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damar hamlin

Damar Hamlin suffers cardiac arrest on field — anti-vaxxers go nuts

Yesterday, I was watching the Monday Night NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, when I saw a player, Damar Hamlin, stand up after a tackle, then apparently collapse. He suffered a cardiovascular event, and he had to be resuscitated on the field in front of his teammates, opponents, fans at the stadium, and the TV audience. Eventually, the game was postponed, with the NFL doing the right thing for its player, something that it doesn’t frequently do.

As of the time of this writing, Hamlin is still in critical condition and is being treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (where the game was being played). There is little information coming from the NFL, the Buffalo Bills (the team he was playing for), or the hospital about his condition or prognosis, so everyone is hopeful.

Within seconds of Hamlin’s injury, anti-vaxxers were on Twitter claiming that the injury was a direct result of the COVID-19 vaccine. Ignoring real medical science and making conclusions based on a total lack of evidence, which is typical for the anti-vaccine crowd.

I’m going to first discuss what probably happened to Damar Hamlin, based on the best available science, and then talk about the disgusting anti-vaccine cretins.

Read More »Damar Hamlin suffers cardiac arrest on field — anti-vaxxers go nuts
flu deaths

Pediatric flu-related deaths — highest since before COVID pandemic

With our focus on COVID-19, we forget about diseases like the flu and RSV. During this 2022-23 season, flu-related pediatric deaths have reached the highest level since before the pandemic started.

I know that there is a chunk of the population who thinks that flu is a minor disease not worthy of attention, but it kills. In years before the COVID-19 pandemic, in which masks, social distancing, and social isolation reduced the flu virus transmission, influenza regularly kills around 50,000 people annually in the USA alone.

Read More »Pediatric flu-related deaths — highest since before COVID pandemic
top 10 2022

Top 10 articles on Skeptical Raptor for 2022

Just because it seems like the thing to do over the holidays, I thought I’d do a top 10 review of articles I published in 2022. I’m going to use the parameter of most views during 2022. Despite readership being down a lot on my website during the past 12 months, I still had some breakout hit articles.

If you don’t mind, take a moment to look at any of the top 10 that you missed during 2022. You might find something that passed you by during the massive amount of information that we see on social media.

Read More »Top 10 articles on Skeptical Raptor for 2022
medical cannabis

Medical uses of cannabis — a scientific review

I don’t know how we got to this point, but there are so many claims about the medical uses of cannabis, you would think it was the miracle drug of all time. Smoke some cannabis and suddenly everything from pain to cancer to neurological disorders disappear.

Since I don’t take medical claims lightly, and I always want to determine if there is good, solid clinical evidence, what is called science-based medicine, supporting these claims, I decided to dig into a few of them. And what I found is that either the evidence is lacking or that the evidence shows it doesn’t work. I’m not surprised.

I personally have no issue with smoking marijuana, since other “drugs”, like alcohol, are completely legal and socially acceptable. I think that the legalization of cannabis will reduce much of drug trafficking, reduce the burden of law enforcement and penal system costs, and have other beneficial effects for society.

But if you’re going to make wild claims about the medical benefits of cannabis, which don’t stand up to real scientific evidence, then I got to say “stop.” If you want to smoke cannabis because it relaxes you, fine, but if you’re going to get into my face with fake medical information, don’t be insulted if I laugh heartily.

This article will tackle a few of the most popular claims, but it won’t cover them all. Leave a comment if you want me to look into a medical claim about cannabis that I didn’t cover.

Read More »Medical uses of cannabis — a scientific review
science-based medicine

Science-based medicine, not allopathic, Western, or conventional

As I’ve mentioned before, I often hang out on Quora answering questions about medicine with science-based answers. But I reached the breaking point after the 347th question that uses “allopathic,” “Western,” or “conventional” medicine as a pejorative term trying to show that it is somehow less safe and less effective than alternative “medicine” like homeopathy or Arvuyedic or traditional Chinese.

Minchin’s Law, which is quoted frequently by those of us who utilized science-based medicine in either practice or writing, makes it clear what is real medicine and what is alternative “medicine”:

“By definition”, I begin
“Alternative Medicine”, I continue
“Has either not been proved to work,
Or been proved not to work.
You know what they call “alternative medicine”
That’s been proved to work?

So, let’s take a look at what is and isn’t science-based medicine. And spoiler alert, alternative medicine is not even close to being science-based.

Read More »Science-based medicine, not allopathic, Western, or conventional
ivermectin war

“The War on Ivermectin” by Pierre Kory is coming — he’s still wrong

I thought this war was over, but apparently quack doctor, Pierre Kory is publishing a book, The War on Ivermectin: The Medicine That Saved Millions and Could Have Ended the COVID Pandemic, that should be out in February 2023. Worse yet, the book is going to be distributed by Simon & Schuster, one of the largest book publishers in the world.

The book will claim that the widely discredited drug “saved millions.” Apparently, this book will document Dr. Kory’s efforts to push for ivermectin in COVID-19 treatment protocols, and what he calls a corrupt and concerted effort from the medical establishment to deny its efficacy.

There’s so much to take apart here from ivermectin not showing any clinical value in large studies to a respected book publisher getting involved in Kory’s false claims. There was never a war on ivermectin — there was science showing that it could not and did not work in treating COVID-19.

Read More »“The War on Ivermectin” by Pierre Kory is coming — he’s still wrong
public toilets

Public toilets fill air with aerosols of feces and urine — mask up

I’ve got something new for you — a newly published study warns that public toilets create aerosols of feces and urine that can be detrimental to your health. If you want to protect your health, here is one more reason to wear a face mask.

I’ve always wondered about public toilets with energetic flushing mechanisms that flush the toilet more vigorously since they get more use than your home toilet. It’s cheaper to have these strong flushing mechanisms in public restrooms than to hire people to clean them more frequently.

But that flushing mechanism is so robust that it causes aerosols that contain bits of poo and pee that you inhale. I don’t really want to think about this, but we are breathing all this sewage while we’re in a public restroom.

As I always do, let’s take a look at this new peer-reviewed paper that examines what we’re inhaling while in public restrooms. It’s not going to be pleasant.

Read More »Public toilets fill air with aerosols of feces and urine — mask up
alternative medicine cancer

Treating cancer with alternative medicine — it’s dangerous

As I have mentioned before, I occasionally answer questions on Quora regarding alternative medicine treatments for cancer. Of course, there are few, if any, alternative “medicines” that have been shown to treat cancer effectively in large, randomized, double-blind clinical trials. If they actually worked, we’d just call it medicine.

Most of the answers are supported by scientific evidence — alternative medicine treatments for cancer have been shown to not work or have not been shown to work. Either way, it would be unethical or even immoral for anyone to recommend these unscientific treatments.

Of course, a lot of people want to push the claim that cannabis cures cancer. It doesn’t (see Note 1).

A paper was published a few years ago that examined the survivability of individuals with curable cancers that refused conventional cancer treatments (usually surgery plus adjuvant therapies like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or immunotherapy) and chose alternative medicine. We will get to that article, but spoiler alert — alternative medicine doesn’t work for cancer and may be dangerous.

Read More »Treating cancer with alternative medicine — it’s dangerous
marijuana pain

Study shows that a placebo is better than marijuana for pain relief

A new systematic review and meta-analysis published in a respected journal show that marijuana is no different than a placebo in treating pain. I consistently read anecdotal claims that somehow cannabis and its derivatives are useful. in treating pain, but when I looked at the evidence, it appeared that there really wasn’t anything there.

Pain management is one of the most common reasons people report using medical cannabis. According to a US national survey, 17% of respondents who had reported using cannabis in the past year had been prescribed medical cannabis. When it comes to self-medication, the numbers are even higher – with estimates that between 17-30% of adults in North America, Europe, and Australia report they use it to manage pain. But does this mean that there is evidence that it actually works for reducing pain?

Real scientists decided to look at the same claims about marijuana and pain and have come to the same conclusion — there’s not much supporting evidence. Now I know the comments section will be filled with people that want to tell me how cannabis is a miracle drug for pain and should replace opioids. But I am one who only follows the evidence, and it’s seriously lacking.

Like I always do, we’re going to take a look at this study and see what it tells us about marijuana and pain.

Read More »Study shows that a placebo is better than marijuana for pain relief
cranberry juice UTI

Does cranberry juice really treat a UTI? Let’s check the science

It’s that time of year when Americans have cranberries and turkey, which made me wonder if the belief that cranberry juice could treat a UTI (urinary tract infection). Now, I love cranberry sauce — yes, I love the stuff that comes out of the can, and I will die on that hill, though I’m not a fan of the juice version. But I’ve had girlfriends who swear by cranberry juice for treating a bout of UTI.

I kept hearing about this magical curative power of cranberry juice for decades. So much so, that I began to wonder if it was just one of the myths that are repeated so often that we think they are a fact. Or is it supported by real science? You know, like the old adage that sugar causes your children to be hyper, which proved to not be supported by any science.

Well, your cranky old dinosaur wanted to find out whether it was a myth or science, so I jumped into cranberry bog with both feet.

Read More »Does cranberry juice really treat a UTI? Let’s check the science