Complementary and alternative medicine

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Complementary and alternative medicine

Of all the cranks, quacks, antivaccinationists, and pseudoscientists that I’ve encountered (and applied a bit of not-so-Respectful Insolence to) over the years, there are a few who belong in the top tier—or, if you prefer, the bottom tier. They stick out in my memory for a variety of reasons, either through their sheer crankitude on…

As hard as it is to believe, I’ve actually “known” pediatrician to the antivaccine stars (such as Jenny McCarthy), “Dr. Jay” Gordon, for nearly nine years now. It began back in 2005 when I first noticed him writing blogs full of antivaccine nonsense at the then-new group blog, The Huffington Post, where I noted antivaccine…

As I just mentioned a week ago, there used to be a time when I dreaded Autism Awareness Month, which begins tomorrow. The reason was simple. Several years ago to perhaps as recently as three years ago, I could always count on a flurry of stories about autism towards the end of March and the…

Dr. Robert Sears has to be one of the most irresponsible pediatricians on the face of the earth, if not the most irresponsible. Many of you might recall that a little more than a week ago “Dr. Bob” posted a borderline unhinged rant on Facebook aimed at his own patients, who, quite reasonably, were calling…

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…

After the last couple of days of depressing posts about the utter failure of the FDA to do its job protecting cancer patients from the likes of Stanislaw burzynski, it’s time to move on. Unfortunately, the first thing that caught my eye as I sat down to blog last night not only fried my irony…

After the last couple of days of depressing posts about the utter failure of the FDA to do its job protecting cancer patients from the likes of Stanislaw burzynski, it’s time to move on. Given how utterly demoralizing it was to see the FDA, in essence, pass the buck when it comes to protecting cancer…

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” I know I’ve used that quote before several times over the 9+ years that I’ve been blogging. These days, I probably use it most frequently when it comes to the topic of Stanislaw Burzynski. Every time I think that I can give the…

If there’s one thing a budding skeptic quickly learns is that at the core of any good woo almost invariably lurks at least one conspiracy theory. At the risk of flirting a little too close to Godwin territory, this simple fact about pseudoscience, pseudohistory, and other non-evidence-based belief systems was first driven home to me…

As hard as it is to believe, there was once a time when I (sort of) gave “Dr. Bob” Sears the benefit of the doubt. You remember Dr. Bob, don’t you? Son of the famous pediatrician Dr. William Sears, who was best known for his “Sears Parenting Library” and is a not infrequent guest on…

Although I don’t want to distract (too much) from an interview I’m flogging today, I can’t help but take note of an lovely development in the world of quackery. Everybody’s favorite quackery promoter and financial scammer Kevin Trudeau has been sentenced to ten years in prison for his scams: Best-selling author Kevin Trudeau, whose name…

I’m sure that a lot of you, like me, are watching the rebooted version of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, with Neil deGrasse Tyson taking over the hosting duties originally handled so ably over 30 years ago by Carl Sagan. I definitely enjoyed the first episode and am looking forward to additional episodes. The only thing…

Amidst all the sturm und drang after a recent post, I was reminded elsewhere on the blog why I do what I do. So I’m going to do more of it today. You might recall Liza Cozad, wife of David Lauser, who is the drummer in Sammy Hagar’s band. She has an inoperable brain tumor…

Autism clusters and “toxins”

Time to get back to business after yesterday’s festivities. One of the items of Gospel Truth among the “autism biomed” movement, which consists of people who fervently believe that autism is caused by some sort of external “toxin,” infection, or vaccines and that subjecting children to various forms of quackery designed either to “detoxify” or…

I realize that some of my readers will chide me for saying this, but I usually expect better of Reason. Although I sometimes have a tendency to be a bit—shall we say?—Insolent about libertarians when they pass from a reasonable defense of civil liberties into an Ayn Rand-inspired fantasy world in which the market cures…

Attacks on the FDA on Mercola.com

I forgot if I ever mentioned that I have an article out in the current episode of Skeptical Inquirer about Stanislaw Burzynski. I call it a “primer for skeptics,” because that’s what it is. So, if you subscribe to SI (Skeptical Inquirer, not Sports Illustrated), read. If not, get thee to a newsstand before it’s…

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…

Oh, dear. I didn’t think I’d be writing about that wretched hive of Dunning-Kruger scum and quackery, the most inaptly named website and blog of all time, The Thinking Moms’ Revolution (TMR), after having written about it just earlier this week. When last we visited this klatsch of smugly arrogant moms, one of them was…

I don’t know if I could be a pediatrician right now. True, I probably don’t have the personality to be a pediatrician, at least not a primary care pediatrician on the front lines. After all, if I did, I probably wouldn’t have become a surgeon, much less a hyperspecialized cancer surgeon. One reason (among many,…

I’ve mentioned before how Detroit is my hometown. What that means is that I live very near to Canada. In fact, I can go into Windsor pretty much any time I want to, although I don’t do it very often. Lots of Canadians work at the cancer center I work at because it’s only a…

Last week, one of my favorite comedians and filmmakers of all time passed away unexpectedly. I’m referring, of course, to Harold Ramis, whose work ranged from movies like National Lampoon’s Animal House (the first R-rated movie I ever saw, actually), to gems like Ghostbusters and and Groundhog Day. In fact, in retrospect, when I posted…

I’m home. Oh, wait. No. Well, I’m back. Yes, the grant has been submitted, and I’m ready to get back to my hobby of science, skepticism, and, when necessary, laying down some Insolence, both Respectful and not-so-Respectful. And, it figures, too. While I was distracted with meatspace concerns, such as trying to keep my lab…

Back in December, I was excited. The reason I was excited was because everybody’s favorite über-Libertarian, New World Order conspiracy theorist quack, Mike Adams, a.k.a. The Health Ranger, had made an announcement. That announcement was that on January 6, 2014 Adams would announce astonishing “scientific findings” about food that would “revolutionize” nutrition and health. Given…

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…

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…