Archived articles and radio interviews
The articles below have appeared since the beginning of 2017:
Articles from 06.02.2017-12.02.2017
Sorry, alternative health people: feeling better after a therapy is no proof it works: Every day, alternative health practitioners see patients who improve after receiving their treatment and feel it is wrong to doubt their experience. For them, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Herbal supplements should be tested for safety, researchers say, questioning quality of drugs: Medical experts have called for vitamins and supplements sold in Australia to be independently tested, saying many people could be unwittingly causing themselves harm.
China promotes traditional medicine to combat AIDS: The promotion of TCM is part of a five-year plan from the State Council, China's cabinet, to tackle HIV/AIDS.
Ouch! The drugs don’t work for back pain, but here’s what does: treating it seems very difficult. Backing up a 2015 study showing paracetamol is ineffective for back pain, our latest research shows non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Nurofen and Voltaren, provide minimal benefits and high risk of side effects.
Nothing “traditional” about acupuncture: Dr Sue Ieraci: Is acupuncture the last bastion of acceptable placebo use in Australian medicine?
VIDEO: Kickbacks scandal rocks pharmacy industry: Trusted pharmacists claim they are being pressured to upsell certain products to get kickbacks from supplement companies.
PHARMACY LAMBASTED FOR CM ‘KICKBACK SCANDAL’: A Channel Nine news story has slammed pharmacy for complementary medicine “kickbacks,” but Guild says the story only referred to unremarkable commercial arrangements.
Homeopathy sells dangerous lies to patients: There is an epidemic of false cures being sold to sick Australians. But it's not an underground black-market trade. It's a certified, rubber-stamped official practice. It is enshrined in government policies, codified in professional code of conducts, funded with our taxes and sold by pharmacists. An intricate web of lies protects the pernicious practice of homeopathy in Australia.
Re-thinking Antioxidant Supplementation for Macular Degeneration: After the AREDS trial, people with moderate to severe age-related macular degeneration were advised to take dietary supplements to slow the progression of the disease. But some experts say the trial actually showed supplements don’t work, and might even make some patients worse.
Articles from 30.01.2017-05.02.2017
Watchdog with teeth to name, shame and ban dodgy health providers: Dodgy health providers can now be named, shamed and banned in Victoria by a new complaints watchdog with bolstered powers that extend to unregistered practitioners and those providing general health services like massage.
Why We Need Scientists On Social Media, Now More Than Ever: More young scientists see social media platforms as an important way to engage the public and clear up misinformation.
Chiropractors And Vaccination:A chiropractor condemns anti-vax colleagues whose views endanger the community and the profession.
An Alternative-Medicine Believer’s Journey Back to Science: unscientific and violate basic laws of physics and chemistry.
Dishing the dirt on detox: be wary of products that claim to 'detox' you
How to differentiate good from bad research: How can you be sure that a study is sound?
The role of criticism in the realm of alternative medicine: Criticism is painful but often necessary and it produces progress.
Ottawa doctor releases sci-fi comic to teach kids about immune system: Immunity Warriors illustrates importance of vaccines.
From Africa, Asia and South America
Donkey 'being stole and SKINNED ALIVE for Chinese miracle youth serum used in face creams and beauty masks': As many as 10 million donkeys are at risk from the ingredient which is alleged by Chinese medicine practitioner to be a youth-preserving gel.
Articles from 23.01.2017-29.01.2017
On Health: Debunking detox diets: A detox diet supposedly gets rid of toxins from the body, helping you to cleanse your system and to lose weight in the process, according to the School of Public Health of University of California, Berkeley. However, this is nonsense as your body can get rid of bad toxins just fine by itself.
Placebo Beats Supplements for Arthritis Pain:Many people take glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for arthritis pain, but a controlled trial has found no evidence that the combination works. In fact, in this study, the placebo worked better.
Will the University of Adelaide’s Chinese Medicine Partnership Bear Fruit?: The University of Adelaide recently announced the launch of the Beijing-based Global Institute of Traditional Medicine.
Olivia Newton-John on how she hopes chemotherapy will soon become a thing of the past: Reflexology & acupuncture are offered in the Cancer and Wellness Centre at the Austin Hospital, Melbourne.
Wide condemnation of pro-acupuncture research paper on infant colic: A controversial study that claims to have found proof that acupuncture is effective in treating colic in infants has been widely rebuked. In fact, even the associate editor of the journal where the study was published said “in technical terms, the study is negative … the primary outcome did not turn out to be statistically significant”.
New pancreatic cancer drug ‘a monumental leap forward: A new pancreatic cancer drug significantly extends survival time for patients who have undergone surgery, according to a report published in The Lancet.
Why are we more likely to get cancer as we age?: The number of new cases of cancer diagnosed has increased dramatically in the last three decades. This has led some to think the risks of acquiring cancer are on the increase in modern society.
How parasites and bacteria could be changing the way you think and feel: As science uncovers more about the influence of parasites and bacteria on human behaviour, we may well begin to see how they also shape our societies.
Scientists can’t fight 'alternative facts' alone: Countering the ‘post-truth’ mentality with facts is great, but to truly engage with people, scientists and other experts need to be part of popular culture.
How accurately do physicians estimate risk and benefit?: A new study suggests that physicians tend to overestimate the benefits of treatments, tests, and screening tests, while also underestimating harms.
Patients are dying from lack of good medical research: A recent study found that research funded by drug companies is often biased in favour of the sponsor’s drug. Medical academics like me can roll their eyes at naughty old pharma.
A guide to DIY homeopathy might seem amusing. Actually it’s terrifying: The National Center for Homeopathy (NCH) claims to be the ‘go-to resource for all who are interested in learning about homeopathy’. The NCH offers the right homeopathic remedies for a vast array of conditions. Its list of several hundred conditions ranges from acne to whooping cough and covers many illnesses that are potentially life-threatening.
From the US:
The World’s Top Hospitals Have Been Enabling Quack Medicine: From the Cleveland Clinic to top university hospitals such as Harvard, an eagerness to cash in on the alternative medicine bonanza has encouraged the rejection of real science.
Health Officials Issue Advisory As Whooping Cough Cases Increase: The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Oakland County Health Division are issuing a health advisory following an increase in the number of identified pertussis cases, commonly referred to as whooping cough.
Calgary mom guilty of criminal negligence causing death: A Calgary judge says Tamara Lovett, who treated her son with holistic remedies before he died of a strep infection ‘gambled away’ his life.
Articles from 16.01.17-22.01.17
Chinese BioMedical Research: Sturgeon’s Law In Action: A Chinese government investigation has found that 80%, yes eighty percent, of Chinese biomedical research is fabricated. I bet that is an underestimate for Traditional Chinese Pseudo-Medicine.
Two hallmarks of alternative medicine: Whenever a level-headed person discloses that a specific alternative therapy is not based on good evidence, you can bet your last shirt that a proponent of the said treatment responds by claiming that conventional medicine is not much better.
Alternative medicine: a thing for the elderly!?!?: We all know that alternative medicine is currently popular, and much of the evidence suggested that this is mostly because mostly people in the midst of their lives are using it.
So, 'Detoxes' Or 'Cleanses' Don't Work. Here's Why: Avoid falling for clever marketing and save your money (From the Huffington Post).
Advertising naturopathy:The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) write and maintain the UK Advertising Codes, which are administered by the Advertising Standards Authority. On their website, the CAP recently published an updated advertising code for naturopathy.
Dietary Supplement May Carry Similar Safety Risks as Statins: Researchers assessed the safety profile of red yeast rice by analyzing spontaneous reports of adverse reactions. Red yeast rice found in dietary supplements was linked to myopathies and liver injury and may not be a good choice for statin-intolerant patients, according to a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
Junk science helps homeopathic remedy company win class action: Junk science from two of homeopathy’s biggest apologists help Hyland’s defeat a class action lawsuit for consumer false advertising claims, and nixed refunds for ineffective homeopathic remedies.
Articles from 09.01.17-15.01.17
Scientists gain new insights into molecular mechanisms of breast cancer development: Researchers from the University of Basel have gained new insights into the molecular processes in breast tissue.
Melbourne study reveals why some men with prostate cancer get more aggressive tumours: A LANDMARK Melbourne-led study reveals why men with prostate cancer who carry a cancer-predisposing gene have more aggressive tumours.
Cancer 'wonder drug' given tick of approval: In a major milestone for Melbourne scientists, a leukaemia drug almost 30 years in the making has been given the governmental tick of approval.
How to quickly spot dodgy science: A list of tricks that aren't foolproof, but in combination they’re rather useful. They can help identify bad science in just minutes rather than hours.
Sussan Ley quits as health minister as Malcolm Turnbull flags political expenses reform: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Ms Ley's replacements in the health, aged care and sport portfolios would be announced next week and Arthur Sinodinos would stay on as Acting Health Minister until then.
Gluten-free baby: When parents ignore science: Inside the troubling and dangerous rise of alternative medicine for kids.
Educating chiros: comments on the consensus on education reached at a recent conference in Montréal (October 2016), the WFC (World Federation of Chiropractic) and the ACC (Association of Chiropractic Colleges).
In 2017, let’s take back science!: Professor Timothy Caulfield asks us to speak out against the conspiracy-tinged nonsense that increasingly pervades our health debates
Just How Safe Are Vaccines? Here Are the Numbers: The science on vaccines is clear; numerous studies show that vaccines are safe and effective, and that serious side effects are rare.
Fakery on a massive scale means we can’t trust studies from China: Data fabrication has seriously detrimental effects, we must ask what we can do about it. We must scrutinise it thoroughly and sceptically. Whenever it looks too good to be true, we ought to discard it as unreliable.
From the UK:
This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising: Any claims for naturopathy that go beyond accepted claims for a healthy lifestyle are likely to be problematic unless they are supported by a robust body of evidence.
From the US:
Identify Strong Evidence-Based Medicine Programs: Evidence-based medicine is a method which uses clinical research results to inform treatment decisions.
The Medical Director of The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute spewed antivaccine misinformation last week. Why is anyone surprised?: A social media firestorm erupted over the weekend after Dr. Daniel Neides, Director of The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, posted an article full of antivaccine misinformation
Dietetics: Embracing Integrative and Functional Medicine?: The Accreditation Council for Education in Dietetics is planning on changing the accreditation standards for requirements Registered Dietitians to include integrative and functional nutrition as core components
Peanut Allergy Prevention Advice Does a 180: New guidelines suggest that preventing peanut allergies may be as simple as giving peanut-containing food, beginning in infancy. How did old guidelines, which recommended avoidance, get it so wrong?
Articles from 01.01.2017-08.01.17
The 7 biggest problems facing science, according to 270 scientists: Scientists all over the world, including graduate students, senior professors, laboratory heads, and Fields Medalists, say that in a variety of ways, their careers are being hijacked by perverse incentives. The result is bad science.
Why do researchers do different kinds of clinical studies: Scientists may have many reasons for doing a clinical study, such as to explore the cause of a disease or a set of symptoms, to test if a treatment will help with a symptom or condition or to learn how a certain behaviour affects people’s health.
Cancer Death Rates Fall as Prevention, Treatment Advance: Deaths from cancer in the United States have dropped 25 percent since hitting a peak in 1991, a new report finds.
Fake treatments for real diseases: A review of allergy and asthma advertisements by naturopaths, chiropractors, homeopaths and acupuncturists: A majority of Canadian chiropractic, naturopathic, homeopathic and acupuncture clinics claim that they can diagnose or treat allergies, sensitivities and asthma
Stop taking vitamins and eat the right food if you want to stay healthy: Our bodies don’t know how to absorb vitamins and minerals from tablets and capsules. They only know about foods so you may be paying through the nose for something that’s ineffective or for a placebo effect
Doctors issue new year detox health warning: Highlighting the case of a woman they treated last year who became critically ill after taking herbal remedies and drinking too much water, Doctors have issued a warning about the potential harms of undertaking a radical new year detox.
Diet drinks are not healthy and could trigger weight gain, say researchers: Diet and sugar-free alternatives should not be promoted as part of a healthy diet, say researchers
Mediterranean diet may protect your brain in old age, new finding suggests: A new study based on brain imaging in over 400 people seems to show that we have even more reason to celebrate this diet and, more importantly, to stick to it.
(*) These are .pdf files, click on the name to download.