News: 23-29 Jan 2017

Weekly Roundup:

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.

From Canada:

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