Blaming breast cancer on autism (David Gorski) Gayle DeLong is an anti-vaccine activist who believes the stress of dealing with her autistic children was what caused her to develop breast cancer. She rejects expert advice and scientific evidence and demonstrates magical thinking.
Retconning the story of traditional Chinese medicine (David Gorski) The concept of RETroactive CONtinuity comes from the world of comic books, where information is added to the back story of a character. History was systematically retconned by the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s novel 1984, and the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been similarly revised. Its origin and lack of scientific basis have been obscured and misrepresented in an effort to promote the integration of quackery into modern medicine. Researchers are even engaged in a quixotic quest to find a scientific basis for the TCM notion of hot and cold syndromes.
Oxygen Myths That Refuse to Die (Harriet Hall) Myths about the alleged health benefits of supplemental oxygen refuse to die. Oxygen bars, diet supplements, and other products continue to be sold with fanciful claims ranging from anti-aging to improving test scores, despite a total lack of scientific evidence. It isn’t even plausible that they could raise blood oxygen levels by any significant amount.
Stroke Death from Chiropractic Neck Manipulation (Steven Novella) In a recent case, a healthy 30-year-old had a stroke in his chiropractor’s office; the chiropractor didn’t even call 911. The death certificate showed the cause of death as vertebral artery dissection caused by chiropractic neck manipulation. Strokes due to neck manipulation are rare, but there is sufficient evidence to cause concern. Since there is no evidence that neck manipulation is beneficial, there should be informed consent, further study, and arguably a moratorium on neck manipulation for any indication.
Political Science: Chronic Lyme Disease (Jann Bellamy) Several states have rejected science-based treatment of Lyme disease in favor of the ideological guidelines of believers in “chronic Lyme disease,” a condition not recognized by the medical community. Legislation has blocked medical boards from taking action against so-called “Lyme literate” providers who prescribe unwarranted and potentially dangerous long-term antibiotic therapy. Advocacy groups have managed to browbeat legislators into equating popularity with scientific evidence.
Why Get A Flu Shot? (Mark Crislip) There are good science-based reasons why you and yours should get the flu vaccine: less chance of flu, less chance of spreading flu, less chance of severe disease, less chance of complications from flu, and less chance of death. It will benefit not only you, but others in your community, and will even make Dr. Crislip’s Rainbow Unicorn happy.
Fear mongering about vaccines as “racist population control” in Kenya (David Gorski) Vaccines are a common target of anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists. Mike Adams and others have irresponsibly spread ridiculous rumors that tetanus vaccines in Kenya were spiked with a sterilization chemical to carry out race-based genocide against Africans. Women of reproductive age were targeted by a vaccine campaign, but only because neonatal tetanus is a serious threat. And there was never any evidence that the vaccines contained a sterilizing agent.