Medicine

White Coat Underground

Category archives for Medicine

As we ramped up for the H1N1 influenza pandemic last year, one of the worries expressed by the public and by the alternative medicine establishment was Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS). As explained by neurologist Steven Novella, GBS is a serious auto-immune neurologic disease that causes weakness. It is often preceded by a relatively mild upper…

I’m not sure what to write about this, but I feel a need to write something. There has been an interesting and infuriating discussion going on at Jason and Zuska’s blogs. Jason, whose posts on learning and cognition rock, started the discussion with an examination of a small amount of scientific literature on pornography. He’s…

Not just stupid, but dangerous

Joe Mercola’s website has always been a “target-rich environment” for quack hunters. His rants against vaccines, his incorrect flu information, his support of homeopathy, and just about everything else at his website comes free of evidence and full of unfounded assertions (as well as some seriously side-splitting giggles). But his latest post up at—where else?—the…

Not an opium poppy I took this picture a couple of days ago. This poppy popped up as a volunteer in my front bed. It’s about four feet tall and the flower is about 5 cm in diameter. It’s not an opium poppy, but it could pass, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to…

In memoriam

According to my family’s recollection, none of our relatives has died fighting for the United States. My grandmother was from a small town in what is now Belarus and most people in the family were born, lived, and died there. One of her brothers, though, did something remarkable. If family memories are correct, he left…

A cruel hoax

As summer approaches and people spend more time outdoors, many parts of the country will start to see cases of Lyme disease. It is carried by deer ticks and is especially common in the Northeast. Tick bites often go unnoticed, but the rash of Lyme disease is pretty characteristic and occurs in about 70-80% of…

As my regular readers know, I’m not a big fan of our current health care system. Our bloated, industry-driven system manages to deliver less effective care at a higher cost than most other industrialized nations. The system is Byzantine, unnavigable, and dangerous, and is kept that way in the name of the Holy Market. But…

Quack updates

A few news items of import: Andrew Wakefield, formerly a licensed to practice medicine in England, has officially lost that privilege.  Others have covered this more comprehensively than I’d ever be able to, but this is big news.  Wakefield is the father of the modern anti-vaccine movement.  His study of a putative relationship between the…

Too many too soon?

Too many too soon: that’s Jenny McCarthy’s rallying cry.  The disingenuous activists of the antivaccine movement use this motto as a foot in the door, claiming that they are not truly “anti-vaccine”, just pro-”safe vaccines”.  This is despite the fact that vaccines have proved themselves to be one of the safest and most effective medical…

A challenge to homeopaths

Dana Ullman, a Huffington Post blogger who never fails to bring the stupid, has now gathered all the idiocy he can find, put it in a wheelbarrow, and dumped it into his latest piece up at HuffPo. In this piece, he calls on readers to stop all medications (except, presumably, the voodoo potions he approves…