Quackery

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Quackery

I’m depressed and angry as I write this. The reason for this is simple. I hate it when cancer quacks claim the lives of patients with cancer, particularly patients who were eminently treatable for cure. It’s happened again, and it makes me sad. Florida cancer quack Brian Clement has claimed the life of Makayla Sault,…

It looks like this year’s going to be a bad flu season. Hard as it is for me to believe, it was only five weeks ago when I discussed an announcement by the CDC that this year’s flu vaccine would likely be less effective because it isn’t a good match for the influenza strains in…

The return of J. B. Handley

He’s ba-ack. Remember J. B. Handley? He and his wife were the founders of the antivaccine crank group Generation Rescue (GR) back in the day. When I first started blogging, GR was new and shiny, with JB and his wife showing up all over the media blaming autism on mercury. In fact, I think it’s…

“Ultraspirituality”?

Last night I had an evening meeting for a CQI (continuous quality initiative) collaborative that I’m heavily involved in; so I didn’t get home until late. Unfortunately, that means I didn’t have the time to dish out the usual insolence for today. Fortunately, I do have a video lying around that made me chuckle and…

So here it is, already a week into 2015. Truth be told, I’m still finding myself having a hard time believing that it’s already 2015, but then I say that about every year in early January. Be that as it may, I’ve already seen one hopeful sign that it could be a decent year when…

Readers who’ve been following this blog a while would probably not be surprised to learn that one of my all time favorite movies is Ghostbusters. In fact, it’s hard to believe that the movie is now 30 years old. It makes me feel so old, given that I saw the movie in the theater when…

The holidays must truly be over. I say this because, starting around Sunday, the drumbeat of blogging topics that I haven’t covered but that apparently you, my readers, want me to cover has accelerated. However, before I can move on to what might or might not be greener blogging pastures, material-wise, I feel obligated to…

NOTE: There is a follow up to this post. The holidays are over. Time to start dishing out fresh Insolence, Respectful and, as appropriate, not-so-Respectful for 2015. I do, however, feel obligated to deal with one painfully inappropriate action by a major science journal left over from 2014. It happened in an issue that came…

Ever since moving back to the Detroit area nearly seven years ago, one thing I’ve noticed is a propensity for our local news outlets to go full pseudoscience from time to time. I’m not sure why, other than perhaps that it attracts eyeballs to the screen, but, in reality, most of these plunges into pseudoscience…

15 antivaccine tropes for Christmas

Christmas is over, and we’re in that weird time between Christmas and New Years Day, when, usually at least, I have to work but so many people are out and so few patients seem to want to come in that it hardly seems worth the effort. So it is with the blog, too. The week…

Merry Christmas from Deepak Chopra

As Orac takes a couple of days to commune with family (as amazing as it is, yes, a Plexiglass box of blinking colored lights has a family) and celebrate the season, here’s a lost Christmas gem from Deepak Chopra, who interprets Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. Unfortunately, embedding is disabled; so you’ll have to…

Having recently discovered a veritable Library with Doctor Moon of antivaccine misinformation and quackery known as Modern Alternative Mama’s blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and YouTube channel, I couldn’t resist taking one more drought from the same well. It is, after all, almost Christmas, and truly, as far as the blog is concerned, the discovery…

One of the depressing things about having dedicated over a decade of one’s life to combatting pseudoscience and quackery is that, no matter how much I think I’ve come to be familiar with all the woo that can be out there and all the players promoting that woo, there are always new people popping up.…

Congress polishes the turd that was NCCAM

With the way our dysfunctional federal government works, it’s not uncommon for the end of a fiscal year to come and go without there being a budget for the next fiscal year in place. This phenomenon is particularly common during election years, and this year was no different. September 30 came and went, followed by…

I’ve written quite a few times, both here and elsewhere, about the sham that is known as “traditional Chinese medicine” (TCM). Basically, there is no such thing as TCM per se. There were in the distant past many “traditional Chinese medicines,” various folk medicine traditions that, contrary to what is taught now, did not form…

Not being Australian and, for some reason, never having encountered her promotion of “natural health” online before, I first encountered Jessica Ainscough, also known as “The Wellness Warrior” over a year ago when I learned that her mother Sharyn Ainscough had died of breast cancer. Her mother, it turns out, had rejected conventional treatment for…

After yesterday’s post on the depressingly high (and increasing, apparently) rate of personal belief exemptions to vaccination requirements for entering school in the state of Michigan, I felt the need to pontificate a bit further. The reason is that MLive.com has posted some followup stories. Also, I didn’t have a lot of time last night…

One aspect of my life that’s kind of strange is how I’ve basically ended up back where I started. I was born and raised in southeast Michigan (born in the city of Detroit, actually, although my parents moved to the suburbs when I was 10). After going to college and medical school at the University…

The Dublin doctor who is not beating cancer

As I’ve said so many times before, this blog is my hobby. I write about what interests me for my own amusement. If it also interests you, that’s awesome. Fortunately, I’ve found that several thousand people a day do like what I lay down on a daily basis, sometimes with occasional spikes to ridiculous levels…

After having written about how the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) has promoted guidelines for cancer patients that are—shall we say?—less than scientifically rigorous, I was immediately confronted with just what we face in academic medicine when it comes to the infiltration of quackery, or, as I like to call it, quackademic medicine. It came…

Last week, I discussed a monograph published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs entitled Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Use of Integrative Therapies as Supportive Care in Patients Treated for Breast Cancer. As you might remember, I was completely unimpressed. However, those guidelines were not the only thing in that particular JNCI…

If there’s one thing about having a demanding day job, it’s that the cranks usually have the advantage. They can almost always hit first when a news story comes out that they can spin to attack their detested science. On the other hand, it usually ensures that by the time I get home, have dinner,…

Cancer cure testimonials due to alternative medicine have been a staple of this blog since its very inception. Unfortunately, another staple of this blog since very early on has included stories of children with cancer whose lives have been endangered when their their parents refuse effective cancer therapy for their cancer, in particular chemotherapy. The…

The Central Dogma of Alternative Medicine

I happened to have a busy day yesterday, and in addition today’s a deadline to submit a letter of intent for a grant application, as well as to write a response to some criticism in a letter to the editor of my recent Nature Reviews Cancer article. (Trust me, it’s fun.) Never one to let…

It should come as a surprise to no one that I’m not exactly a fan of “integrative oncology”—or integrative medicine, or “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), or whatever its proponents want to call it these days. After all, I’ve spent nearly ten years writing this blog and nearly seven years running another blog dedicated to…