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Category Archive: Medicine

Jul 22 2014

Those sneaky forms of academic bias…

It’s Tuesday…that must mean it’s “Let’s point out flaws in the academic system!” day. Here’s another example: some investigators did a study of the value of screening cancer patients for distress — they asked whether such screening actually contributed to patient’s feelings of well-being and willingness to follow medical recommendations, and whether it was cost-effective. …

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Jul 22 2014

Biology is a hard problem

New genetic disorders pop up all the time — each one represents a child who may face incredible challenges, or even be doomed to death. A child named Bertrand exhibited some serious symptoms — profound developmental disabilities — shortly after he was born, and no one could figure out what was wrong with him. So …

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Jun 23 2014

Come for the Oz-kicking, stay for the information

This is an excellent piece on that quack, Dr Oz, by John Oliver. The first 5 minutes is spent mocking the fraud, but then, the last ten minutes are all about the real problem: the evisceration of the FDA’s regulatory power over supplements, thanks to Senators Hatch and Harkin. OK, there is a silly bit …

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Jun 21 2014

Boeing employees of Seattle, I hope you choose wisely

When I was growing up in Seattle, my family rode the Boeing roller coaster. Long time residents know what that is: the constant cycle of hirings and layoffs by the company. My father was always trying to get employed there, but it was always temporary as Boeing constantly expanded and contracted its workforce. So one …

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Jun 13 2014

A thorough rebuttal

Who are you going to trust, Brian Morris or your penis? Brian Earp and Robert Darby take apart all of the ardent foreskin-hater’s arguments. As for my question, I think my penis is far more honest and forthright than Brian Morris.

May 17 2014

Mike Adams, blustering scoundrel

We all know about Mike Adams, notorious quack, conspiracy theorist, quantum dork, and raving nutball around here, right? If nothing else, you must have enjoyed Orac’s regular deconstruction of his nonsense. Jon Entine has published a profile of Mike Adams in Forbes magazine that distills all the lunacy down to a relatively concise summary. For …

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May 15 2014

The danger of correlational studies

My doctor had me on fish oil pills for quite a while — they were a popular supplement that was supposed to reduce the incidence of heart disease. She told me not to bother any more about a year ago, as more information was coming out that they didn’t really do anything. Now it looks …

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Apr 22 2014

Got sand in your…?

Do not search for information on getting sand in your genitals. It’s a morass of nonsense out there, with all kinds of bizarre pop culture notions. Most of it seems to be about getting sand in your vagina, which is treated as slogan to mock and trivialize women’s problems, but getting sand under your foreskin…oh, …

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Apr 21 2014

Patterson and Kehoe, and the great lead debate

You know what is really impressing me about Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos? That he doesn’t hesitate to draw connections between science and how we live our lives — there is an implicit understanding that science has become fundamental to how we see the universe. Last night’s episode was no exception. What started as an explanation …

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Apr 11 2014

Should you circumcise your child?

Prevalence of adult circumcision in the United States during the past 6 decades (1948-2010). The solid line represents documented prevalence among adults; dashed line, [Morris's] predictions.

Probably not. But the New York Times reports: A review of studies has found that the health benefits of infant male circumcision vastly outweigh the risks involved in the procedure. Actually, it doesn’t. Not at all. The paper is all about the frequency of circumcision in the US; this is the only real data in …

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