Unpublished SBM Blog

Recent entries at the Science-Based Medicine Blog.

Click on an entry to read the entire entry.

Exploring issues and controversies in the relationship between science and medicine
  1. The many myths about flu shots continue to circulate and persuade some people not to get a flu shot. Flu shots are excellent insurance, safe and reasonably effective. Immunization protects not only the recipient but also vulnerable groups in the community.
  2. Alternative cancer clinics have always claimed that their therapies "boost the immune system" to fight cancer. Recently, the Hope4Cancer Institute, a quack clinic in Mexico has added a treatment known as Rigvir to its other offerings. But what is Rigvir? It turns out that it's an import from Latvia, a purported oncolytic virus with a mysterious history that targets cancer specifically for which there is a profound paucity of evidence for its efficacy. Rigvir was approved by Latvia in 2004 based on grossly inadequate evidence. The story of Rigvir is the story of an unproven treatment that, because of its origin in a small country, has flown mostly under the radar. Until now, that is.
  3. A study published on Wednesday claims to have found a link between influenza vaccination and miscarriage, and antivaxers are gloating. The study itself suffers mightily from post hoc subgroup analyses on small numbers, so much so that even its authors don’t really believe its results. None of that stopped them from publishing the study, thus justifying "more research" that will almost certainly reinforce the scientific consensus that the flu vaccine is safe during pregnancy.
  4. Another study adds to growing body of evidence that chiropractic neck manipulation is a risk factor for stroke. Patients should be warned of risk.
  5. Amygdalin is a toxic snake oil dating back to 1830, but it is still sold today with a combination of supplement industry deception, faith, and conspiracy theories.
  6. The movie "Cholesterol: The Great Bluff" claims that we have been lied to: cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease and statins are harmful. It is biased and misleading. The people interviewed in the movie are denialists who don't accept the clear evidence for the role of blood cholesterol levels and the benefits of statins.
  7. Five years ago, IBM announced that its supercomputer Watson would revolutionize cancer treatment by using its artificial intelligence to digest and distill the thousands of oncology studies published every year plus patient-level data and expert recommendations into treatment recommendation. Last week, a report published by STAT News shows that, years later, IBM's hubris and hype have crashed into reality.
  8. The CDC has published a report on yet another child harmed by exposure to a caregiver's belief in quackery...and the toxic level of lead found in a "homeopathic" teething bracelet.
  9. Not only do B-vitamin supplements not protect you from lung cancer, they may significantly raise your risk of cancer.
  10. Naturopaths treat cancer with an array of implausible concoctions that are not based on clinical science, and then defend themselves with cease and desist letters.