Clinical trials

Category archives for Clinical trials

There’s a new clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing a beneficial effect due to cannabidiol, a chemical isolated from marijuana, on drug-resistant seizures due to Dravet syndrome. Medical marijuana advocates are crowing, “I told you so!” As is usually the case, the real story is more nuanced.

Thanks to social media, fake news, conspiracy theories, and health scams spread faster and farther than ever. The world is in need of critical thinking skills now more than ever. Fortunately, there is hope. Critical thinking can be taught, but teaching these skills works best if you start young.

Two badly designed, incompetently performed “studies” that claimed to show that unvaccinated children are healthier than unvaccinated children were briefly published by a bottom feeding, predatory “open access” journal, and then they disappeared, having apparently been retracted. Now they’re back, like Freddie Krueger, Jason, or Michael Myers, and antivaxers are rejoicing. I guess the check must have finally cleared.

In the course of just a couple days, a pair of atrociously incompetent studies by Andrew Wakefield fanboy Anthony Mawson were published and retracted by a predatory open access publisher. Surveying the reactions of antivaccine activists, I can’t help but conclude that their tears of unfathomable sadness are delicious.

Antivaccine “studies” never die. They always return to promote disease among children.

Just over two years ago, the Society for Integrative Medicine issued clinical guidelines for breast cancer care. Now it’s updated them. Unfortunately, mixing cow pie with apple pie for a little longer doesn’t make the cow pie any better than it was last time.

Last month, the Texas Medical Board fined Houston cancer quack Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and placed his practice under supervision. It did not strip him of his medical license, as he deserves. The result is that families of children with terminal cancer are once again raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to follow his siren song of false hope.

Ill-advised right-to-try bills are spreading like kudzu through state legislatures. Now federal legislators want to insert right-to-try language into the bill that funds FDA drug approval. Given the support of powerful Republicans for right-to-try, is it too late to stop this juggernaut and protect patients?

In less than two weeks, the Trump administration will have passed that magical “first 100 days” marker. Let’s check in and see how Donald Trump is shaping federal biomedical policy thus far. Hint: It’s deregulation über alles.

Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD, wants you to know she is a doctor. She also wants you to know that you can “reset” your hormones and genes with food and saunas. In the case of the saunas, she’s put the preclinical cart before the clinical horse and extrapolated animal and early molecular epidemiological data off of a cliff.

I’ve been writing a long time about a phenomenon that I like to refer to as “quackademic medicine,” defined as the infiltration into academic medical centers and medical school of unscientific and pseudoscientific treatment modalities that are unproven or disproven. Few seem to listen. That’s why it’s reassuring to see a mainstream news publication get it (mostly) right about this phenomenon.

I’ve been blogging fairly regularly about Houston cancer quack Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski since 2011, and now the story is over…sort of. Unfortunately, as you will see, the ending is far from ideal. It is, however, somewhat better than I had feared it might be. What I’m referring to, of course, is the final ruling of…

Antivaccine studies never die, even if they are retracted. They rise to kill again.

I like to refer to homeopathy as The One Quackery To Rule Them All, so much so that I almost always call it that within the first two paragraphs of any post I write about some tasty bit of homeopathy pseudoscience. It’s also a wonderful tool for teaching critical thinking because it’s easy to explain…

One of the overarching themes of this blog, if not the overarching theme, is to expose and combat the infiltration of quackery into medicine. What I’m referring to, of course, is the phenomenon that’s risen over the last 25 years or so in which various pseudoscientific alternative medicine therapies (but I repeat myself) have found…

All of the candidates being considered by President Trump for FDA Commissioner believe that the FDA is too strict in its standards for approving new drugs. In a commentary in Nature last week, two bioethicists argued that, at least in terms of preclinical data, the standard of evidence is actually too low. Which is correct?

About a week ago, I happened upon a number of stories about a study and project that demonstrates a key difference between science and pseudoscience. They had titles like, “Rigorous replication effort succeeds for just two of five cancer papers” (Science), “Cancer reproducibility project releases first results: An open-science effort to replicate dozens of cancer-biology…

One of the core beliefs of the antivaccine movement is that there is an “autism epidemic.” The observation that autism prevalence has been climbing for the last two to three decades led some parents with autistic children to look for a cause, specifically an environmental cause, for autism. Because several vaccines are given in the…

So I was distracted yesterday from what I had intended to write about by an irresistible target provided me courtesy of Toby Cosgrove, MD, CEO of The Cleveland Clinic, who bemoaned all those nasty pro-science advocates who had had the temerity to link the antivaccine rant by the director of the Clinic’s Wellness Institute to…

If there’s one thing that proponents of “integrative medicine” (or, as it’s been called in the past, “complementary and alternative medicine,” or CAM) take great pains to emphasize whenever defending their integration of prescientific and pseudoscientific medicine into medicine, it’s that they do not recommend using “alternative medicine” instead of real medicine but in addition…

The unreality of reiki and distance healing

Well, it’s 2017. In a mere 17 days, unreality will become reality, as the most unlikely and terrifying President in my lifetime is sworn in. Consequently, as I was thinking about what I’d like to write about for my first post of the new year, only one thing came to mind. Only one thing that…

Quackademic medicine. I didn’t invent the term. (Dr. R. W. Donnell did—nearly nine years ago.) However, I sure use it a lot, because it perfectly describes a phenomenon that has proliferated and metastasized throughout the body of academic medicine like the cancer it is. I like to think that, in my own way, I’ve popularized…

Blogging is a funny thing. Sometimes the coincidence involved is epic. For instance, as I do on many Mondays, yesterday I crossposted a modified and updated version of a post from a week ago from my not-so-super-secret other blog. This time around, it just so happened to be a post about what I like to…

Yesterday, I noted the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, a Hobson’s choice of a bill for those of us who support increased biomedical research funding that basically said: You can have an increase in the NIH budget. You can have the Cancer Moonshot. You can have President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative and his…

Well, it’s done. Today, the Senate passed the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill designed to weaken the FDA and empower pharmaceutical companies, sending it to President Obama’s desk. There’s no way Obama won’t sign it, as it contains provisions funding his Precision Medicine Initiative, and he supported it all along. For all its flaws,…