Selling “integrative oncology” as a monograph in JNCI (David Gorski) The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) has devoted an entire monograph to the role of integrative oncology for cancer survivorship. “Integrative medicine” is an ideological marketing tool for infiltrating quack practices into mainstream medicine and for rebranding and co-opting modalities like diet, exercise, and supportive care that more properly belong to good conventional medicine. The evidence JNCI reviewed for the benefit of any alternative modality in cancer is underwhelming.
Vitamin D: To Screen or Not to Screen? (Harriet Hall) Many claims have been made for the health benefits of vitamin D. The USPSTF has issued a new statement saying the evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening the general population for vitamin D deficiency. Their report explains in detail why they reached that conclusion. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t screen individuals who are at higher risk and doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recommend supplemental vitamin D for some individuals with or without prior testing.
The Central Dogma of Alternative Medicine (David Gorski) Dr. Gorski gave a talk at Skepticon arguing that there is a central dogma that runs through all of alternative medicine. A link to the video of that talk is provided.
Homeopaths Threaten Public Health Selling Sugar Pills as Vaccine Alternatives (Scott Gavura) Canadian television used hidden cameras to record reporters asking homeopaths about vaccines. Four out of five advised against basic vaccinations. They provided false information and recommended useless homeopathic alternatives. Canada allows the sale of homeopathic “nosodes” prepared by diluting infectious material.
Outcome Bias in Clinical Decision Making and the Assessment of Our Peers (Clay Jones) Our assessment of the clinical decision-making process is influenced by whether the outcome was positive or negative, even though the outcome may have been just a matter of chance rather than of the clinician’s good judgment. Outcome bias affects how we judge our own actions and the actions of others and can encourage poor practices. The first step to overcoming such bias is knowing that it exists.