Quackery

Category archives for Quackery

There are many myths that undergird antivaccine beliefs, such as the myth that vaccines cause autism, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome, and basically anything antivaccinationists like to blame on them. Basically, if you believe antivaccinationists, there’s nothing bad thta vaccines can’t do to children. The flip side of this myth is perhaps the…

Eight months ago, I asked the question: Did chiropractic manipulation of her neck cause Katie May’s stroke? Now, it appears, I know the answer, and the answer is yes: Katie May, a model who posed for Playboy and gained a massive following on Snapchat, suffered a “catastrophic” stroke in early February and later died after…

It’s been a while since I wrote about Stanislaw Burzynski, the Polish ex-pat physician who is not an oncologist but treats cancer patients in his Houston clinic with a mixture of a compound he calls “antineoplastons” (ANPs) and “gene-targeted” therapy. The former are really a mixture of various chemicals he isolated from the blood and…

I noticed the other day that I haven’t been visiting the merry band of antivaccine activists and bloggers over at their very own wretched hive of scum and quackery, Age of Autism, nearly as much as I used to. I have mentioned them in passing a couple of times recently, but nothing caught my attention…

What is it about Florida and quacks? It’s as though it’s the Wild West there when it comes to regulating the practice of medicine. There, quacks can get away with almost anything, or so it would seem. After all, Brian Clement, who isn’t even a doctor and isn’t even really a naturopath either, has been…

Whenever we discuss vaccines and vaccine hesitancy, thanks to Andrew Wakefield the one vaccine that almost always comes up is the MMR, which is the combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. In 1998, Wakefield published a case series of cherry-picked patients in which he strongly inferred that the MMR vaccine was associated with autism and “autistic enterocolitis.” Of…

There’s a class of studies that I sometimes refer to as “Well, duh!” studies because their conclusions are so mind-numbingly obvious that one wonders why anyone did the study in the first place. Sometimes that name is meant sarcastically, as in, “Why did these investigators waste the time, effort, and resources to do this study?…

Whenever I refer to quackademic medicine and how the infiltration of quackery into medical academia has led to unethical clinical that are not only pseudoscientific wastes of money but potentially downright harmful to patients, two always come to mind. The first is the trial that tested the late Nicholas Gonzalez’s protocol for advanced pancreatic cancer,…

One of the things that first led me to understand the dangers of quackademic medicine was a trial known as the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy, or TACT. Chelation therapy, as you might recall, is the infusion of a chelating agent, or a chemical that binds heavy metals and makes it easier for the kidney…

I’m sure that most of you watched the Presidential debate on Monday night, just as I did. Over the years, these debates have always always painful for me to watch, given the candidates’ tendency to answer the question they want to answer rather than the question actually answered; to find ways to spew prepackaged talking…

It’s been nearly three weeks since we learned that the Medical Board of California had initiated disciplinary proceedings against the most famous antivaccine physician not named Andrew Wakefield. I’m referring, of course, to “Dr. Bob” Sears, author of The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child and creator of an “alternate” vaccine schedule…

One of the most pernicious changes in medicine that’s occurred over the last 25 years or so is the infiltration of what I like to refer to as “quackademic medicine.” It’s a term that was, as far as I know, coined by Dr. Robert W. Donnell in 2009 to describe the infiltration of pseudoscience and…

Has another celebrity embraced quackery?

I never in a million years thought I’d be writing a blog post involving Selena Gomez. Gomez, as many, if not most, of you are probably aware is currently a young pop star and actress who got her start as a child actress. Oddly enough, she was on Barney & Friends with Demi Lovato. These…

When I first heard that Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President, was scheduled to appear on The Dr. Oz Show, my first thought was, basically, “Of course he is. What took him so long?” After all, it’s a crank pairing made in heaven. Given that, I considered it my skeptical blogging duty at least…

As regular readers know, last Friday I was quite happy to relay the news that the Medical Board of California had finally acted against a rock star among the antivaccine movement, namely pediatrician “Dr. Bob” Sears. Dr. Sears (or Dr. Bob, as he likes to be called) rocketed to prominence among the vaccine-averse and downright…

I didn’t think I’d be revisiting this topic again so soon, but damned if Alice Dreger didn’t write something that comes pretty close to demanding that I do so. I tried to resist, but unfortunately could not. Basically, I’m getting really, really tired of Dreger. Why do I say that? It’s because I’m having a…

In the early days of this blog, I came up with a concept. That concept was based on the idea that on Friday I would try hard not to be so serious. On Fridays, I would seek out the finest woo in the world and aim a bit of my not-so-Respectful Insolence. Thus was born…

After all the bad news that I’ve been blogging about, it’s a pleasure for me to end the week with a bit of very good news, very good news indeed. That news came in the form of an article published in the Orange County Register with the glorious title Dr. Bob Sears faces medical board…

Believe it or not (and you probably won’t believe it), but I never intended to post today, as it’s a holiday, and I had to write my usual level post for my not-so-super-secret other blog. But then one of you had to send me this: I couldn’t resist at least a quick comment on this.

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been approximately 16 years since I first discovered that there was such a thing as antivaccinationists. Think of it this way. I was around 37 or so when, while wandering around Usenet (remember Usenet?), I found the newsgroup misc.health.alternative (or m.h.a. for short), a discussion group about,…

Last night was one of those nights where I was working late because I was asked to do a panel discussion on breast cancer last night. Such are the perils of being a breast cancer expert, I guess. That doesn’t mean I don’t have time for an uncharacteristically brief notice of some particularly dumb bit…

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…

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…