMJ?

Homeopathy is quackery. There, I’ve said it for the hundredth or even thousandth time, but I don’t care if it’s repetitive because it can’t be emphasized enough times that homeopathy is The One Quackery To Rule Them All, with the possible exception of reiki and other “energy therapies.” I also find it useful to make…

Ever since SB 277 became law, I didn’t think I’d be writing about it much anymore. Actually, I probably won’t be writing about it much any more, because it’s now a done deal. It’s the law of the land in California. Beginning in 2016, non-medical exemptions (i.e., religious exemptions and personal belief exemptions) to school…

Acupuncture tropes on parade

I sometimes catch flak for repeating this, but there was a time when I thought there might be something to acupuncture. I don’t care, because, as a blogger, when I write a post I assume that a significant fraction of people reading it have never seen this blog before and therefore aren’t even the least…

Naturopathy is a cornucopia of quackery with a patina of plausibility applied in the form of some seemingly reasonable recommendations about diet and exercise. Under the patina, however, lies virtually every form of quackery known to humankind. Be it homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, applied kinesiology, iridology, bogus diagnostic testing, reflexology, craniosacral therapy, or even organ…

As much as I write about the foibles, pseudoscience, and misadventures of cranks and quacks that endanger patients. However, never let it be said that I don’t also pay attention to the foibles and misadventures of real doctors that endanger patients. Sometimes that occurs due to incompetence. Sometimes it’s due to the persistent use of…

One of my favorite quotes from classic literature comes from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, when Alice encounters a rather strange character named Humpty Dumpty. Humpty Dumpty, as you will likely recall, was a giant egg with whom Alice got into an argument about the meaning of words: And only ONE for birthday presents,…

Aside from deconstructing the misinformation and pseudoscience of the antivaccine movement, another of the top three or so topics I routinely discuss here is the infiltration of pseudoscience into medicine. In particular, I’ve found and discussed more examples than I can possibly remember of what I like to call quackademic medicine, defined as the infiltration…

There can be no doubt that, when it comes to medicine, The Atlantic has an enormous blind spot. Under the guise of being seemingly “skeptical,” the magazine has, over the last few years, published some truly atrocious articles about medicine. I first noticed this during the H1N1 pandemic, when The Atlantic published an article lionizing…

Dammit. I had planned on posting something else tomorrow that, because it had been posted elsewhere, would be minimal work. The reason, of course, is because it’s the 4th of July weekend and today is a federal holiday. Unfortunately, sometimes things happen that I cannot ignore, even though all sorts of other bloggers are writing…

In the wake of the passage of SB 277 into law in California, the antivaccine contingent went full mental jacket. SB 277, as you might recall, eliminates non-medical exemptions (i.e., religious and personal belief exemptions) to school vaccine mandates. One thing watching the crazy was good for, at least for me, was to note how…

Sometimes, I think advocates of “integrative” medicine are trolling me. Of course, unlike antivaccine advocates, I realize it (usually) isn’t about me at all and they’re just writing what they believe and have (usually in the vast majority of cases) never encountered me and (usually in the vast majority of cases) aren’t considering me at…

My original intention was to write about something entirely different today, but, really, how could I, given that SB277 has become law in California and non-medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates are a thing of the past? The topic I had in mind for today can easily keep for a day or two anyway. Besides,…

Late last week, something happened that I never would have predicted, and it’s all due to how the politics of the issue changed in the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak earlier this year. The state that contains some of the most famous pockets of low vaccine uptake and some of the most famous antivaccine…

The overarching goal that proponents of so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or, as is becoming the preferred term, “integrative” medicine is the mainstreaming of the “unconventional” treatments that fall under the rubric of these two terms. Indeed, that’s the very reason why they so insisted on the shift from calling it CAM to calling…

Orac note: Congratulations on California and everyone who reads this blog who helped pass SB 277 to protect California’s children. Here’s hoping Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill! I had a big talk to give this morning that required a massive rewrite of my slide set last night; so there wasn’t time for the usual…