Medicine

Category archives for Medicine

What is an “altie”?

How does one identify a hard core believer in alternative medicine, sometimes called in the distant past an “altie.” Well, this helpful list, culled from nine years ago, will aid you in spotting the identifying signs…

When it comes to expansion and infiltrating medicine, “integrative medicine” has frequently seemed like the Terminator: utterly relentless. Recent setbacks at major integrative medicine “Crown Jewels” resulting in their closure cast that narrative in doubt. However, I never forget that after its seeming destruction, the Terminator always comes back.

Nikola Tesla was a physicist known to dabble in strange ideas, and that’s probably why pseudoscientists have appropriated them to justify quackery and fringe ideas. However, I doubt even Tesla can be used to justify the Tesla Purple Energy Shield and various other “Tesla Purple Energy” products.

Orac finds it necessary and desirable to take a break to contemplate a black hole and recharge his Tarial cells. Here’s what will happen in his absence (not much).

Cassandra Callender made national news a couple of years ago when at age 17 she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and refused chemotherapy. The court ordered that she undergo appropriate treatment, but unfortunately she relapsed and chose treatment at a quack clinic in Mexico. Continuing to progress, she finally chose real medicine to treat her cancer. Let’s hope that it’s not too late to save her.

Antivaxers often complain that they are judged harshly. It turns out that they are probably correct. But is this a bad thing? More importantly, what about the children, who didn’t choose not to be vaccinated?

Bloggers at the Age of Autism blog, like most antivaccine activists, vehemently deny that they are antivaccine, claiming instead that they are “vaccine safety” advocates. Their denials are belied by their having published many posts about a “Vaccine Holocaust.”

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.

A story in The Washington Free Beacon claims that Tipper Gore will be appearing at a fundraiser for Kathleen Murphy, a Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates running for reelection to be held by Claire and Albert Dwoskin, two rich antivaxers and donors to the Democratic Party. If the story is true and not fake news that’s bad, but even if it turns out not to be true I just had to discuss the Dwoskins, who have been funding antivaccine “studies” for several years now.

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.

Chiropractors and acupuncturists have lobbied for a greater role in treating pain. They might well have won it. Last week, the FDA released proposed changes Wednesday to its blueprint on educating health care providers about treating pain, which now recommend that doctors learn about chiropractic care and acupuncture as therapies that might help patients avoid opioids. There’s still time to stop this, but you have to write the FDA.

In the Journal of Integrative Medicine, acupuncturists argue for modernizing acupuncture by uncoupling it from its traditional Chinese medicine background and avoiding the mystical language about qi and meridians. Hilarity ensues, because acupuncture can’t be separated from the prescientific mysticism from which it arose.

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.

Antivaxers are planning on publishing the personal information of employees of the Boston Herald because the paper published an editorial saying that promoting antivaccine misinformation among a vulnerable population should be a “hanging offense.” Meanwhile, overblown allusions to the Holocaust are going into overdrive. Same as it ever was.

Last week, the Boston Herald published an editorial about how antivaxers deceived a community of Somali immigrants in Minnesota, referring to the spreading of deadly misinformation as a “hanging offense.” Antivaxers took an ill-advised idiom and turned it into a threat of mass lynchings, ignoring their own violent imagery about vaccines and portraying themselves as “pro-vaccine,” and used it as justification to threaten to publish the home addresses and phone numbers of newspaper employees. Yes, they are disingenuous and hypocritical as hell.

Acupuncturists complain that the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends treatments for knee osteoarthritis for which the evidence is weak. They think that means that NICE should also accept acupuncture. In reality, it means that NICE should stop recommending treatments without support by strong scientific evidence.

Antivaxers targeted a. vulnerable community of Somali immigrants in Minnesota. The result: A large (and growing) measles outbreak. Thanks, Andy.

Yesterday, Orac made a rare oversight. He missed an antivaccine study that’s risen from the dead once again after having been retracted. He is more than happy to correct that oversight here and now by applying some Insolence to the second study as well and to express amusement that it appears that both studies have been retracted yet again.

Antivaccine activists have been targeting the community of Somali immigrants in Minnesota for over a decade now, with devastating results. In the midst of a growing measles outbreak, antivaxers have descended upon the community to keep promoting antivaccine quackery.

Since being given a slap on the wrist by the Texas Medical Board for his many years of peddling his antineoplastons, a treatment that’s never been shown to have significant anticancer activity, Stanislaw Burzynski is back in action again, preying on desperate cancer patients like it’s 1999.

It’s been a bad week for the Gray Lady in the science department. Hot off the heels of hiring a climate science denier for its op-ed section, it’s published a credulous article that uncritically touts a book full of dubious alternative medicine testimonials.

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.

Transhumanism is the idea that one day humans will merge with machines, to the betterment of humankind. Antivaxers have a thing for transhumanism too. They think that somehow the real purpose of DNA vaccines is to prepare the human race for transhumanism.

This week, the FDA sent warning letters to 14 companies making unsupported claims that their products can treat cancer. Given the new administration’s determination to deregulate almost everything, but especially the FDA, is this the last time in the foreseeable future that such a crackdown will occur?

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.