Science-Based Medicine

Quack Book Reviews: EMF*D (Mo, 01 Jun 2020)
Über-quack Dr. Joe Mercola recently published a book claiming that 5G is the cause of all manner of health problems. Unsurprisingly, it's full of bad science, pseudoscience, and unproven claims.
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A Rare and Mysterious Inflammatory Syndrome in Children is Linked to COVID-19 (Fri, 29 May 2020)
A mysterious inflammatory condition, likely caused by COVID-19, is affecting a small number of children. We don't know much about it yet, but we are certain to see additional cases and to learn more about why this is happening. Still, it's not time to panic.
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An incomplete list of COVID-19 quackery (Thu, 28 May 2020)
Possibly the only thing spreading faster than COVID-19 is the pseudoscience about COVID-19.
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Herbal Products and Pregnancy (Wed, 27 May 2020)
A recent review shows that herbal products do present a potential risk during pregnancy, and should not be considered automatically safe.
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Is Magnesium the Underlying Cause and Treatment for Everything? (Tue, 26 May 2020)
Carolyn Dean believes magnesium deficiency is the cause of a great many diseases and recommends that everyone take magnesium supplements, preferably the one she sells, ReMag. I remain skeptical.
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Antivaxxers launch a preemptive disinformation war against a COVID-19 vaccine that doesn’t yet exist (Mon, 25 May 2020)
We don't yet have a vaccine against COVID-19, but that hasn't stopped the antivaccine movement from launching a preemptive disinformation war on social media against it. Unfortunately, as a recent study demonstrates, on Facebook at least, they have been so successful that it is possible that antivaccine messaging will surpass pro-vaccine messaging on FB within a decade.
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NewsGuard identifies social media “super-spreaders” of COVID-19 misinformation (Thu, 21 May 2020)
NewsGuard has identified "super-spreaders" of COVID-19 misinformation on Facebook and Twitter, including Dr. Joseph Mercola, the NVIC, Rush Limbaugh, and Ty Bollinger.
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COVID-19 Testing (Wed, 20 May 2020)
Currently available tests for COVID-19 are imperfect but useful if used properly, with rapidly evolving research on new tests underway.
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Don’t Believe What You Think (Tue, 19 May 2020)
A new book by Edzard Ernst provides a concise course in critical thinking as well as a wealth of good science-based information to counter the widespread misinformation about SCAM.
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Medical conspiracy theories and COVID-19 (Mon, 18 May 2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned almost innumerable conspiracy theories, and conspiracists like the antivaccine movement have joined forces with COVID-19 conspiracy theorists. To combat the proliferation of pseudoscience rooted in conspiracy theories, it is useful to step back and examine the nature of conspiracy theories, including ones that are not medical, even ones like QAnon. Critical thinking is the key to inoculating the susceptible against conspiratorial thinking.
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Smoking and COVID (Thu, 14 May 2020)
Does smoking worsen COVID infections? Or is it protective? As more evidence emerges, the smoke is starting to clear.
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Do Masks Work? (Wed, 13 May 2020)
Let's review the evidence for the effectiveness of wearing face masks during a pandemic (reprinted from NeuroLogica).
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Prenatal Screening Tests for Chromosome Abnormalities (Tue, 12 May 2020)
Science has made remarkable advances in prenatal screening, but false positives and false negative results can occur, and there are ethical concerns.
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Plandemic: Judy Mikovits and the mother of all COVID-19 conspiracy theories (some final thoughts) (Mon, 11 May 2020)
Last Friday, I deconstructed Plandemic, a misinformation conspiracyfest of a video that went viral last week. It turns out that Judy Mikovits, the disgraced scientist featured in the video has even more conspiracy theories and misinformation up her sleeve.
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Plandemic: Judy Mikovits and the mother of all COVID-19 conspiracy theories (Fri, 08 May 2020)
Judy Mikovits is a disgraced scientist who published a paper claiming that a retrovirus called XMRV causes chronic fatigue syndrome, results that other investigators were unable to replicate. Since then, she's been a regular on the antivaccine circuit, but now she's been reborn as a "Fire Fauci" COVID-19 conspiracy theorist. Sadly, it worked. Her book is #1 on Amazon.
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Chinese government recommends bear bile for COVID-19 (Thu, 07 May 2020)
The Chinese Government is relentlessly promoting TCM for COVID-19, including a remedy containing bear bile, which is cruelly extracted from the gall bladders of living wild or "farmed" bears.
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MMR is Safe and Effective (Wed, 06 May 2020)
A new systematic review shows convincingly that the MMR vaccine is safe and effective.
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Neuriva: Clinically Proven? (Tue, 05 May 2020)
Neuriva claims to have proof from clinical studies. That's misleading.
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COVID-19: Out-of-control science and bypassing science-based medicine (Mon, 04 May 2020)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there hasn't just been a pandemic of coronavirus-caused disease. There's also a pandemic of misinformation and bad science. It turns out that doctors today are just as prone as doctors 100 years ago during the 1918-19 influenza pandemic to bypass science-based medicine in their desperation to treat patients.
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Hydroxychloroquine, retinal toxicity, and COVID-19 (Fri, 01 May 2020)
Hydroxychloroquine is being promoted as a treatment or prevention for COVID-19 based on questionable evidence. The long-term impact of hydroxychloroquine on the retina introduces another reason to be cautious about its use outside of clinical trials.
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The p-hackers toolkit (Thu, 30 Apr 2020)
P-hacking is a common and persistent problem in research, with impacts on the scientific literature, reporting, and practice in medicine. But what is it, really?
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Stroke in COVID-19 Patients (Wed, 29 Apr 2020)
A case series of five patients with COVID-19 and young strokes sparks many questions.
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Chaga Tea (Tue, 28 Apr 2020)
Chaga tea is made from a mushroom that rots birch trees. Health benefits are claimed on the basis of folk medicine, but there isn't a shred of scientific evidence.
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Hydroxychloroquine and the price of abandoning of science- and evidence-based medicine (Mon, 27 Apr 2020)
Based on anecdotal evidence early in the pandemic and then-unreported clinical trials, followed by hype and bad studies by French "brave maverick doctor" Didier Raoult, antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine became the de facto standard of care for COVID-19, despite no rigorous evidence that they worked. A steady drip-drip-drip of negative studies has led doctors and health authorities to rethink and backtrack, while proponents counterattack. The story of these drugs demonstrates the peril of bypassing EBM even during a pandemic.
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The Wisdom of Third Molar Removal (Fri, 24 Apr 2020)
In the Olden Times (ten or so years ago), the indication for third molar (aka “wisdom teeth”) removal was the presence of wisdom teeth. Now, oral surgeons are rethinking things.
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FDA issues new CBD safety warnings, calls for more research to guide regulation (Thu, 23 Apr 2020)
The FDA recently warned the public about CBD health risks and urged further research. Meanwhile, special interest groups are pressing Congress and the FDA for quick action to allow CBD in dietary supplements and other consumer products.
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No – COVID-19 Is Not Just a “Bad Flu” (Wed, 22 Apr 2020)
By any measure, COVID-19 is more than just a bad flu season, which is pretty bad to begin with.
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Fixed Dose Combination Drugs: Consensi Is a Bad Example (Tue, 21 Apr 2020)
Consensi combines two drugs for high blood pressure and osteoarthritis. That doesn't make sense, and it costs $12,000 a year more than taking the individual components.
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COVID-19 pandemic deniers and the antivaccine movement: An unholy alliance (Mon, 20 Apr 2020)
Deniers of the severity of COVID-19 as a disease and pandemic have increasingly teamed up with the antivaccine movement, emulating their rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and tactics. The effect on public health is likely to be disastrous.
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More drug shortages due to COVID-19 (Thu, 16 Apr 2020)
COVID-19 is worsening a long-standing problem: Drug shortages
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