Medical uses of marijuana–hitting the bong of science (updated again)

Editor’s note–this article has been updated and included into a multi-part series on marijuana and medicine. Check it out there.  As the push to legalize marijuana for personal or medical use gains traction in the USA, the “pro-pot” arguments become more enthusiastic and more off the beaten track of real science. I suspect, like legal same sex marriage, …

Green coffee beans and weight loss–another dumb myth

If you’re a fan of the Dr. Oz show, you might have heard about his passionate support of green coffee beans, which are just unroasted coffee beans instead of the roasted ones we enjoy in a big mug, for losing weight. In America, weight loss pseudoscience, especially those who claim it’s “easy”, is an obsession, especially since …

Using acupuncture to treat knee pain–no evidence

Let’s start right from the beginning–there is no evidence that acupuncture has any significant clinical benefit for any condition. And because there is a small, but significant, risk associated with the acupuncture, the risk to benefit ratio is huge (if not infinity, since there is no benefit). There is simply no reason to accept, even a …

Drug company withholds critical data for physician decision making

Because I give full-throated support to the development, manufacturing and use of vaccines, one might think I was some sort of promoter of the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, I care about vaccines generically, and do not care about the system that gets vaccines into the hand of physicians. Frankly, pharmaceutical companies have the money and means …

The twisted illogical gambits of the antivaccination cult

OK, let’s connect the dots. Merck produced and marketed Vioxx. Vioxx is bad. Merck produces and markets Gardasil. Gardasil is bad. Yes, this is the logic of the vaccine deniers–associate Big Pharma with one of the mistakes it made in the past, then use that association to convince themselves everything produced by that Big Pharma company to …

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 …