Fraud, misinformation, hyperbaric quacks, and more…

FSM News and Articles

John Dwyer on Australia’s opioid epidemicFSM Friend, Emeritus Professor John Dwyer writes on the reforms necessary for Australia to tackle the opioid epidemic.

FSM Friends’ News and Articles

Scientific fraud in China: The problem with scientific fraud is not limited to a few isolated cases – in some institutions and indeed countries it may be a systemic problem. This post (and article) are not meant to be anti-Chinese, and, indeed, scientific fraud has been uncovered in just about every country, but the recent controversy has happened in China – committed by the Chairman of Chinese Research Integrity, no less. “Science only works when most people follow the rules, when there are guardrails in place to maximize quality control, and when there is zero-tolerance for breaking the rules. When the single person in charge of enforcing those rules in China is exposed as a massive violator, there is a systemic problem.” Obviously this has huge implications for evidence based medicine, however a few points to keep in mind:
• Clinical trials are held to rigorous standards that are not as well enforced in preclinical (lab-based) research – no medical professional would base the use of a medicine from a couple of lab studies;
• The highest quality evidence for medicines is a meta-analysis of trials where the majority of studies point to a similar effect – ie there is consensus.

Herbal products and cancer treatment: “Cancer patients who rely on alternative treatments had a worse survival.”


‘There’s nothing empowering for women about sharing misinformation’: “For those of us regulated health practitioners … we have to be incredibly careful how we present information. This is in contrast to the health influencers who have no professional registration and often no qualifications at all, which has created a situation where the least qualified are allowed to give the most outlandish health advice.”

Great Moments in Health and Science

Aftercare for a skin graft: Where injury causes the loss of skin, the largest organ, self-grafts from elsewhere on the body can help replenish tissue, with the donor site healing on its own.

Today’s Abused Health Concept

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT): Quacks love to take a valid treatment, and use it for invalid applications. One such case is selling HBOT treatments for brain injuries or for other neurological conditions that HBOT CAN NOT help with. “Much of this misinformation comes from ambulance-chasing law firms that market to the parents of brain injured babies. Many of them advocate a number of unproven or implausible therapies, as these are additional expenses that lawsuits can try to recover…” This is also not without risk. “In 2009, a doctor in Florida was treating a 4-year old boy for cerebral palsy in a hyperbaric chamber (reminder: it doesn’t work for cerebral palsy). The chamber burst into flames, killing both the boy and his grandmother, who had brought him to the United States for the treatment from Italy because the fire danger makes such chambers illegal there. A study published way back in 1997 found 77 such deaths in 35 clinical hyperbaric chambers. And there are now more than 1,300 chambers in the United States alone.”