Respectful Insolence

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Here we go again. In the wake of study after study that fails to find activity of various “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) beyond that of placebo, the campaign to a “rebrand” CAM as “working” through the “power of placebo” continues apace, in the wake of the successful campaign to “rebrand” various needle-based medical modalities…

There are certain things that can happen that are the equivalent of the Bat Signal to me; that is, if you can swallow the idea of me being in any way like Bruce Wayne. Call them the Cancer Signal, if you will. When I see the Cancer Signal, I know that I have to head…

If there’s one thing that I write that I don’t feel I repeat too much (although some might disagree), it’s that, unlike other centers and institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is not, and never was, a compelling scientific justification for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to exist…

The “myth” of placebo effects

Heidi Stevenson amuses me. The reasons are legion. Be it the time when Heidi lectured scientists on anecdotal evidence (which she values far more highly than scientists, of course, declaring it the “basis of all knowledge”); launched a vile and nonsensical attack on Stephen Barrett; argued against prior plausibility with using a straw man argument…

More credulous reporting on placebo effects

Now that Trine Tsouderos no longer works for the Chicago Tribune, there aren’t that many reliable generalist medical/science reporters around any more. For example, here in the U.S. there’s Marilyn Marchionne at the AP, Gina Kolata of the New York Times, and then there’s Sharon Begley, who used to be at Newsweek but is now…

“Patient-centered care.” It’s the new buzzword in patient care. Personally, I find the term mor ethan a little Orwellian in that it can mean so many things. Basically, it’s a lot like Humpty Dumpty when he says to Alice, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither…

Placebo versus the Law of Attraction

Since 2012 was rung in a month and a half ago, I’ve been writing a lot more about placebo medicine than I have in a while. Specifically, I’ve written a lot more about placebo effects than usual. This proliferation of posts on the topic was sparked by how Harvard University’s very own not-a-PhD faculty, credulous…

CAM, placebos, and the new paternalism

Three and a half years ago, I bought a new car. The reason why I mention this as a means of beginning this post is because that car had something I had never had in a car before, namely Sirius XM satellite radio preinstalled. Curious, I subscribed, and I now barely listen to regular radio…

Let’s face it. The vast majority of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) or “integrative medicine” (IM) therapies are nothing more than placebo medicine. This should be so abundantly clear to readers who have followed this blog, Science-Based Medicine, and/or Neurologica Blog more than a few weeks that I shouldn’t have to repeat it yet again,…

It’s always frightening when lawyers delve into the realm of medicine. It’s even worse when pre-law students and political science majors do the same. Such was the thought running through my mind when I came across the most recent issue of the Yale Journal of Medicine & Law. The result is what I would most…

Dangerous placebo medicine for asthma

Note: I just got back from TAM; so if you happened to see a different version of this post somewhere else, now you know why. Last week while I was at TAM, a study appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). It is another beautiful example of how proponents of complementary and alternative…

More dubious statements about placebo effects

In discussing “alternative” medicine it’s impossible not to discuss, at least briefly, placebo effects. Indeed, one of the most common complaints I (and others) voice about clinical trials of alternative medicine is lack of adequate placebo controls. Just type “acupuncture” in the search box in the upper left hand corner of the blog, and you’ll…

I tell ya, I go away for a few days and something always seems to happen that I’d be all over if I were at home and blogging normally. Either something major happens in the anti-vaccine movement or there’s a new study being touted by woos or womthing else big happens. In the old days,…

Using placebos outside of clinical trials

The other day, I thought it was about time that I did some of that cool and fancy ResearchBlogging.org stuff, you know, to keep this blog from being nothing more than a collection of not-so-Respectfully Insolent spleen venting at generalized stupidity. I realize that those are some of the funnest posts here and that people…

I thought I might start developing chest pain when I read it, but to my shock NCCAM has actually funded some worthwhile research! Even more amazingly, NCCAM described it in a press release! Too bad it supports the contention that acupuncture is nothing more than placebo and that the attention given by the practitioner is…

Believe it or not, there was a time when I didn’t consider acupuncture to be a form of woo. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, given the sorts of posts I’ve done recently on acupuncture, but it’s true. Certainly, I didn’t believe the whole rigamarole about needles somehow “restoring the flow of qi”…