Clinical trials

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Clinical trials

Why we fight for patients

Never let it be said that Orac can’t match Mark Crislip in shameless promotion. The world might indeed need more Mark Crislip™, but I like to think that it needs a bit more of his friends, too. So, in that spirit, here are the videos, recently released by the James Randi Educational Foundation, of Bob…

If there’s one medical treatment that proponents of “alternative medicine” love to hate, it’s chemotherapy. Rants against “poisoning” are a regular staple on “alternative health” websites, usually coupled with insinuations or outright accusations that the only reason oncologists administer chemotherapy is because of the “cancer industrial complex” in which big pharma profits massively from selling…

As I mentioned yesterday, one of the things I do on this blog that I consider to be a public service is to analyze cancer cure testimonials that are used to sell alternative medicine. Indeed, I did just that yesterday for a testimonial by someone Chris Wark, who will probably feature again one more time…

Here we go with another one. Three weeks ago, I mentioned in a post that the week of October 7 to 14 was declared by our very own United States Senate to be Naturopathic Medicine Week, which I declared unilaterally through my power as managing editor of Science-Based Medicine (for what that’s worth) to be…

Cancer chemotherapy and obesity

In medicine, particularly oncology, it’s often the little things that matter. Sometimes, however, the “little things” aren’t actually little; they just seem that way. I was reminded of this by a story that was circulating a couple of weeks ago in the national media, often under titles like “Obese cancer patients often shorted on chemo…

Tomorrow, as mandated by the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act (PPACA, often called just the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, or “Obamacare”), the government-maintained health insurance exchanges will open for business (that is, assuming the likely government shutdown doesn’t stop them temporarily). This post will be basically a followup to a post I…

I’ve written a lot about Stanislaw Burzynski and what I consider to be his unethical use and abuse of institutional review boards and clinical trials. Before that, I used to regularly write about Mark and David Geier and their unethical use and abuse of IRBs and clinical trials. In both cases, I lamented how they…

About a week and a half ago, I wrote about a local oncologist who was arrested by the FBI for massive Medicare fraud in which physician involved diagnosed cancers that weren’t there, gave chemotherapy to patients who either didn’t have cancer or were in remission and thus didn’t need it, and had developed a self-referral…

Recently, I got an e-mail from someone who had just discovered my blog that made me think a bit, which is usually a good thing. At least, in this case it was. Basically, this reader asked me a question I hadn’t been asked in a very long time and hadn’t thought about in a very…

“Alternative medicine,” so-called “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), or, as it’s become fashionable to call it, “integrative medicine” is a set of medical practices that are far more based on belief than science. As my good bud and collaborator Mark Crislip so pointedly reminded us last week, CAM is far more akin to religion than…

Time really does fly. It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a week since I gave my big (to me, at least) talk at TAM. It’s equally hard to believe that it’s been more than a week since I had the honor of being kicked out of Penn Jillette’s Private Rock & Roll Bacon…

Believe it or not, I’m going to do Eric Merola (who doesn’t particularly like me, to the point of thinking, apparently, that I’m a white supremacist who doesn’t like evidence but does like to eat puppies) a favor. Having been away at TAM, somehow I missed this. Well, actually, I didn’t miss it, but somehow…

As I write this, I’m winging my way home from TAM, crammed uncomfortably—very uncomfortably—in a window seat in steerage—I mean, coach). I had thought of simply recounting the adventures of the contingent of skeptics with whom I’m associated who did make it out to TAM to give talks at workshops and the main stage and…

Here we go again. Oh, well. These things come in waves, and sometimes I have theme weeks. Right now, this week appears to be developing into a week of quackademic medicine involving dubious acupuncture studies. Yesterday, it was acupuncture for lymphedema after breast cancer surgery, a study coming right about what is rapidly becoming the…

I want my ANP! [NOTE ADDENDUM]

[NOTE ADDENDUM.] It’s been a (mostly) all Stanislaw Burzynski week. I had been thinking of finishing up with a post about something completely unrelated; that is, until people started sending me a link. Also, because I was out last night with my wife in celebration of our wedding anniversary, I didn’t have time for anything…

It was a busy day yesterday, and I had less time than usual to attend to the blog, but that’s OK. This random thought popped into my head after spending the last three days writing about Stanislaw Burzynski, first reviewing Eric Merola’s hagiography and infomercial about him, then seeing how well the BBC did in…

I realize that I’ve been focusing on Stanislaw Burzynski the last couple of days, but it’s just been one of those weeks. Between the release of Eric Merola’s latest paean to the Brave Maverick Doctor and BBC Panorama’s report on Burzynski and his activities, it’s been an eventful week. My review of the second Burzynski…

Well, I’ve finally seen it, and it was even worse than I had feared. One might even say that watching it was like repeatedly smacking my head into a brick wall. It felt so good when it finally stopped. I’m referring, of course, to Eric Merola’s latest cinematic “effort. Ever since it was revealed that…

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. OK, I know I use that line entirely too much, but I also don’t really care. When something fits, wear it. And if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit. Sorry, I’ll stop. I’m in a weird mood as I write this. But it’s…

That naturopathy is a veritable cornucopia of quackery mixed with the odd sensible, science-based suggestion here and there is not in doubt, at least not to supporters of science-based medicine (SBM). However, what naturopaths are very good at doing is representing their pseudoscience as somehow being scientific and thus on par with actual SBM. So…

I’m not alone in pointing this out, but if there’s one thing about research and clinical trials into “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) that has become very apparent to me over the years, it’s that the more rigorous the study the less likely it is to show an effect. In normal research, the usual progression…

A key pillar of the Stanislaw Burzynski antineoplaston marketing machine, a component of the marketing strategy without which his clinic would not be able to attract nearly as many desperate cancer patients to Houston for either his antineoplaston therapy (now under a temporary shutdown by the FDA that, if science were to reign, will become…

I’ve been very, very critical of a self-proclaimed cancer doctor named Stanislaw Burzynski, who is not an oncologist but somehow has managed over the last 36 years to treat patients with unapproved cancer drugs, list dozens of phase 2 clinical trials in ClinicalTrials.gov but never publish a completed one (at least to this date), and…

Stem cells are magical, mystical things that can’t be explained. At least, if you listen to what docs and “practitioners” who run stem cell clinics in various parts of the world, usually where regulation is lax and money from First World clientele is much sought after, that’s what you could easily come to believe. Unfortunately,…

Politics versus scientific peer review

In the United States, the federal government has long had a prominent role in funding science research. Be it the $30 billion a year or so that funds the National Institutes of Health or the $5 or $6 billion a year allotted to the National Science Foundation, the government funds a lot of basic and…