Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield accuse the CDC of scientific fraud. Irony meters everywhere explode. (David Gorski) Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield wrote a complaint to the CDC alleging fraud, based on the revelations of “whistleblower” William Thompson and on Hooker’s reanalysis of an MMR/autism study; they neglected to mention that Hooker’s article had been retracted by the journal that published it. The “whistleblower” accusations of CDC misconduct have not been substantiated, and even if true they would not change the scientific consensus; but they have nevertheless encouraged anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.
A little shameless self-promotion and a plea (David Gorski) Dr. Gorski was a guest on Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe and will be speaking at Skepticon; he encourages donations to Skepticon.
Mirror Neurons and the Pitfalls of Brain Research (Harriet Hall) Much has been made of “mirror neurons,” brain cells that respond to both a person’s own actions and to seeing another person performing the same actions. In a new book, Gregory Hickok explains how the research went wrong, why mirrors neurons are a myth, and how new studies and other interpretations of old data are likely to lead to a more realistic understanding of how communication and cognition really work.
Salk’s swansong: renaissance of the injected polio vaccine (Ed Parker) To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jonas Salk, developer of the first polio vaccine, an epidemiologist reviews the history of polio, the indispensable roles of both the oral and the injectable vaccines, and the success of vaccine campaigns that have eradicated the disease from much of the globe.
SBM on Wikipedia in Every Language (Steven Novella) The web is an indispensable source of information, but is also a tool to promote ideology and commercial interests. With this blog and the Society for Science-Based Medicine, we are trying to provide complete, accurate, and fair information about science-based medicine; and Wikipedia is another vital project that aims to do the same. Several projects are underway to improve Wikipedia and to translate important medical pages into other languages. There are ways you, too, can contribute.
Quackery: A $10 Billion Scandal (Jann Bellamy) An excellent and comprehensive report on quackery was issued by a House of Representatives committee in 1984, saying many of the same things we say here on Science-Based Medicine. The government and the medical experts who prepared that report have since devolved from science to pseudoscience and have encouraged integration of quackery into medical practice. We should have heeded that report; instead, we have gone terribly astray.
Infinite Variety? (Mark Crislip) Acupuncture is infinite in its variety. The list of different acupuncture methods is lengthy, ranging from traditional Chinese acupuncture with needles to Tong Ren acupuncture with hammers and voodoo dolls. Acupuncture is a theatrical placebo consisting of a multitude of one-act plays, all farce.