Respectful Insolence

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Practitioners of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) have a love-hate relationship with randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Actually, it’s mostly hate, but they do crave the validation that only randomized clinical trials can provide within the paradigm of evidence-based medicine (EBM). Yes, I intentionally said EBM, rather than science-based medicine (SBM), because, as I’ve described so…

To say that I haven’t been much of a fan of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) throughout the years is a gross understatement. If you want to see the depths of my—shall we say?—lack of enthusiasm for NCCAM, feel free to type “NCCAM” in the search box of this blog and…

I’m not alone in pointing this out, but if there’s one thing about research and clinical trials into “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) that has become very apparent to me over the years, it’s that the more rigorous the study the less likely it is to show an effect. In normal research, the usual progression…

The “success” of NCCAM grants on homeopathy

One of the great benefits of having been a blogger for nearly eight years now is that I now have a rich history of thousands of posts. True, there are the occasional posts that I wish I hadn’t written and even the occasional post that I consider to be not particularly good, but for the…

I’d like to publicly thank Dr. John Killen, Jr. I was looking for something to write about yesterday evening, and, just when I was beginning to despair that I might have to do another post on the lunacy that is antivaccine nonsense (even I get tired of taking on antivaccine idiocy, as regular readers know),…

One of the overarching issues, if not the overarching issue that makes so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM)—or, as it’s now more commonly called, “integrative medicine”—so problematic is prior plausibility. It’s also one of the most difficult to explain to the lay public, because to someone not trained in science it can sound like not…

Oh, goody. NCCAM has a blog.

Oh, goody. I don’t know how I’ve missed this, given that it’s been in existence now for over a month now, but I have. Regular readers (and even fairly recent readers, given that I write about this topic relatively frequently) know that I’m not a big fan of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative…

Over the years that this blog has been in existence, beginning very early on, there has been one overarching theme. That theme is that the best medicine is science-based medicine. Sure, we could quibble about how that was originally defined, and I used to be more of a booster of evidence-based medicine until its blind…

NCCAM in the news: Why does it still exist?

I’ve made no secret of my admiration for Trine Tsouderos. Whether it be her investigations into the rank quackery of prominent members of the mercury militia wing of the anti-vaccine lunatic fringe, Mark and David Geier, who seem to think that chemical castration is a perfectly fine and dandy treatment for autism because testosterone binds…

I’ve frequently been critical fo the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) for funding dubious studies of pseudoscience and, in essence, promoting unscientific quackademic medicine (is there any other kind?) by giving it the patina of seeming respectability. I can’t recall how many times I’ve seen promoters of woo justify their woo by…

I’ve made no secret about the fact that I am not a fan of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). I consider it a useless, redundant center within the National Institutes of Health because it does nothing that could’t be done as well or better in the institutes and centers of the…

It’s probably an understatement to say that I’ve been critical of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Indeed, I consider it not only to be a boondoggle that wastes the taxpayers’ money funding pseudoscience, but a key promoter of quackery. Worse, its promotion of highly implausible (one might even say magical) modalities…

Yesterday, I wrote about Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) little woo-fest in the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, which he called Integrative Care: A Pathway to a Healthier Nation. I and a lot of the rest of the medical blogosphere (such as PalMD, Val Jones, and Tufted Titmouse) shook our heads in disbelief…

Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) owes me a new irony meter. I’ll explain in a minute, but first you have to know why I even give a rodent’s posterior about Harkin. As you may recall, no single legislator in the U.S. has done more to damage the cause of science- and evidence-based medicine than Tom Harkin.…

What’s an advocate of evidence- and science-based medicine to think about the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, better known by its abbrevation NCCAM? As I’ve pointed out before, I used to be somewhat of a supporter of NCCAM. I really did, back when I was more naïve and idealistic. Indeed, as I mentioned…

P.Z. Myers turned me on to a phenomenal proposal at Change.gov, the website of President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team: Defund the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Here’s a way to increase the available funding to NIH without increasing the NIH budget: halt funding to NCCAM, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.…

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…

I used to be somewhat of a supporter of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). I really did. This was back when I was more naïve and idealistic. Indeed, when I first read Wally Sampson’s article Why NCCAM should be defunded, I thought it a bit too strident and even rather close-minded.…

“Woo-omics” at NCCAM

Just when I start to think that maybe, just maybe, I could stop worrying and learn to love the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM, with apologies to Stanley Kubrick and Peter Sellers), damn if it doesn’t go and do something that renews my cynicism about the entire Center. This time around, Dr.…

Note: I was busy doing something last night that left me no time to compose any fresh Insolence, which will become apparent by this weekend. In the meantime, however, I’m betting quite a few of you haven’t seen this before, and those who have might want to discuss it further in a different environment. Quackademic…

Remember our old buddy Eric Merola? He’s the guy who made two—count ‘em—two crappy, conspiracy-laden, misinformation-ridden, astonishingly bad bits of “great man” propaganda disguised as documentaries about a Houston cancer doctor peddling unproven cancer treatments and charging his patients tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars for the privilege of being under his care…

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…

While I’ve been all tied up paying attention to the developments in the Stanislaw Burzynski case, it figures that President Obama would go and do something like nominating the next Surgeon General. Normally, this is not such a big deal, because there really hasn’t been a Surgeon General who has really been particularly well-known or…

If there’s one medical treatment that proponents of “alternative medicine” love to hate, it’s chemotherapy. Rants against “poisoning” are a regular staple on “alternative health” websites, usually coupled with insinuations or outright accusations that the only reason oncologists administer chemotherapy is because of the “cancer industrial complex” in which big pharma profits massively from selling…