Biology

Category archives for Biology

Every so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times, thanks to R01 deadlines. So enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from back in September 2007 that, shockingly, as far as I can tell…

Here and elsewhere in the blogosphere, over the last several years, what started out as a more general interest in skepticism and science with a natural focus on medicine and a side interest in combatting Holocaust denial became more focused on promoting science-based medicine. As the saying goes, “Science, it works, bitches,” and I make…

Over the years, I’ve written a lot about cell phones and the scientifically highly implausible claim that radio waves from cellular telephones can lead to brain cancer and other health problems. For example, two years ago, when the then director of the respected University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center, Dr. Ronald B. Herberman issued a warning…

If there’s one aspect of medical education that I consider to be paramount, at least when it comes to understanding how to analyze and apply all the evidence, both basic science and clinical, it’s a firm grounding in the scientific method. I advocate science-based medicine (SBM), which is what evidence-based medicine (EBM) should be. SBM…

Fructose and pancreatic cancer

I hate science press releases. Well, not exactly. I hate science press releases that hype a study beyond its importance. I hate it even more when the investigators who published the study make statements not justified by the study and use the study as a jumping off point to speculate wildly. True, it’s not always…

I’ve been a critic of Arianna Huffington’s massive group blog, The Huffington Post, since three weeks after it first blighted the blogosphere. That’s when I first noticed that the “health” section (such as it is) of HuffPo had already become a wretched hive of scum and anti-vaccine quackery, something I began documenting again and again…

Grant writing status report

Status report: I’m in the home stretch of writing my grant. It will be finished by 8 AM, when I have to be at work again, in tip top mental condition for the meetings I’ll have to endure all morning. (What the heck happened to not doing anything substantive the day before a holiday weekend?…

I don’t know if I need to get out the infamous paper bag or–even worse–the Doctor Doom mask out yet. As you may recall (if you are a long time reader, anyway) is that the mind-numbing stupidity of certain MDs has driven me to want to hide my face in utter shame at the embarrassment…

I’ve had the immense good fortune to have trained and ultimately become a physician-scientist during a time when the pace of discovery and the paradigm changes in science have occurred just over the course of my career in medicine and science has been staggering. microRNA, the shift from single gene studies to genomics, the development…

Of all the “alternative” therapies out there, arguably the most studied is the modality known as acupuncture. Perhaps the reason is that, unlike homeopathy, which based on physics, chemistry, and biology alone is so implausible that, for it to “work,” huge swaths of well-established physics and chemistry would have to be shown to be not…

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for any length of time longer than a few weeks knows what I think of Deepak Chopra. Indeed, he’s been a recurring topic here since the very beginning (just type his name into the search box for this blog if you don’t believe me). In fact, Chopra has “distinguished”…

If there’s one thing that has irritated me (one might even say, irritated me enough to start this blog), it’s ideology or religion trumping science. Perhaps the most annoying form of this disease is the tendency of the right wing whackosphere to do everything and anything it can to distort and twist science to agree…

Cancer research: Is now our time?

The following is a rather curious promotional video that was shown at the plenary sessions of the AACR 2010 meeting. I first saw it yesterday, and thought my readers might be interested in it while I’m winding my way home: It’s basically a compendium of various facts about cancer and cancer research with a rather…

Last month, in response to some truly despicable activities by animal rights zealots, I wrote a series of posts about how animal rights activists target even researchers’ children and appear to fetishize violence. This simply continued a string of posts that I’ve done over the years, the longest (and, in my not-so-humble-opinion, the best) deconstructs…

Feeling stressed? Run down? Is your face not as chipper and toned as it might be? Of course you are. We all are from time to time, particularly as we journey into middle age and beyond. So what better than a bit of pampering at the spa? There’s nothing like a soothing facial to get…

I hadn’t really planned on writing anymore about animal rights extremists. The topic seemed as though it had played out over the few days. But those who’ve followed this blog know that I’m nothing if not tenacious when I grab onto a topic, and sometimes certain topics demand several posts. More importantly, over the last…

I spent a lot of time writing about animal rights extremists who have threatened to harass the children of an investigator whom they view as a “vivisector” and how they fetishize the very violence they decry. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to see that a fellow ScienceBlogger, namely Eric Michael Johnson of The Primate Diaries, appears…

Animal rights: Fetishizing violence?

As much as I hate to bring more attention than I did a couple of days ago to the truly evil animal rights extremist website run by a truly despicable animal rights terrorist wannabe Camille Marino, a website whose very title, Negotiation Is Over (NIO) tells you everything you need to know about the attitude…

I have to admit, this one made me chuckle. In an earlier post today, in which I expressed my outrage at animal rights terrorists targeting an investigator’s children for harassment at their school, I asked the following question: That reminds me: Where were these animal rights loons when “Andrew Wakefield was torturing baby Macacque monkeys…

Remember Dario Ringach? He’s the scientist who has endured a prolonged campaign of harassment because of his animal research. I first heard of him in 2006, when, after a campaign of threatening phone calls, people frightening his children, and demonstrations in front of his home, gave up doing primate research. Terrorism and intimidation worked, but…

A couple of months ago, I wrote about a case that demonstrated conclusively just how easily even respected researchers can be taken in by psuedoscience. Of course, I was not alone. A number of others, including Steve Novella, James Randi, bioethicist Art Caplan, Hank Schlinger, and myself, recognized the reports that a Belgian man named…

Over the holidays, I stayed at home for a combination of some relaxation and some grant writing. (I know, weird.) As I was perusing some of the links I saved during that time, it occurs to me that I totally forgot about one particularly amazing bit of hilarity, courtesy of our old “friend” Deepak Chopra.…

He’s baaaack. Deepak Chopra. Remember him? It’s been a while since I’ve said much about him and him alone. True, I’ve gone after him this year when he joined up with three other major league woo-meisters Dean Ornish, Rustum Roy, and Andrew Weil to try to try to help Senator Tom Harkin hijack the health…

I was going to join PZ Myers, ERV, and Pamela Ronald in helping out an old blogging friend and former host of the Skeptics’ Circle, Karl Mogel of The Inoculated Mind by pimping his other science-based blog Biofortified, which seeks to provide a science- and evidence-based discussion of plant genetics and genetic engineering. Unfortunately, as…

I knew it! I knew there had to be an explanation that young earth creationists could come up with for all that evidence in support of evolution: (WARNING: Borderline NSFW, depending on your job. Definitely offensive to fundamentalists.) It’s so obvious. Why didn’t I think of it before?