Respectful Insolence

Archives for October, 2011

“Just one more thing”

I’ve written quite a bit about Steve Jobs’ battle with pancreatic cancer over the years and, more recently, in the wake of his death nearly four weeks ago. The reason, of course, is that the course of his cancer was of intense interest after it became public knowledge that he had cancer. In particular, what…

Despite having found my niche long ago in the medical blogosphere as a skeptic and supporter of science-based medicine, not to mention a scourge of quacks and anti-vaccine activists (no little ego mine!), I rarely, if ever, write about obstetrics. It’s always been one area of medicine that I’ve felt least comfortable with. True, there…

It’s a wonder no one ever thought of this before (at least, not to my knowledge), but Todd over at Harpocrates Speaks has. Over there today, what do we find? A Quacktion Figure™: Ever wanted to enjoy the adoration of tens of others? Had an idea for a new product to patent, but had pesky…

Mike Adams vs. the flu vaccine

Oh, geez. Mike Adams is at it again. I know, I know, saying that Mike Adams has just laid down yet another hunk of napalm-grade–nay, hydrogen-bomb grade–burning stupid is akin to saying that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, that water is wet, that we need oxygen to survive, or…

Echoes of Semmelweis

As hard as it is to believe, I’ve been a physician for 23 years now and a fully trained surgeon for over 15 years. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in that time, it’s most doctors really, really don’t like to be told what to do. I don’t know if part of it comes from…

Six medical “myths” that aren’t

I usually don’t do requests, at least not very often. As selfish as it might sound, I do this blog mainly to amuse myself, which means that I choose whatever topics interest me and write about them. Believe it or not, I’d probably still be doing this even if my readership were 1/100 of what…

An online summit of quackery

There’s a disturbance in the Force. Well, in the Dark Side of the Force, as in the Quack Side of Medicine. Basically, there’s a rumble in the quackosphere that reached me through three different quack mailing lists that I’m on for the purpose of gathering material for blogging, including–you guessed it–the mailing list of that…

As I’ve said before recently, I have mixed emotions regarding Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On the one hand, I look forward to it because it provides us with a pretext to get out science-based messages about breast cancer and to highlight a lot of the cool science that we do at our cancer center. On…

A couple of weeks ago, in the immediate aftermath of Steve Jobs’ death, I took issue with the claims of a skeptic that “alternative medicine killed Steve Jobs.” At the time, I pointed out that, although it was very clear that Steve Jobs did himself no favors by delaying his initial surgery for nine months…

Whither the anti-vaccine movement?

Yesterday, I congratulated that bane of anti-vaccine movement and great vaccine scientist, Dr. Paul Offit, for having been accepted into the Institute of Medicine. It’s a huge honor, and one well-deserved. At the time, I contrasted Dr. Offit, who has ascended to the highest heights of his profession through good science, with Dr. Andrew Wakefield,…

A well-deserved honor is bestowed

Congratulations are in order. Earlier this week, someone whom I admire has received a well-deserved honor: The IOM announced the names of 65 new members and five foreign associates today in conjunction with its 41st annual meeting. Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine…

Normally, these days I greet the month of October with a mixture of anticipation and dread. The anticipation stems from October’s position as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now that somehow I’ve managed to have a variety of responsibilities with respect to how breast cancer is managed at our cancer institute, suddenly I find that I’m…

Alternative medicine: The illusion of control

We humans like control. Actually, we need to feel as though we are in control. Perhaps that’s why, when we aren’t in control–can’t be in control, for whatever reason–we instinctively seek ways of being more in control, or at least of feeling as though we are in control. I’ve often wondered if providing the illusion…

Holy anti-vaccine radio hormones, Batman!

You might have noticed that I’m a bit late today. There’s a reason, and I bet you know what it is. Yep, yet another grant deadline. As usual, that means I didn’t have time to produce my usual dose of not-so-Respectful Insolence. That doesn’t mean I can’t do some good, though, as yesterday the Bat…

The “toxin gambit” on steroids and more

I had a really busy grant writing day today, and my brain is fried. What that means is that, even though there are some things that I could write about that would be really cool (as in studies), I’m just too tired to do it as I write this. So, as I settle down to…

It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy

Remember SaneVax? Before I encountered SaneVax, I hadn’t realized that anti-vaccine groups specialized, at least not to this degree. Oh, sure, I remember that Generation Rescue used to specialize in fear mongering about mercury in vaccines, at least before it changed its tune to “too many, too soon.” However, SaneVax takes anti-vaccine specialization to another…

The “toxin gambit” on steroids

After having been saddened (and distracted, at least from a blog standpoint) by the death of Steve Jobs for the last few days, I think it’s time to get back to the normal sorts of stuff I blog about. Not that discussing medical issues related to celebrities in the news isn’t one of the normal…

I debated a while about whether I should take this particular post on. It’s not because there isn’t a lot of fodder there deserving of that special form of not-so-Respectful Insolence that only Orac, in his usual inimitable fashion, can provide. There most definitely is. The problem, as is sometimes the case when I get…

It’s been a mere two days since Steve Jobs died. Although it hasn’t yet been revealed what his specific cause of death was, it’s a good bet that Jobs’ death was due to a recurrence of his pancreatic cancer, first diagnosed in 2003, for which he underwent surgery in 2004 and ultimately a liver transplant…

Steve Jobs and pancreatic cancer, revisited

Another day, another grant. Well, not exactly. We have a visiting professor in town, and I have to give a talk at our department research retreat today. Between going out to dinner, working on the talk, and working on the grant, another day has passed without new Insolence. Bummer. But that pales in comparison to…

On Daleks

After a near all-nighter working on a grant and another day and night to try to get a talk together that I have to give tomorrow, somehow Insolence, Respectful or not-so-Respectful, fell by the wayside, at least for today. Nothing like two hours’ sleep followed by a full day of work. It’s a good thing…

He’s ba-ack. Has it really only been two weeks? A mere two weeks since everybody’s favorite advocate of The One Quackery to Rule Them All promised the woo-friendly readers of the “health” section of that wretched hive of scum and quackery, The Huffington Post that he would “provide further specific evidence of the unscientific attitude…

All is as it should be again

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Time to get my flu shot. So that’s just what I did yesterday. I decided to brave that evil, toxin-laden, mercury-infused nastiness, all in order to protect myself and my patients against influenze. As you might recall, last year, when I was off to get my flu vaccine,…

A board certification in woo is born?

I’ve been harshly critical of the entire concept of “integrative medicine” (IM), which has over the last few years nearly supplanted the former term used for non-science-based medicine or medicine based on prescientific ideas represented as though it were scientific medicine, “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM). Indeed, just last month I pointed out how IM…