Respectful Insolence

Archives for June, 2007

Ignorance, thy name has become Republican

Many of my fellow SBers have blogged about the Gallup poll showing just how scientifically ignorant Americans, and in particular Republicans, are: PRINCETON, NJ – The majority of Republicans in the United States do not believe the theory of evolution is true and do not believe that humans evolved over millions of years from less…

The Autism Omnibus is now officially under way, having begun with the first test case, that of Cedillo v. Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Omnibus proceeding is the culmination of the legal cases brought to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program by nearly 5,000 families who “feel” that their children’s autism was in fact…

Casual racism in the 1930s

After having been pointed yesterday to a video of an old Betty Boop short that strongly suggests that Boop may have been a homeopath, I couldn’t resist clicking on the links to a couple of other old Betty Boop cartoons. One of them reminded me of just how different our culture was 72 years ago…

The ASCO Meeting: The swag!

Dedicated advocate of evidence-based medicine that I am, I am sometimes labeled by those who do not understand skepticism as a “shill” for big pharma. Of course, such accusations are simply the logical fallacy known as poisoning the well, in which the credulous engage in preemptive ad hominem attacks designed to associate me with the…

Here is the myth of Simpsonwood being memorialized on the seventh anniversary of the meeting where, if you believe the mercury militia, the CDC, in cahoots with big pharma, tried to suppress the “truth” that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism. it is a myth that was popularized by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s misinformation-laden Salon.com article…

There’s not much to add to this other than…ouch! 1949 was not a good year for the treatment of prostatitis, was it? Hat tip to Modern Mechanix.

Betty Boop: Homeopath

While reading through a mailing list I belong to, I came across a link that demonstrates that alternative medicine has been ingrained in popular culture since at least the 1920’s and 1930’s. Indeed, I never realized that that icon of flappers, Betty Boop, practiced homeopathy. Don’t believe me? Well, here’s incontrovertible evidence in the form…

Paris, please go away

This article in Salon.com sums up my feelings about the whole Paris Hilton fiasco almost perfectly: Even after years of watching Hilton direct the media like her own obedient little phalanx of winged monkeys, it would take a coldhearted cynic to doubt that Hilton was experiencing real pain and anguish upon returning to prison. At…

Portrait of the artist reviewing grants

This is what Orac would look like this weekend if he were his blog mascot and if those piles of papers surrounding him were NIH grants. Yes, NIH Study Section time is coming up in less than two weeks. It’s grant review crunch time, and this is how I will be spending the remainder of…

Car alarms probably annoy you. Certainly, they annoy me. I understand the reason for their existence, but some of them seem to be so finicky that just a truck driving by will set them off. Fortunately (or, unfortunately, depending on your point of view), there’s the Orgasmalarm If you’re at work, you’re definitely going to…

No drug is without risks

Here’s a tragic story: NEW YORK – A medical examiner blamed a 17-year-old track star’s death on the use of too much muscle cream, the kind used to soothe aching legs after exercise. Arielle Newman, a cross-country runner at Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island, died after her body absorbed high levels of methyl salicylate,…

Killed in the line of duty

It saddens people, but doesn’t particularly surprise, when some professionals are killed in the line of duty. For professions such as soldier, police office, and firefighter, for example, it’s expected that occasionally some will lose their lives in the line of duty because of the dangerous nature of the job. Less expected is when medical…

As we continue our countdown to having reached one full year of woo (namely, the one year anniversary of Your Friday Dose of Woo), it’s occurred to me that there’s one form of woo that I’ve dealt with before, but haven’t revisited. It’s a bit of woo that’s so monumentally silly that it’s hard to…

An embarrassing way to die

This is about as bad a way to go as I can think of. No cell phone is worth it.

The definition of a big meeting

As I mentioned a few days ago, I was at the ASCO Meeting over the weekend, arriving home Tuesday evening. ASCO has to be, as far as I can tell, the largest cancer meeting in the world. How big? 30,000 or so attendees big. Hundreds of sessions and talks big. Filling most of McCormick Center…

It’s that time again, time for a respite from the annoying credulity that permeates the blogosphere. Indeed, that credulity has even invaded Respectful Insolence in the form of two–count ‘em, two!–homeopaths invading an old throwaway post about homeopathy and a woo-meister in my recent chelation post. I need a nice bracing shot of skepticism. On…

Date: June 4, 2007, 2 PM CDST Place: University of Chicago’s bookstore Depressing. At what is supposed to be a bastion of science, we find Michael Behe’s latest tripe on the same bookshelves as Stephen Jay Gould’s books (see the shelf below). On the other hand, Creatures of Accident looks potentially interesting. Still, I’m disappointed…

Remembering D-Day

Sixty-three years ago today, Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, thus opening up a Western Front in the war against Germany. It was the beginning of the end; eleven months later, Nazi Germany, beset from the East by the Soviet juggernaut and from the West by the Allies, collapsed. Today is a day that…

Gasoline sticker shock in Chicago

I’m back from the ASCO Meeting in Chicago. As promised, I’ll try to post some photos tomorrow to give you a sense of just how monumentally huge this meeting is. I probably won’t have time to blog about the clinical science presented until Friday or next week, but we’ll see. In the meantime, let me…

Three swings, three misses

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that it’s been quite a while since I’ve featured the antics of a certain character who’s become a bit of the bĂȘte noire of my fellow surgeons. I’m referring, of course, to Dr. Michael Egnor, a renowned neurosurgeon from SUNY Stony Brook who’s made 2007 a very…

Another clean kill by chelation

Somehow this one passed under my radar four years ago. However, the there’s a reason for this. First, I wasn’t blogging then and thus wasn’t paying as close attention to alternative medicine. Also, apparently, the State of Oregon didn’t know about it until 16 months after the fact, which was still before I started blogging.…

Thar’s gold in that thar chelation!

One of the common refrains you’ll hear from alties about “conventional” medicine is that it’s a business, that it’s all about money. Never mind that, for instance, it’s not uncommon for primary care doctors like family practice and pediatricians to net well under $100,000 a year and that many physicians are struggling to maintain their…

Look who’s at the ASCO Meeting too

It’s day three of the ASCO Meeting here in Chicago. So far, I have to say, it’s been a bit underwhelming. Unlike some years past, there don’t appear to have been any real blockbuster results to report; rather, lots of incremental studies were presented. There’s really only one study presented that I might blog, mainly…

It was a nondescript room, a board room much like board rooms found in corporate offices across the length and breadth of the U.S., or even around the world. There was the tasteful built-in wood bookshelves loaded with books and journals, for instance. Given the nature of this company, the journals included titles such as…

Drunk with scrubs

Just as a brief followup to my post about being carded twice in a bar despite being a member of the over 40 crowd, I can’t help but make a brief comment on something else that happened while we were sitting back enjoying some beer. We were inside, but there was an outdoor sidewalk cafe…