No, the CDC did not just “admit” that this year’s flu vaccine doesn’t work (David Gorski) It only reported that there was not as good a match as they would have liked with the strains of flu virus that are circulating this year. The virus drifts, and prediction is imperfect, but the vaccine is still effective and worthwhile. There is a 57% match with current strains, and the vaccine can produce partial immunity to strains not covered.
Vani Hari, a.k.a. “The Food Babe,” finally responds to critics (David Gorski) The Food Babe has been widely criticized for her scientific ignorance and for spreading false information. Instead of responding substantively or admitting her errors, she accuses her critics of ad hominem attacks and misogyny, and tries to deflect the argument to a discussion of transparency and other peripheral issues.
Pesticides: Just How Bad Are They? (Harriet Hall) A biased book by an organic farmer presents 5 “myths” about pesticides and argues that they should be eliminated. He exaggerates the dangers and ignores the benefits. Artificial pesticide residues are minuscule in comparison to the natural plant pesticides already present in our food; and harm to humans has not been demonstrated.
Risks of CAM Treatments for Cancer (Steven Novella) Claims for the benefits of CAM in cancer go way beyond the evidence. On the contrary, CAM is likely to cause harm. It has been found to decrease the effectiveness of chemotherapy, decrease quality of life, and decrease survival. And there are other reasons to avoid these unconventional treatments.
SFSBM Report upsets naturopaths. We’re fine with that. (Jann Bellamy) The Society for Science-Based Medicine presented a 25-page report to Maryland’s Naturopathic Advisory Committee documenting how Maryland’s naturopaths are currently practicing, and recommending specific regulations to minimize quackery and pseudoscientific practices. Naturopaths took umbrage, but didn’t challenge a single one of SFSBM’s facts or citations. Instead they challenged the qualifications of an MD committee member who supported the report, and they accused SFSBM of being comprised of “unknown individuals” and being founded for “unclear purposes.”
Homotoxicology (Mark Crislip) Homotoxicology is a field of pseudo-medicine devoted to the pseudo-treatment of pseudo-toxins. Anything and everything can be a “homotoxin;” it can even be immaterial. Dr. Crislip says, “It is always a tough call. Do we follow the collected, albeit always-evolving, information of modern medicine and science or do we go with the epiphanies of a single person whose ideas of disease and treatment not only run counter to all of medicine, but all other pseudo-medicines?”