Complementary and alternative medicine

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Complementary and alternative medicine

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 was a time when I used to blog about Jenny McCarthy a lot. The reason, of course, is that a few years ago, beginning in around 2007, she seized the title of face of the antivaccine movement in America through her “advocacy” for her son Evan, whom she described as having been made autistic…

Influenza still kills

I realize that everyone, is looking forward to my deconstruction of Mike Adams’ quacktacular attempt at being a real scientist (well, some of you, anyway). I must confess, though. I was a bit disappointed. And, being like Dug the Dog (a comparison I so frequently make), my attention was easily distracted. I’m sure I’ll get…

Well, that didn’t take long. I knew it had been too quiet on the Burzynski front. In retrospect, that was almost certainly because of the holidays, but the holidays are over, and real life is here again. Yes, the year 2014 is only a little more than a week old, and here comes Stanislaw Burzynski…

Bleach Enema Karaoke

Long day in the OR yesterday. By the time I got home, believe it or not, I was too beat to deliver one of my characteristic rants full of Insolence and science that my readers all know and love (well, mostly love). Consequently, today’s a perfect day for a quickie. (No, not that kind of…

Because of my involvement in this organization, I am hijacking my own blog for one day for my own nefarious purposes. To that end, I am republishing an announcement that originally appeared yesterday at a blog that a significant fraction of you are familiar with, but nowhere near all of you. And I want all…

One of the more bizarre bits of cancer quackery that I’ve come across is that of an Italian doctor (who, like many cancer quacks, appears not to be a board-certified oncologist) named Tullio Simoncini, who claims that cancer is really a fungus and has even written a book about it, entitled, appropriately enough for this…

This is not what I wanted to write about for my first post of 2014, but unfortunately it’s necessary—so necessary, in fact, that I felt the obligation to crosspost it to my not-so-super-secret other blog in order to get this information out to as wide a readership as possible. I’ve always had a bit of…

As I write this, 2013 is drawing to a close, with only a little more than 12 hours to go before the crowds now gathering at Times Square and elsewhere ring in 2014. For some of you, 2014 has already arrived or will arrive many hours before it does for me. I’m not normally one…

It’s Christmas Eve, and the blogging is light. I was going to have some fun with a truly ridiculous—is there ever any other kind?—segment on Dr. Oz’s show in which he actually combined a quack and a psychic with some EEGs to become a “100% believer” in psychic scammer “Long Island Medium” Theresa Caputo. However,…

Sarah Hershberger comes home to die

It was a couple of weeks ago that I last provided an update on the case of Sarah Hershberger, the 11-year-old Amish girl from Medina County, Ohio with lymphoblastic lymphoma whose parents decided to stop her chemotherapy because of how sick it was making her. As I explained early on and on multiple occasions afterward,…

One of the frequent topics on this blog is, unsurprisingly, cancer quackery. Be it the Gerson therapy and its propensity for encouraging patients to take hundreds of supplements and to shoot copious amounts of coffee where it really doesn’t belong (where the sun don’t shine), the Gonzalez protocol, homeopathy, naturopathy, or various other nonsensical and…

I remember during medical school that more than one of my faculty used to have a regularly repeated crack that the only thing that taking vitamin supplements could do for you was to produce expensive pee. My first year in medical school was nearly thirty years ago now; so it’s been a long time. During…

Rats. Everyone’s blogging about all the studies showing (as if it needed to be shown yet again) that vitamin supplementation is not necessary for most people, nor does it decrease the risk of heart disease or cancer, and I can’t, at least not yet. Why not? Because my friggin’ university doesn’t subscribe to the Annals…

Thanks, Daily Kos. Well, not really. You’ll see why in a minute, but first here’s the background. There’s a general impression out there that the political right is associated with the antiscience that includes anthropogenic global warming denialism, denial of evolution, and denial of aspects of reproductive biology that don’t jibe with their religious beliefs,…

The central mystery of Stanislaw Burzynski is how he keeps managing, no matter what is thrown at him by state and federal medical authorities, to keep on treating patients with deadly cancers. He’s like the Energizer Bunny; he just keeps going and going and going and going. Or maybe he’s like the game Whac-A-Mole™, where,…

Vaccines against the human papilloma virus (HPV), such as Gardasil and Cervarix, seem to have a strange power over people who are otherwise reasonable about science and vaccines. For some reason, HPV vaccines seem to have an uncanny ability to turn such people into raging antivaccinationists almost as loony as the merry band of antivaccine…

Three weeks ago, USA TODAY published an expose of the Burzynski Clinic by Liz Szabo that was devastating in its scope and detail. Early on, Stanislaw Burzynski and his minions tried to do some damage control, with hilarious results given how inept and unconvincing his excuses were for all the violations of ethics and patient…

I fear that Sarah Hershberger is now doomed

I am afraid. I am afraid that the Amish girl with cancer whose parents’ battle to treat her with “natural” therapy instead of effective science-based chemotherapy has made international news, is doomed. It might take longer than doctors have estimated, but it seems inevitable now. I will explain. It’s hard to believe that it’s been…

Well, wouldn’t you know it? Mike Adams thinks he’s an actual scientist! Regular readers are all too familiar with Mike Adams, a.k.a. The Health Ranger, arguably the most quacktastic site on the Internet. Sure, Joe Mercola is probably the most trafficked quackery site on the Internet, but, being number two (or number three or four,…

I’m not really happy to have to write this post, but a blogger’s got to do what a blogger’s got to do. The reason is that Katie Couric has done something requires—nay, demands—a heapin’ helpin’ of Orac’s characteristic Respectful Insolence. Why should I give the proverbial rodent’s posterior about who gets the Insolence today? The…

As hard as it is to believe, I’ve been blogging nearly nine years. Indeed, my nine-year anniversary is coming up in just over a week. It’s been almost a decade! Early on during near-decade that I’ve been laying down bits of Insolence, Respectful, and Not-So-Respectful, I developed an interest in the antivaccine movement. Antivaccinationism, “antivax,”…

It figures. Whenever there’s a holiday or a break where I’m not paying as much attention to the blog as usual, something always seems to happen regarding a story I’m interested and have been blogging about. Remember Sarah Hershberger? She’s 11 year old Amish girl who developed lymphoblastic lymphoma, underwent one round of chemotherapy, suffered…

As I noted a few days ago, the antivaccine fringe suffered a major setback in the House of Representatives when Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, canceled a previously promised hearing about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, even after it had reached the stage of representatives…

Acupuncture is quackery. This cannot be repeated often enough, and, in fact, over the last several months I’ve developed a tendency to start all my posts on acupuncture by making sure to remind everyone that it is quackery. The reasons are many-fold. For one thing, the concepts behind acupuncture are based on the claim that…