Respectful Insolence

Archives for June, 2010

The history of homeopathy in cartoon form

First, there was the history of Andrew Wakefield and the MMR vaccine in cartoon form. Now there’s the history of homeopathy (click on the image): The cartoonist, Darryl Cunningham, says this is a first try at such a history, a beta version, if you will. It’s definitely a good start, particularly the part about how…

ORAC SAYS: Please note my disclaimer. After the events of last week, I’m a bit sensitive when it comes to matters like the one I’m about to discuss. Having the anti-vaccine cranks over at the Age of Autism weblog trying to get me fired over my blogging has a tendency to do that to me.…

I wish it were otherwise, but not all that many reporters “get it” when it comes to science and quackery. Fortunately, Chicago Tribune reporter Trine Tsouderos does. She’s shown it multiple times over the last year with stories about the autism “biomed” movement and Boyd Haley’s trying to pass off an industrial chelator as a…

With the aging of the population, one of the most feared potential manners by which more and more of us will leave this earth is through Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. And it is a scary thing, too. Having valued my intelligence all my life and in particular enjoying the intellectual stimulation that…

I really hate this. I really hate having to take a friend to task, but he leaves me little choice. You see, I actually like Chris Mooney. Back in the day, I even even hoisted a pint with him at the Toledo Lounge in D.C., round about the time of the commencement of the whole…

The death of an iPhone 4

Now that I’ve had my new iPhone 4 for nearly four days, I need to know what to do with my old iPhone. One has to wonder: Will it blend? Clearly the iPhone 4 blends.

The way science is reported…

Many are the times when I’ve complained about how the press reports on science and medicine. I love it when science is reported well, but sadly such examples are far fewer than I’d like to see. In fact, there are times when I feel as though I’m living this in an alternate universe where it’s…

Remember Boyd Haley? He’s the Professor and former Chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky whose formerly respectable career tanked because he fell into pseudoscience. For whatever reason, a while back he became enamored first of dental amalgam quackery to the point where he became involved in organizations like Consumers for…

…is because I lucked out and my iPhone 4 arrived a day early. Gadget geek that I am, I couldn’t resist taking the time I’d normally spend blogging last night to set it up the way I like it. Yes, whenever I get a new smartphone, just as whenever I get a new computer, I…

Don’t get sick in July? (Revisited)

June is almost over. If you work in an academic medical center, as I do, that can mean only one thing. The new interns are coming, and existing residents will soon be advancing to the next level. The joy! The excitement! The trepidation! And it’s not all just the senior residents and the faculty feeling…

(NOTE ADDED 12/7/2010: Kim Tinkham has died of what was almost certainly metastatic breast cancer. Also note that, when it was publicized on the Internet and on the blogosphere that Tinkham’s cancer gave every indication of having recurred and she was dying, her “practitioner” Robert O. Young removed the videos embedded below from YouTube.) Remember…

Penn Jillette on Andrew Wakefield

Coming soon: Penn & Teller take on the anti-vaccine movement on an upcoming episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! No doubt it will resemble this little preview that Penn himself has taped: Note: Lots of NSFW language. It is, after all, Penn. I will mention one thing. Penn’s wrong when he says that Wakefield is…

Oh, no! Bad research is killing science!

Over the last few decades, there has been a veritable explosion in the quantity of scientific journals and published papers. It’s a veritable avalanche. Some of the reason for this is simply the increase in the number of scientific researchers that has occurred over the last few decades. Another reason I’d suggest is that there…

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers…

…and I hope none of you got anything like this. See you all tomorrow…

In the wake of President Obama’s election, there was a great deal of hope that he would take science-based medicine seriously and, as he promised in his inaugural speech, “restore science to its rightful place.” Shortly before Obama’s inauguration, in fact, Steve Salzberg proposed that the Obama administration should defund the National Center for Complementary…

If there’s one thing that the loons over at the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism might actually be somewhat good at, it’s leaping on a news story and trying to liken it to their unshakable pseudoscientific belief that vaccines cause autism. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for our our amusement), the merry band of…

Why is Ozzy Osbourne still alive?

Ozzy Osbourne is, like many rock stars of his advancing age, an amazing creature. Having subjected his body to abuse beyond the ability of most normal people to understand in terms of booze, drugs, and crazy living on the road, like the Energizer Bunny he just keeps going and going and going along. Naturally, given…

Back in the 1990s when I first dipped my toe into the pool that was Usenet, that massive, wild, and untamed frontier where most online discussion occurred before the rise of the web and later the blogosphere, I was truly a naif. I had no idea–no inkling–of the depths of quackery to which people would…

I think the message may finally getting through. That message is that it’s not always the best strategy to treat cancer aggressively. Don’t get me wrong. If I have acute leukemia, I know I’ll need the big guns, every bit of chemotherapy appropriate to the disease that modern oncology can throw at it up to…

Time and time again, anti-vaccine activists respond to charges of being “anti-vaccine” with a self-righteous wounded whine that goes something like this: “We aren’t ‘anti-vaccine.’ We’re pro-safe vaccine.” Alternative claims are that they are “vaccine safety watchdogs” and that they’d vaccinate if only the government would “green our vaccines” or “space them out” or that…

I don’t know if I need to get out the infamous paper bag or–even worse–the Doctor Doom mask out yet. As you may recall (if you are a long time reader, anyway) is that the mind-numbing stupidity of certain MDs has driven me to want to hide my face in utter shame at the embarrassment…

I’ve had the immense good fortune to have trained and ultimately become a physician-scientist during a time when the pace of discovery and the paradigm changes in science have occurred just over the course of my career in medicine and science has been staggering. microRNA, the shift from single gene studies to genomics, the development…

Remember my post about the genetics of autism last week? Remember how I predicted that the knives would come out from anti-vaccine loons? My original prediction was that Mark “Not a Doctor Not a Scientist” Blaxill would pull one of his usual brain dead attacks on genetic studies, such as his ” immaculate mutations” gambit.…

Somehow, this doesn’t seem all that far from the truth, except that kitties are cute. The last line, however, is, sadly, all too prescient-sounding. In fact, I’m not sure that it’s even funny because the truth hurts. I guess cute kitties make it easier to take. I wonder if they ever remade A Few Good…

I wonder what the loons at Age of Autism will say about this. Actually, I know what they’ll say. Whenever a scientific study like the one just published earlier this week the top tier journal Nature, which examines genetic variations (CNVs) associated with autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), comes out, they have a standard…