The Gerson protocol, cancer, and the death of Jess Ainscough, a.k.a. “The Wellness Warrior” (David Gorski) This young woman had a cancer that may have been curable. She was offered an operation that was devastating (amputation of her arm and shoulder) but that would have prolonged her life. Instead she chose the Gerson protocol (coffee enemas and dietary treatments) and other “natural” treatments and told the world she was healing herself from cancer naturally. She wasn’t; she became a slave to onerous, all-consuming bogus treatments and died after prolonged suffering, a victim of pseudoscience.
IOM Recommends Replacing CFS with SEID (Harriet Hall) After reviewing all the scientific evidence, the Institute of Medicine concluded that there was good evidence that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) AKA myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) was a real entity. They proposed new diagnostic criteria based on the best available evidence and proposed re-naming it systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID). Hopefully the IOM report will contribute to better-focused research and more accurate diagnosis of this poorly understood condition.
Personal Belief Exemptions for Vaccines (Steven Novella) In the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak, public opinion is turning against vaccine refusers for threatening the public health. 14 states have introduced bills that would reduce or eliminate vaccine exemptions. Anti-vaxxers are firing back with specious arguments and talk of parental rights. Ideally, all non-medical exemptions should be abolished.
Florida tells Brian Clement to stop practicing medicine (Jann Bellamy) Brian Clement heads the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida. He treated Makayla Sault, the Canadian girl with cancer, with ineffective “natural” methods, leading to her recent unnecessary death from a curable disease. Unsavory details about Clement and his practice are emerging. Florida has finally acted against him, ordering him to stop practicing medicine without a license, and fining him $2500. Too little, too late.
“Naturopathic Diaries: Confessions of a Former Naturopath” (Jann Bellamy) A naturopath who became disenchanted with her chosen profession has left naturopathy to pursue a science-based career and has started a blog to expose the blatantly false, unethical, and dangerous practices of naturopathy. In her training, she was indoctrinated with anti-science rhetoric and discredited pseudoscientific ideas about health.
Bias and Spin (Mark Crislip) What separates science-based medicine (SBM) from SCAM is realizing that biases are always active and apply to all of us. Scientists change their mind according to the evidence, whereas commitment to pseudomedicine makes changing one’s mind virtually impossible. SCAMs promote the conspiracy/pharmaceutical shill worldview, seldom publish negative studies, are culturally biased, and they often spin the results of studies to claim the opposite of what the data show. A recent study interprets a 10% increase in the risk of stroke with chiropractic treatment as “no evidence of increased risk.”