Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo-woo in medicine.
Do doctors pay attention to negative randomized clinical trials? (David Gorski) Sham surgery studies of vertebroplasty for osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures have shown it is not effective. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons issued a guideline advising against its use. Use has declined in some quarters but it is still being promoted in others. It seems conventional medicine can fall prey to the same kind of fallacious thinking that drives the advocacy of CAM modalities like homeopathy.
Bad News and Good News from Down Under: Science-Based Medicine in Australia (Harriet Hall) The bad news: some Australian pharmacies are offering in-house consultations with naturopaths, including bogus diagnostic procedures like iridology. The good news: the Australian organization Friends of Science in Medicine and other Australian skeptics are working vigorously to combat quackery and have had a number of noteworthy successes.
“Mystery” Illness in Colombia (Steven Novella) More than 200 girls in Colombia have been hospitalized with vague symptoms; all were found to be healthy and were discharged. This is not a “mystery” illness, but a classic example of mass psychogenic illness that was spurred by irrational fears surrounding the HPV vaccine Gardasil.
If you don’t buy this supplement for your child, you’re a terrible parent (Scott Gavura) Supplements like Kids DHA and Cerebrum promise to improve cognition and learning, and also to promote healthy eye and bone development, softer and healthier skin, and even to help in childhood depression. There’s no evidence to support those claims.
Hiccups: From Acupuncture to Quantum Touch (Clay Jones) We don’t know for certain what causes hiccups, but we do understand a few things about them. At least 250 cures have been suggested, from pharmaceuticals to home remedies to “Quantum Touch” to homeopathy. Since hiccups usually resolve spontaneously, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking a treatment works.