Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski. That Orac has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 30 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: orac@scienceblogsllc.com

About three months ago, I was displeased to see in a normally reliable source of medical news (STAT News) a story about a patient of cancer quack Stanislaw Burzynski, Neil Fachon, that fell victim to every trope that Burzynski’s used for 40 years to present himself to the press as a “brave maverick” doctor and…

Stem cells are magic. Stem cells cure everything. They are the next big thing in medicine. That’s the narrative one frequently hears about stem cells in the press and courtesy of offshore stem cell clinics in places such as Italy and direct-to-consumer marketing of stem cells in the US. Of course, stem cells aren’t mystical…

I’ve mentioned on quite a few occasions that there’s a quote attributed to philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer that is much beloved of cranks: All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. I also like to point out that Schopenhauer probably never said…

There’s an old saying that basically asks the question, “With friends like these, who needs enemies? or, as Voltaire (or Marshal Villars, depending on the account) said, “May God defend me from my friends: I can defend myself from my enemies.” The point, of course, is that friends or allies can sometimes be as infuriating…

Here we go again. Remember how I frequently say that naturopaths are relentless, how, whenever they attempt to get a naturopathic licensing bill passed in a state and fail, they’re soon back to try again. Basically, they keep trying until they succeed, and once they succeed, it’s game over for keeping their quackery from having…

Hard as it is to believe, it’s been seven months since the Conspira-Sea Cruise, or, as I called it when I discovered it before it set sail, The Woo Boat. After it set sail and I started reading reports about it from two reporters who took the cruise in order to report on it, Anna…

I’ve frequently written about various dubious and outright quack clinics in different parts of the word with—shall we say?—somewhat less rigorous laws and regulations than the US. Most commonly, given the proximity to the US, the clinics that have drawn my attention are located in Mexico, most commonly right across the border from San Diego…

I’ve been debating whether to write about this for a while now, given that the first article that I noticed about it was first published a week and a half ago. Part of the reason for my reluctance is that it would be too easy for politics to be dragged into this more than I…

Baseball, cupping, and quackademic medicine

I hate to do this to you guys twice in one week, but sometimes the situation mandates it. Basically, there’s no new Insolence today. I do, however, have an excuse. Because of a gift the Ilitch family gave to our department, a couple of times a year our department is invited to attend a Tigers…

We in the US certainly have our share of pure quackery; there’s no denying it. After all, we have to take “credit” for inflicting the likes of Joe Mercola, the ever-libeling conspiracy crank and hilariously off=base scientist wannabe Mike Adams, Gary Null, Robert O. Young, and many others on the world. Unfortunately, we sometimes export…

In the early days of 2016, my attention was drawn to a local antivaccine doctor of whom I’d heard before but never really paid much attention to. What caught my eye was a blog exchange between this “holistic” family practitioner and former Scienceblogs blogger, friend, and local internist Peter Lipson over this physician’s blog posts…

In which Orac struts his stuff elsewhere…

Believe it or not, I’ve had two weekends off, which is why there won’t be a full post today. Basically, what happened is that I’m an idiot. I took a long weekend last weekend, worked a couple of days last week, and then took a three day weekend at a cottage near a lake this…

I frequently point out how antivaccine activists really, really don’t want to admit that they are, in fact, antivaccine, so frequently, in fact, that I have a series that I call The annals of “I’m not antivaccine.” It’s already up to part 21. It could easily be up to part 51, or 101, or even…

As I mentioned yesterday, there are news events involving medicine (more specifically pseudoscience in medicine) that are so ubiquitous and irritating that they’re enough to bring me briefly out of my vacation to bang out a quick post. So it was when I wrote my post yesterday about Michael Phelps’ enthusiasm for cupping, a practice…

So, in case you hadn’t noticed, I was taking a brief vacation, a long weekend if you will. As a result, I hadn’t planned on posting new completely original material until Wednesday or Thursday. (Monday’s post, some of you noticed, was a modified crosspost from my not-so-super-secret other blog.) Then something happened.

As hard as it might be to believe, almost as long as there have been vaccinations, there has been an antivaccine movement, and as long as there has been an antivaccine movement, there have been parents who refuse to vaccinate. Indeed, in the 1800s, there were even groups with names like the Anti-Vaccination Society of…

This is yet another in the continuing saga of “I’m not antivaccine,” a continuing series of posts demonstrating how the oh-so-loud and vigorous denials of antivaccine activists that they are antivaccine are in reality either a lie or self-delusion. There have been so many previous installments, twenty, to be precise. There could easily have been…

It is an article of faith among believers in alternative cancer cures that conventional oncology consists mainly of a bunch of money-hungry surgeons and oncologists who want nothing more than to cut, poison, and burn patients with cancer and charge them enormous sums of money to do so for as long as they can until…

A characteristic of real doctors and real health care providers is that they usually don’t sell the drugs and remedies that they recommend. Indeed, physicians are generally not allowed to in most states, as it’s considered a conflict of interest. Also, the Stark Law forbids physician self-referral, which is the referral of a patient to…

Emergency acupuncture!

Many are the bizarre, dubious, and downright crappy acupuncture studies that I’ve deconstructed over the years. Just type “acupuncture” into the search box of this blog, and you’ll soon see. (If that pulls up too many results, try typing “acupuncture” and “study” or “acupuncture” and “clinical trial” in the search box.) I’m not the only…

During the political battle last year over the recently implemented California law SB 277, which eliminates nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates and then later during the campaign for the Republican nomination for President, I used a term regarding antivaccine views. That term was “antivaccine dog whistle.” In politics, as you probably now, a “dog…

After writing about the failure of state medical boards to discipline physicians who practice quackery and an apparent notable exception in Tennessee just yesterday, my attention was brought back to California and the topic of SB 277, the law enacted last year that, as of July 1 this year, eliminated non-medical exemptions to school vaccine…

Many are the times that I’ve discussed the issue of quack doctors. I’m not just referring to naturopaths, whose abbreviation ND stands to me for “not a doctor.” In fact, I’m referring to actual, real physicians, doctors with an “MD” or “DO” after their names, doctors who have graduated from reputable medical schools, completed residencies…

I’ve frequently referred to “integrative medicine” as the “integration” of quackery with conventional, science-based medicine for the very good reason that that’s what it really is. However, advocates of medicine not based in science are nothing if not masters of marketing, which is how, over the course of three decades or so, “alternative medicine” morphed…

Should vaccines be compulsory?

As long as there have been vaccinations, there has been an antivaccine movement, and as long as there has been an antivaccine movement, there have been parents who refuse to vaccinate. In a past that encompasses the childhood of my parents, polio was paralyzing and killing children in large numbers in yearly epidemics, the fear…