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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…

Mmmm…. #baconblogwars

Of all the crappy things I eat, bacon is probably the crappiest. Thankfully, I eat it only rarely, but if you were to put a pound of cooked bacon in front of me, I would eat a pound of cooked bacon and ask for more. But since I want to live long enough to watch…

I hate writing about politics, but the mainstreaming of racism since the election of Obama makes writing about politics a moral imperative. We’ll start with Dr. Rand Paul, who is running for one Kentucky’s senate seats. The usual racist dog whistles are apparently too subtle for Paul, which is good. I’d rather a politician be…

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…

If there were a parallel universe, and in that universe medicine, instead of being based on science, was simply a gemisch of various folkways and superstitions, medicine in that universe would be called “naturopathy”. “Remember. Hey, how come this never works with water?” I’ve discussed the absurdity of naturopathy nux vomica ad nauseum, but a…

From the medical journals

Common osteoporosis drugs do not increase the risk of unusual fractures (probably): Bisphosphonates (such as Fosamax and Actonel), a class of medications used to prevent fractures in osteoporosis, are effective in preventing certain types of common back and hip fractures.  As we’ve developed more patient-years of experience with the drugs, we’ve found certain problems, such…

The Pill and altmed idiocy

We’re now fifty years into the history of oral contraceptive pills, and we’ve learned an enormous amount. We’ve learned about various therapeutic uses of the Pill and unanticipated risks. We’ve learned to adjust the amount of medication to a lower effective dose. We’ve given women the opportunity to very effectively control their own fertility in…

Bad science, done badly. It’s bad.

So-called “morgellons syndrome” is an interesting phenomenon. This syndrome is not at this point generally recognized by the medical community, but its sufferers describe many different systemic symptoms, such as “brain fog” and fatigue, and characteristic skin lesions which they describe as containing or extruding an unknown substance. The patients are most often diagnosed as…

It’s not my fault!

You know that big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?  It turns out that the folks who drilled it, the folks who pumped it, and the folks who worked on it weren’t at fault—at least according to their sworn congressional testimony.  And I sure as hell know it’s not my fault.  I mean, I…