Posted by mattusmaximus on January 17, 2013
Sometimes pseudoscience is stupid, sometimes it is annoying, sometimes it hurts our educational institutions… and sometimes it is outright frakking deadly. Case in point, medical frauds who perpetuate nonsense to vulnerable, desperate people; such as when quacks push supposed “cures for cancer” which are anything but or have yet to be proven, such as in the case of Stanislaw Burzynski and his “cancer clinic”. In such situations, it is literally a matter of life and death because when cancer patients delay reliable medical treatments in favor of pseudoscientific B.S. the delay can cost them their lives. Skeptic James Randi helps to break it down in more detail here:
But rather than curse the darkness, let us instead light a candle…
I am happy to announce that the Skeptical Teacher will be joining a coalition of skeptical activists called the Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients (SPCP). The Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients is a grassroots group devoted to the promotion of promising, ethical, and transparent cancer research. For more about this project and the group sponsoring it, visit thehoustoncancerquack.com or visit their Facebook page. Also, please consider donating either some of your time by promoting the cause (if you have a blog or media contacts) and/or your money to the legitimate scientific research of cancer.
Some more background and info on Burzynski:
*Dr. David Gorski has a new Science-Based Medicine post out as of this past Monday on Burzynski’s antineoplastons treatment. Science-Based Medicine » Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s antineoplastons versus patients.
*Burzynski gets warning from FDA: Stop promoting your treatment as “safe” and “effective”
The U.S. FDA has sent a letter to the Burzynski Research Institute to cease claiming that their brain tumor treatment, antineoplastons, are safe and/or effective for the purposed for which they are being investigated. In other words, Burzynski’s claims on websites and promotional materials that this treatment WORKS is a violation because supposed to be testing that!
* Supporters often use patient anecdotes to sell his unproven treatments at the Burzynski Patient Group. We have started curating a collection of patient stories at The OTHER Burzynski Patient Group, the ones Burzynski would rather you not hear. Also, these stories can be exported to your own website IN THEIR ENTIRETY via the storify site they were created on. Free content, people. Just sayin’.
*Orac, an oncologist, cancer researcher, and patient advocate, has written extensively about Burzynski at Respectful Insolence.
*Learn the whole story at Josephine Jones’s Blog. She has kept a comprehensive list of content about Burzynski, his clinic, and his chemotherapy on the web. An invaluable resource!
*You might be interested that the EMPLOYER of one of our members (of SPCP) was recently contacted by one of Burzynski’s misguided supporters.
Posted in medical woo, skeptical community | Tagged: antineoplastons, Burzynski, cancer, chemotherapy, clinic, cure, doctor, FDA, fraud, health, Houston, medicine, Orac, patients, pseudoscience, quack, Respectful Insolence, science, science-based, science-based medicine, Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients, SPCP, Stanislaw Burzynski, Texas, The OTHER Burzynski Patient Group, thehoustoncancerquack.com, treatment | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on July 29, 2009
Good for the FDA! :) After that last blog post it’s nice to see some good news. Of course, this research simply affirms what we (you know, the folks who follow science as applied to medicine) have known all along. But to the “mercury militia” or other purveyors of anti-science-based “medical” nonsense, it will do little to sway them. I can’t wait to see the backlash from the alt-med woosters on this one…
Mercury in dental fillings not risky, officials say
The U.S. government declared Tuesday that silver dental fillings contain too little mercury to harm the millions of Americans who have had cavities filled with them — including young children — and that only people allergic to mercury need to avoid them.
It was something of an about-face for the Food and Drug Administration, which last year settled a lawsuit with anti-mercury activists by posting on its Web site a precaution saying questions remained about whether the small amount of mercury vapor the fillings can release were enough to harm the developing brains of fetuses or the very young.
On Tuesday, the FDA said its final scientific review ended that concern. Still, the agency did slightly strengthen how it regulates the fillings, urging dentists to provide their patients with a government-written statement detailing the mercury controversy and what science shows.
Waiting for the alt-med “Big Government, Big Pharma” conspiracy-mongering machine to start up in… 3… 2… 1…
Anti-mercury activists accused the agency of bowing to the dental industry and said they would go back to court to try to force a change.
“FDA broke its contract and broke its word that it would put warnings for children and unborn children,” said Charles Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice. “This contemptuous attitude toward children and the unborn will not go unanswered.”
Whoops, too late. Yup, that’s right folks, the FDA is out to kill children! Aaagghh!!!
Give me a break… reasoning with nutbags like this is like pulling teeth.
Posted in environmental hysteria, medical woo | Tagged: alt-med, alternative medicine, amalgam, Big Pharma, conspiracy theory, Consumers for Dental Choice, dental, dental industry, dentist, environment, FDA, fillings, Food and Drug Administration, mercury, mercury militia, natural, teeth, toxic, toxicity, U.S. government | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 11, 2009
Well, since I’ve been bagging on the alt-med nonsense lately, I simply couldn’t pass up this headline. And folks… the headline says it all… “No Alternative Cures Found”… Zilch… Nada… Zip… Zero! Despite their inability to understand the most basic aspects of science and the associated math, I think that zero is a number that even alt-med woo-meisters can grasp
$2.5 billion spent, no alternative cures found
Big, government-funded studies show most work no better than placebos
Ten years ago the government set out to test herbal and other alternative health remedies to find the ones that work. After spending $2.5 billion, the disappointing answer seems to be that almost none of them do.
Echinacea for colds. Ginkgo biloba for memory. Glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis. Black cohosh for menopausal hot flashes. Saw palmetto for prostate problems. Shark cartilage for cancer. All proved no better than dummy pills in big studies funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The lone exception: ginger capsules may help chemotherapy nausea.
As for therapies, acupuncture has been shown to help certain conditions, and yoga, massage, meditation and other relaxation methods may relieve symptoms like pain, anxiety and fatigue.
However, the government also is funding studies of purported energy fields, distance healing and other approaches that have little if any biological plausibility or scientific evidence.
Taxpayers are bankrolling studies of whether pressing various spots on your head can help with weight loss, whether brain waves emitted from a special “master” can help break cocaine addiction, and whether wearing magnets can help the painful wrist problem, carpal tunnel syndrome.
The acupressure weight-loss technique won a $2 million grant even though a small trial of it on 60 people found no statistically significant benefit — only an encouraging trend that could have occurred by chance. The researcher says the pilot study was just to see if the technique was feasible.
“You expect scientific thinking” at a federal science agency, said R. Barker Bausell, author of “Snake Oil Science” and a research methods expert at the University of Maryland, one of the agency’s top-funded research sites. “It’s become politically correct to investigate nonsense.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in medical woo, politics | Tagged: acupuncture, alternative medicine, Big Pharma, CAM, complementary medicine, conspiracy theory, FDA, Food and Drug Administration, government, health, health care reform, herbal medicine, homeopathy, medicine, natural cures, placebo, public health, quackery, regulation, reiki, sCAM, science-based medicine, therapeutic touch | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 10, 2009
Since I’m on a kick about alt-med lately, let me just throw one more thing into the mix… a recent news story about how alt-med quackery has gone mainstream:
AP IMPACT: Alternative medicine goes mainstream
The news article is very revealing in its analysis of how pseudoscientific nonsense such as reiki, touch therapy, and “natural” herbal supplements have wormed their way into the medical profession over the years. One of the big reasons is due to a political push…
Fifteen years ago, Congress decided to allow dietary and herbal supplements to be sold without federal Food and Drug Administration approval. The number of products soared, from about 4,000 then to well over 40,000 now.
Ten years ago, Congress created a new federal agency to study supplements and unconventional therapies. But more than $2.5 billion of tax-financed research has not found any cures or major treatment advances, aside from certain uses for acupuncture and ginger for chemotherapy-related nausea. If anything, evidence has mounted that many of these pills and therapies lack value.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in medical woo | Tagged: acupuncture, alternative medicine, Big Pharma, CAM, complementary medicine, conspiracy theory, FDA, Food and Drug Administration, government, health, health care reform, herbal medicine, homeopathy, medicine, natural cures, placebo, public health, quackery, regulation, reiki, sCAM, science-based medicine, therapeutic touch | 5 Comments »