Time to regulate the antivaccine liars out of existence, Part 1

This week, Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of  the Law in San Francisco, guest wrote an article on this blog (and I’m grateful when she does) regarding the possibility of using the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), whose principal mission is the promotion of consumer protection, to regulate or block antivaccine misinformation. The process to request that the FTC …

Can FTC regulate anti-vaccine misrepresentations?

In a previous post, I discussed the proposal by Ms. Amanda Naprawa (Naprawa, 2013) to sue the tort of misrepresentation that causes physical harm against those spreading anti-vaccine misinformation, and under which conditions can that be done. This article examines another tactic suggested by Ms. Naprawa, regulation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This tactic …

Do you believe in treating cancer with alternative medicine?

Recently, I saw a question on Quora, in which the author asked, “Do you believe in treating cancer with natural regimens?” In a landslide, the best answer, which is chosen by the readers, was one written by a UCLA medical school graduate and Fellow in Oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. David Chan. …

Cinnamon to manage diabetes? Don’t bother.

This article has been substantially updated for readability and quality of evidence based on new publications.  People want the easy way to correct their health issues. They want to imbue a magical quality to “natural” products to make themselves healthier. They don’t want to take one of those evil Big Pharma drugs. Or put in …

Ginkgo biloba and the brain–myth vs. science

Ginkgo biloba is actually an interesting plant because it has been relatively unchanged for nearly 270 million years. It is considered a living fossil, an informal term used for species like G. biloba that appear to be the same as a species otherwise only known from fossils and which has no close living relatives. The genus Ginkgo was fairly widely distributed until about 100 …

Vitamin D and high blood pressure–probably ineffective

Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble steroid-like biochemicals that have one known responsibility in human health–enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphate, minerals which are necessary for bone development and bone health. In humans, the most important D vitamins are vitamin D3 and vitamin D2, both of which can be ingested from dietary sources, including fishes, milk products, …

Jenny McCarthy’s evil twin–Amy Farrah Fowler

If you’re a fan of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (TBBT), a show about five highly educated geek/hipsters (and all doing scientific research as their career, which makes me happy that my career choice ended up as a great TV show) and the girl next door who is in love with one of the highly …

More evidence Vitamin D supplementation does not reduce breast cancer risk

Potential causes for cancer are numerous. Infections. Radon gas. Cigarette smoking. Sun exposure. Obesity. With over 200 types of cancer, each with a different pathophysiology, there may be an equal (and probably greater) number of causes. Although some cancers can be easily prevented, such as never smoking, which reduces your risk of lung cancer, one of the most prevalent cancers in …

Cancer Treatment Centers of America advertising

You’ve probably seen their commercials spread over all of the major TV networks. Beautiful scenes. Well-kept hospitals which often to appear to be near empty. And an anecdote or two or three from presumably real patients who describe their experience at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), a private, for-profit operator of cancer treatment hospitals and outpatient clinics …

Vitamin D reduces breast cancer risk–is there anything to it?

One of my favorite topics to debunk is the use of supplements to prevent (or worse yet, cure) cancer. As I have discussed in the past, supplements are, with just a couple of exceptions, worthless in preventing cancer.  Potential causes for cancer are numerous. Infections. Radon gas. Cigarette smoking. Sun exposure. Obesity. With over 200 types of cancer, each with a …