Selective pressures on alternative medicine (David Gorski) Alternative medicine has evolved, developing in stages from folk medicine into integrative medicine, and producing new species. Selective pressures favor ineffective treatments over harmful ones; homeopathy is ideal because there’s nothing in it. Evolutionary principles are only part of the explanation. Other factors are responsible for CAM’s recent popularity and its spread into academia.
Product B: Here We Go Again (Harriet Hall) A notorious multilevel marketing (MLM) company has introduced Product B, a diet supplement mixture to “support telomeres.” The science of telomeres and their role in aging is fascinating, but the rationale for Product B is purely speculative and there is no evidence that it slows aging or improves health in any way.
Announcement: The Society for Science-Based Medicine is co-sponsoring NECSS (David Gorski) The Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, April 9-12, 2015 in New York City, will feature a full day of science-based medicine programming by the SfSBM team.
In the Spirit of Choosing Wisely (Mark Crislip) The Choosing Wisely initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine asked various medical societies to identify 5 or more do’s and don’ts to implement evidence-based medicine in their respective fields. The American College of Medical Toxicology and the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology came up with appropriate “don’ts” for homeopathy, supplements, chelation, heavy metal screening tests, and dental mercury amalgams. Unfortunately, their “do’s” for low back pain and choosing a pain reliever recommend CAM modalities like acupuncture and chiropractic, treatments that don’t meet the criteria of their own organization.