Quackademia update: The Cleveland Clinic, George Washington University, and the continued infiltration of quackery into medical academia (David Gorski) Some of our most respected institutions have embraced quackery in a misguided attempt to provide more holistic care. The Cleveland Clinic Foundation offers “functional” medicine, “energy healing,” and traditional Chinese medicine. George Washington University’s Center for Integrative Medicine offers a long list of alternative treatments including reiki and craniosacral therapy. “Integrative medicine” is increasingly popular but is really just a combination of rebranded quackery and preventive measures co-opted from mainstream medicine.
K2: The Vitamin, Not the Mountain (Harriet Hall) We knew vitamin K was important for coagulation; recently we have learned that vitamin K2 is important for calcium metabolism and may have an important role in preventing osteoporosis and heart disease. New research is intriguing, but recommendations that everyone take supplemental K2 are not justified by current evidence.
Brain Research in the 21st Century (Steven Novella) The goal of the BRAIN project is to accomplish with the brain what the Human Genome Project accomplished with the human genome. The serious commitment to brain research is welcome, but there is concern that it is becoming more of an IT project than a neuroscience project. The hype has been premature and unrealistic; clinical applications won’t come quickly.
Yahoo News spews NaturalNews anti-vaccine (and other) propaganda (Jann Bellamy) Yahoo News seems to have confused NaturalNews with an actual news source. In reality, it’s an in-house propaganda organ for Mike Adams, a conspiracy theorist, AIDS denialist, and supporter of Burzynski. David Gorski has rightfully called it “one of the most wretched hives of scum and quackery on the Internet.” It spreads misinformation, creating fears about vaccines and GMOs and advocating “natural” treatments, like homeopathy and essential oils for Ebola.
Chaperones Needed (Mark Crislip) Some physicians should be required to have a chaperone when examining the medical literature, to remind them about cognitive biases, logical fallacies, and what constitutes a good clinical study. An article on acupuncture by Drs. Oz and Roizen demonstrates that they have misinterpreted the literature, which actually shows that acupuncture is no better than placebo and can be dangerous (link provided to a video where an acupuncture teacher’s demonstration goes awry and causes a pneumothorax).