Critical thinking

Terra Sigillata

Category archives for Critical thinking

What is squalene?

Meet squalene: Squalene is a 30-carbon branched structure made from isoprene units in the production of cholesterol and other endogenous compounds such as glucocorticoids and sex steroids. We all have squalene in our bodies. We NEED squalene. All mammals make squalene. Even fungi make squalene (for a compound called ergosterol that is required in their…

. . . or as Dr Barrett refers to it more accurately, Insurance Reform. On Friday, Sarah Avery of the News & Observer reported on her interview with the now-retired Pennsylvania psychiatrist who started the Quackwatch.com website in 1996 following years of investigating fraudulent health practices. From the Quackwatch Mission Statement: Quackwatch is now an…

My clinical counterpart, surgical oncologist Dr David Gorski, has an excellent post up today at Science-Based Medicine on the irresponsible and misleading information being provided at The Huffington Post during the current H5N1/2009 influenza (“swine flu”) outbreak. “The Huffington Post’s War on Medical Science: A Brief History” provides a cautionary tale for us in embracing…

PalMD has a nice post up at denialism blog reviewing a recent NYT article on a foundation run by DKNY’s Donna Karan donating $850,000 USD to Beth Israel Medical Center to study the combination of Eastern and Western healing methods. PalMD has the details but he then gets into an area about which I am…

Here’s an update on E. coli-gate in Tularosa, NM: Okay, so it’s more than fluid – it’s about a pint of sludge left in front of each house where the garbage truck stopped. But this is ridiculous: [Tularosa resident Ken] Riedlinger took samples from the sludge puddle to the Diagnostic and Technology Center in Alamogordo…

BusinessWeek sends us Airborne

Many thanks to science and medical senior writer Cathy Arnst of BusinessWeek for the unexpected coverage online a couple of days ago in their Working Parents blog. Ms Arnst cited Terra Sig and one of our previous posts in discussing the additional FTC settlement funds to be provided by the makers of Airborne for false…

Most people know of methadone as a long-term substitution therapy for people addicted to heroin, morphine, or other similar drugs called opiates or opioids. A good, free full-text description of methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) can be found in the 15 June 2001 issue of American Family Physician. Now, in the 1 August 2008 issue of…

George Carlin 1937-2008

John Lynch let us know last evening about Carlin’s passing on Sunday. I think you’ll find many people sharing their favorite George Carlin moments today. I found him to be remarkably observant on how language is used to deal with social and political issues (“shell shock” became “battle fatigue” which then became “post-traumatic stress disorder’).…

Naw. This is more likely a case of an older person flushing some old prescription drugs down the toilet: In a February interview with The Associated Press, Mayor Robert Cluck said trace concentrations of one pharmaceutical had been found in treated drinking water, but he declined to name it. He said revealing the name in…

Debunking “bunkum”

I did not know this: In the spirit of our recent hosting of the Tar Heel Tavern blog carnival and our general posts on debunking alternative medicine, I learned today about the source of these two words with ties to the homeland. Miss Cellania’s always informative posts at mental_floss blog linked today to Neatorama’s, 10…