Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

One of the terms that you’ll see used to describe health quackery, scams and pseudoscience is “snake oil”. Snake oil was a real product, sold in the early 19th century as a cure-all elixer in the “patent medicine” era. Popularized in movies, the snake-oil salesman would pull into town, and start the hard sell for […]


Is the health care spending tide turning? Unnecessary medical investigations and overtreatment seems to have entered the public consciousness to an extent I can’t recall in the past. More and more, the merits of medical investigations such as mammograms and just this week, PSA tests are being being widely questioned. It’s about time. Previous attempts […]


This is the first of a series of posts adapting a presentation made at The Ontario Public Health Convention in April, 2011. The presentation, “Fighting in the Trenches: Countering Anti-Vaccine Sentiment with Social Media” was a panel discussion from Scott Gavura and Kimberly Hébert: One of the best parts of the infectious disease outbreak movie […]


As glands go, we don’t give the butterfly-shaped thyroid that straddles our trachea too much thought — until it stops working properly. The thyroid is a bit like your home’s thermostat: turn it high, and you’re hyperthyroid: heat intolerant, a high heart rate, and maybe some diarrhea. Turn it down, and you’re hypothyroid: cold, tired, […]


This year is shaping up to be a challenging one for measles control. Once considered eradicated in North America, it’s seen a bit of a resurgence in the States, almost entirely among the unvaccinated. From the Public Health Agency of Canada:


Energy Drinks

06Jan11

My stimulant of choice is coffee. I started drinking it in first-year university, and never looked back. A tiny four-cup coffee maker became my reliable companion right through graduate school. But since I stopped needing to drink a pot at a time, an entirely new category of products has appeared — the energy drink. Targeting […]


As has been repeatedly pointed out on this blog, homeopathy is an elaborate placebo system, with most remedies diluted so greatly that not a single molecule of the original material remains. The final product sold to consumers is quite literally, water – drops of which are dried on sucrose or lactose tablets. The fact that […]


Here’s an email I received the other day:


A few short updates on topics of interest to SBP visitors. Homeopathy: From Germany, Der Speigel has an extended series of articles: Homöopathie: Die große Illusion (While the articles are in German, you can get a sense of the article just from the title.) No German language knowledge is required to enjoy the photo gallery […]


This Friday, June 11, I’ll be appearing on the Skeptically Speaking radio show, answering your questions about vitamins. Call in, listen online, or submit your questions in advance. I promise an interesting discussion.



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