Posts

April 26, 2015

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7:35 PM | Dr. Oz Accuses Critics of Trying to Silence Him
TV's Dr. Oz has come under fire by critics for spreading medical misinformation, but he's defiant.
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7:14 PM | Fatal attraction: the intuitive appeal of GMO opposition
A team of Belgian philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions GM crops have made to sustainable agriculture. They argue that the human mind is highly susceptible to the negative and often emotional representations put out by […]

Blancke, S., Van Breusegem, F., De Jaeger, G., Braeckman, J. & Van Montagu, M. (2015). Fatal attraction: the intuitive appeal of GMO opposition, Trends in Plant Science, DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2015.03.011

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2:44 AM | slugs, and snails, and … facials?
Today's Life/Style section in the Herald on Sunday brings us the latest 'beauty trend' to hit our shores: the snail facial. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently one can (if one has a sufficiency of funds) already purchase Snail...

April 25, 2015

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5:59 PM | Mental disorders do not predict violence, so please stop
When Sandy Hook happened, it was so shocking that to this day, some don’t actually believe it happened. Shortly after, something frustrating happened, the shooter was labeled with aspergers. This helped drive the mental health and violence connection to the point that Time came out with an article dispelling that myth. Even now according to […]

Elkington, K., Teplin, L., Abram, K., Jakubowski, J., Dulcan, M. & Welty, L. (2015). Psychiatric Disorders and Violence: A Study of Delinquent Youth After Detention, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 54 (4) 302-31200000. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2015.01.002

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1:59 PM | Follow-Up on the Makayla Sault/J.J./Hippocrates Health Institute Case: J.J. Went Back to Chemo
Finally, two items of good news come out of this dreadful affair in which Aboriginal families stopped chemotherapeutic treatment for their leukemic daughters and sought nonsensical pseudoscientific treatment in Florida. While one of the children passed away this winter, the other, known in the media as “J.J.”, is being reported as feeling well. Could it … Continue reading →
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1:59 PM | Follow-Up on the Makayla Sault/J.J./Hippocrates Health Institute Case: J.J. Went Back to Chemo
Finally, two items of good news come out of this dreadful affair in which Aboriginal families stopped chemotherapeutic treatment for their leukemic daughters and sought nonsensical pseudoscientific treatment in Florida. While one of the children passed away this winter, the other, known in the media as “J.J.”, is being reported as feeling well. Could it … Continue reading →

April 24, 2015

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10:00 AM | America’s quack counterattacks by calling his critics industry hacks
Last week, a group of ten doctors led by Dr. Henry Miller, most of whom were affiliated either with the Hoover Institution or the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)—or both—wrote a letter to Lee Goldman, MD, the Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University complaining that Dr. Mehmet…

April 23, 2015

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2:30 AM | Facts about Rhino Horn and Traditional Chinese Medicine!-There...
Facts about Rhino Horn and Traditional Chinese Medicine!-There is only one male Northern White Rhino left on earth-Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) pretend that Rhino horn had medicinal properties-TCM practitioners claim it will cure pretty much anything. I mean, why not?-TCM has seen a resurgence recently as a “natural” and “holistic” alternative to medicine-TCM practitioners reject the ideals of “trials” […]

April 22, 2015

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7:00 AM | Regulating the magic that is homeopathy: The sabotage of poor reporting and false balance
Well, it’s over. I’m referring to the two day hearing held by the FDA in Bethesda seeking public comment regarding how it should modernize its regulation of homeopathic products. Actually, as I discussed before (as did Jann Bellamy over at my favorite other blog, Science-Based Medicine), in fact it’s arguable wither there is currently much,…

April 21, 2015

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12:00 PM | New Wikileaks release peeks behind the scenes of America’s quack
It would appear that some people got the impression that, just because I questioned whether a recent publicity stunt in which ten doctors and researchers, led by a well-known pro-GMO activist working for the Hoover Institution, Dr. Henry Miller, sent a letter to the dean at Columbia University in essence asking him to fire Oz…

April 20, 2015

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6:46 PM | FDA May Start Regulating Homeopathy
Homeopathy--an alternative theory of medicine founded on the notion that “like cures like”--has so far gotten a free pass in the U.S. Although studies suggest homeopathic…
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7:34 AM | A publicity stunt against Dr. Oz threatens to backfire spectacularly
I didn’t think I would be writing about this, but, then again, I seem to say that fairly frequently. Be that as it may, on Friday I wrote about a letter sent to Lee Goldman, MD, the Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine at Columbia University complaining about Dr. Mehmet Oz’s promotion…

April 17, 2015

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10:00 AM | America’s quack, dissected yet again
If there’s one doctor who irritates me possibly more than any other, it’s got to be “America’s Doctor,” a.k.a. Dr. Mehmet Oz, thanks to The Dr. Oz Show. He’s been an all too frequent topic on this blog and at my not-so-super-secret other blog. Of course, I refer to him as “America’s quack,” because, well,…

April 16, 2015

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11:00 AM | Regulating the magic that is homeopathy: I have a very bad feeling about the upcoming FDA public hearing
Once again, repeat after me: Homeopathy is quackery. In fact, it’s what I like to refer to as The One Quackery To Rule Them All. You would think that, in a modern world and given the incredible advancements in our scientific understanding of biology, physiology, chemistry, and physics over the course of the over 200…

April 15, 2015

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11:00 AM | A highly misguided concern about California SB 277 and cracking down on nonmedical vaccine exemptions
It never ceases to amaze me how very smart people can miss some very obvious points. Now, as most of my readers know, I was at NECSS over the weekend. Because I was busy giving a talk, doing panels, and then enjoying other speakers’ talks, I wasn’t paying much attention to some of the issues…

April 14, 2015

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10:00 AM | Combatting antiscience denialism and quackery
I spent a nice long weekend in New York at NECSS, which has grown to quite the big skeptical conference since the last time I was there five years ago. The Friday Science-Based Medicine session went quite well and, as far as I could tell, appeared to be well-received; so hopefully we will be doing…
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10:00 AM | Read: Dr. Labos on Natural Health Products (in the National Post)
If the first episode of Dr. Labos’ and my new podcast, The Body of Evidence (also available on iTunes) failed to quench your thirst for knowledge on natural health products, I can now direct you to an article five months in the making that Dr. Labos finally managed to publish in The National Post: “The response in … Continue reading →
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10:00 AM | Read: Dr. Labos on Natural Health Products (in the National Post)
If the first episode of Dr. Labos’ and my new podcast, The Body of Evidence (also available on iTunes) failed to quench your thirst for knowledge on natural health products, I can now direct you to an article five months in the making that Dr. Labos finally managed to publish in The National Post: “The response in … Continue reading →

April 12, 2015

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8:25 PM | Your personal pseudoscience detector
The Skeptical Raptor, stalking pseudoscience in the internet jungle. Updated 12 April 2015 Pseudoscience is like bubble gum. It tastes pretty good, it’s fun to blow bubbles, and it annoys some people. But eventually, the flavor leaves, and you find that you’re just chewing on some nutritionally dubious substance. Now you have to find a place to spit it out. Or I guess you … Continue reading Your personal pseudoscience detector →Continue reading «Your personal […]

April 08, 2015

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10:54 PM | Questions for Authors of Study on Benefits of Electro-Acupuncture After Brain Radiotherapy
The April 1 issue (-giggle-) of PLOS ONE published an article on the alternative medicine modality of electro-acupuncture (EA) by a group of investigators from Shanghai, China (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122087). The basic premises of the study are sound: Certain types of brain tumors require radiation therapy or 'radiotherapy' as a treatment option; this therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to destroy the cancerous cells in a targeted manner. However, even in case of successful tumor […]
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10:54 PM | Questions for Authors of Study on Benefits of Electro-Acupuncture After Brain Radiotherapy
The April 1 issue (-giggle-) of PLOS ONE published an article on the alternative medicine modality of electro-acupuncture (EA) by a group of investigators from Shanghai, China (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122087). The basic premises of the study are sound: Certain types of brain tumors require radiation therapy or 'radiotherapy' as a treatment option; this therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to destroy the cancerous cells in a targeted manner. However, even in case of successful tumor […]
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10:54 PM | Questions for Authors of Study on Benefits of Electro-Acupuncture After Brain Radiotherapy
The April 1 issue (-giggle-) of PLOS ONE published an article on the alternative medicine modality of electro-acupuncture (EA) by a group of investigators from Shanghai, China (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122087). The basic premises of the study are sound: Certain types of brain tumors require radiation therapy or 'radiotherapy' as a treatment option; this therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to destroy the cancerous cells in a targeted manner. However, even in case of successful tumor […]
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12:36 PM | Homeopathy's Shaky Science Gets Boost From New Law
A new Canadian law regulates the homeopathy, but critics fear it legitimizes the disproven treatment. Continue reading →
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12:30 PM | Get out the popcorn: Science Babe vs. The Food Babe
I’ve spend considerable time documenting the utter pseudoscience, misinformation, and downright idiocy about “chemicals” in food regularly inflicted on the public by the misguided “food activist” named Vani Hari, who is better known by the moniker she chose for herself “The Food Babe.” Indeed, in decade-plus that I’ve been running this blog and the few…

April 06, 2015

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7:00 AM | Jess Ainscough, Belle Gibson, and “wellness warriors” vs. cancer
Recent articles in The Daily Mail and The Australian reminded me that it’s been over a month since the unfortunate demise of Jess Ainscough, a young Australian woman who was diagnosed with an epithelioid sarcoma of her left upper extremity in 2008. Before I get to the articles, a brief recap is in order. This…
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7:00 AM | Integrative medicine, naturopathy, and David Katz’s “more fluid concept of evidence”
Dr. David Katz is undoubtedly a heavy hitter in the brave new world of “integrative medicine,” a specialty that seeks to “integrate” pseudoscience with science, nonsense, with sense, and quackery with real medicine. In fairness, that’s not the way physicians like Dr. Katz see it. Rather, they see it as “integrating” the “best of both […]

April 04, 2015

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5:28 PM | In The Times today, there’s another exasperating feature...
In The Times today, there’s another exasperating feature from former Oxford professor of human genetics Bryan Sykes. He’s previously been known for the Oxford Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project, which paid $2000 per sample of “hair, teeth, etc” in an attempt to find evidence of ‘cryptids’. A UCL Molecular and Cultural Evolution lab piece catalogues the effective debunking of his claims. The Oxford Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project, a collaborative […]

March 31, 2015

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12:55 PM | ‘Google to rank pages by accuracy’ shown to be inaccurate
As a science writer who writes a lot about health, I spend more time than most scouring the internet for medicine-related information. Unfortunately, the advice that ‘Dr Google’ prescribes is all-too-often a bit dodgy. Search ‘how to treat my headache’, for example, and in alongside the sensible suggestions are some rather more dubious and laughable … Continue reading →
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12:17 AM | The Body of Evidence: Podcast and Radio Guest Appearance
Originally posted on Moutons No More:? Those of you who came to Funny You Should Think That! 10 last Saturday in the Old Port of Montreal were the first to witness the birth of a new Moutons No More production: a podcast called The Body of Evidence. Dr. Christopher Labos, who was my guest on episode 204…

March 30, 2015

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2:19 PM | Animal Justice Project: Same nonsense, different name
When I first took up my job explaining animal science to the public, I thought I would spend much of my time talking about ethics. I was looking forward to it – my academic specialisms within were rights and ethics … Continue reading →
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