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"A STATEMENT OF FACT CANNOT BE INSOLENT." THE MISCELLANEOUS RAMBLINGS OF A SURGEON/SCIENTIST ON MEDICINE, QUACKERY, SCIENCE, PSEUDOSCIENCE, HISTORY, AND PSEUDOHISTORY (AND ANYTHING ELSE THAT INTERESTS HIM

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Ben Swann on the “#CDCtruth” rally: Regurgitating antivaccine talking points

Before yesterday, I had never heard of Ben Swann. Apparently he is the new anchor for the early evening news broadcast of the local Atlanta CBS affiliate, having joined the station in June. Apparently he is also prone to antivaccine conspiracy theories, which is a very bad thing to be prone to as a reporter…

A 50 minute infomercial for traditional Chinese medicine disguised as a radio show, courtesy of Colin McEnroe

When I wrote about YouYou Tu, the Chinese scientist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her successful identification, isolation, purification, and validation of Artemisinin, an antimalarial medication that was quite effective. It was also derived from an herbal remedy used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which has led a fair...

In which Orac co-authors a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine

Unfortunately, this happens to be a day when I didn’t really have much time to blog, as I had to go to an evening meeting last night related to my work. Fortunately, this corresponds with a most excellent day, a first in my life. Basically, I’m coauthor on a Perspective article published in today’s New…

Cranks of a feather, part 3: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the antivaccine movement team up with the Nation of Islam to attack the CDC

No doubt, regular readers are probably somewhat surprised that I didn’t discuss the antivaccine rally scheduled to be held in Atlanta last weekend that I wrote about last week. As you might recall, this rally consisted of two crappy tastes that taste crappy together, namely Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the antivaccine movement together with…

The “myth” of basic science?

I’m a clinician, but I’m actually also a translational scientist. It’s not uncommon for those of us in medicine involved in some combination of basic and clinical research to argue about exactly what that means. The idea is translational science is supposed to be the process of “translating” basic science discoveries into the laboratory into…

Choosing Wisely three years on

I like to point out from time to time that arguably the most striking difference between science-based medicine (and the evidence-based medicine from which we distinguish it) and alternative medicine, “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), or (as it’s called now) “integrative medicine” is a concerted effort to change practice for the better...

Public service announcement: No, drinking your own urine will not cure breast cancer

I consider posts like the one I’m writing now to be public service, an obligation. There are times when I don’t want to do them, when they become so sadly, depressingly repetitive in overall outline (and, unfortunately, likely outcome) that it takes an effort to begin. However, given that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month…

More antivaccine stylings from someone who is Dunning-Kruger personified

I was measured, science-based, and reasonable in yesterday’s post about the new American Cancer Society guidelines for screening mammography (which is obviously why that post garnered so few comments, thus teaching me my lesson yet again0, but regular readers know that I can be quite obnoxious and sarcastic and there’s a reason why this blog…

Once more into the breach: The American Cancer Society publishes new mammography guidelines

One of the things that feels the weirdest about having done the same job, having been in the same specialty, for a longer and longer time is that you frequently feel, as the late, great Yogi Berra would have put it, déjà vu all over again. This is particularly true in science and medicine, where…

Yet another antivaccine rally, yet another yawn

If there’s one thing that’s amusing about the antivaccine movement, it’s the disconnect between its members’ perception of their own importance and the reality of it, which is that they tend to be a pretty pathetic, risible band. They post their blogs, full of the rage of Dunning-Kruger, thinking that they are putting forth the…

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