Respectful Insolence

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About a month ago, I discussed a rather disturbing development, namely the initiative by Dr. Andrew Weil to set up something he was going to call the American Board of Integrative Medicine, all for the purpose of creating a system of board certification for physicians practicing “integrative medicine” (IM), or, as I prefer to call…

Let’s face it, Dr. Andrew Weil is a rock star in the “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and “integrative medicine” (IM) movement. He is one of its founders, at least a founder of the its most modern iteration, and I am hard-pressed to think of anyone who did more in the early days of the…

I never would have thought it possible, but it’s happened. I’m sure most of you have heard of Dr. Andrew Weil, that champion of quackademic medicine who has made it his life’s mission to bring the woo into academia in the form of training programs to “integrate” quackery with science-based medicine. From his home base…

Thank you, Mike Adams. You’ve saved my blogging posterior yet again. What do I mean? Well, I had originally intended to do a lucid, insightful, penetrating analysis of a scientific study today. However, when I got home last night after a hard day in clinic I was just too tired. So, faced with that, I…

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…

A finger in the dike isn’t enough

Every so often I wonder what the status is regarding the infiltration of pseudoscience into medicine. It’s something I’ve been writing about on a regular basis for nine years now, a phenomenon known as “quackademic medicine.” It’s simultaneously a depressing and energizing topic, energizing because it’s something I’m passionate about, but depressing because at times…

The vast majority of what is known as “alternative medicine” is quackery. Let’s just get that right out front right from the very beginning of this post. That’s where I’m coming from, and where I’m coming from is a science- and evidence-based viewpoint. To quote a cliche that is true and modified to my own…

Being a cancer surgeon and researcher, naturally I tend to write about cancer a lot more than other areas of medicine and science. It’s what I know best. Also, cancer is a very common area for unscientific practices to insinuate themselves, something that’s been true for a very long time. The ideas don’t change very…

It occurs to me that things have been perhaps overly serious here at the ol’ blog for the last couple of weeks. Don’t get me wrong. I think I done good lately, if I do say so myself. However, the constant drumbeat of quackery and depressing stories takes its toll after a while. I need…

More hilariously off-base genetics denialism

Things have been a bit too serious around here lately. After all, yesterday I wrote about obesity and chemotherapy, while the day before that I did an even lengthier than usual deconstruction of some claims by anti-Obamacare activists, which seemed particularly appropriate to me given that a group of wingnuts has just succeeded in mostly…

A cancer quackfest

Oh, goody. I think I see future blog fodder for the second half of September. (When you’ve been in the blogging biz as along as I have, you think that far in advance when the opportunity presents itself.) Well, maybe it’s blog fodder. The problem is that I would actually have to wade through the…

“Alternative medicine,” so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), or, as it’s become fashionable to call it, “integrative medicine” is a set of medical practices that are far more based on belief than science. As my good bud and collaborator Mark Crislip so pointedly reminded us last week, CAM is far more akin to religion than…

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly two years since I first noticed that a board certification in quackery was in the works and appeared to be nearly ready to go. I’m referring, of course, to Andrew Weil’s effort to create a board certification in so-called “integrative medicine,” better known to those of us…

Do you believe in magic in medicine?

Sometimes, between blogging, a demanding day (and night) job doing surgery and science, and everything else, I embarrass myself. Sure, sometimes I embarrass myself by saying something that, in retrospect, I wish I hadn’t. More often, I embarrass myself by letting things slide that I shouldn’t. For instance, when friends send me a prepublication copy…

I’ve written a lot about a doctor named Stanislaw Burzynski who claims to have much better outcomes in treating deadly brainstem tumors than conventional oncology does. Although the way he claims to do it is through the use of substances he calls “antineoplastons,” which he claimed to have isolate from the urine of patients. Over…

It’s been a while since I’ve written about Brian Berman. We first met him when he somehow managed to insinuate a “case report” of chronic low back pain into The New England Journal of Medicine in which he recommended acupuncture for this patient. Dr. Berman also happens to be a founder of quackademic medicine on…

Just how stupid do homeopaths think we are?

I realize that I’ve said it many times before, but it bears repeating. Homeopathy is the perfect quackery. The reason that homeopathy is so perfect as a form of quackery is because it is quite literally nothing. On second thought, I suppose that it’s not exactly nothing. It is, after all, water or whatever other…

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…

Regular readers probably know that I’m into more than just science, skepticism, and promoting science-based medicine (SBM). (If they’re regular readers of my other, not-so-super-secret other project, they might also realize that they’ve seen this post before elsewhere. I had to stay out late for a work-related event and decided to tart it up and…

I take back all those nice things I used to say about Nancy Snyderman. There’s no doubt that she “gets it” about vaccines and, for the most part, even though she does occasionally go overboard, and her understanding of the issues involved in the use of various vaccines is anything but nuanced. I used to…

In a week and a half, Harriet Hall, Kimball Atwood, and I will be joining Eugenie C. Scott at CSICon to do a session entitled Teaching Pseudoscience in Medical (and Other) Schools. As you might imagine, we will be discussing the infiltration of pseudoscience into medical academia and medical training, a phenomenon I frequently refer…

One of the consistent themes I’ve maintained on this blog over the years is to combat in my own small way in my own small corner of the Internet, the influx into medical academia of medicine based not on science, but on prescientific notions of disease, vitalism, and magic, such as homeopathy (which is sympathetic…

About a month ago, I wrote about a study that looked at metrics of patient satisfaction and compared them to hard outcomes often used to evaluate quality of care, including frequency of emergency room usage, frequency of hospitalization, and overall mortality. Even though these days there appears to be an implicit assumption that increased patient…

If there’s one quack who both amuses and appalls me at the same time, it’s Robert O. Young. You remember Robert O. Young, don’t you? He’s the guy who thinks that all disease is caused by excess acid. I’ve written about him quite a few times over the last several years. For instance, he amused…

I kind of miss Peter Lipson on ScienceBlogs and wish he were still around. I realize it’s been nearly a year and a half since he departed, but it’s been a bit lonely here being the only physician blogging about quackery, the role of science in medicine, and other skeptical topics related to medicine. This…