Weekend Reading

Read beyond the headlines and the media coverage and look at the data in the paper. The latest acupuncture paper is persuasive evidence that there are no specific effects beyond placebo. Also see Orac’s take, Can we finally just say that acupuncture is nothing more than an elaborate placebo? Can we?

Another great post from Orac: More data on why people reject science.

A very readable paper in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology: How clinical decisions are made. The whole issue on prescribing seems to be open access.

Feng shui a mystic force in Vancouver real estate?  Not really. Feng shui is eastern mysticism, and as pseudoscientific as astrology and homeopathy. Too bad there wasn’t a skeptical look at the practice.

Health Canada says that natural health products are reviewed for safety and efficacy. But their actions demonstrate otherwise. For more on the failings of Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate to take any responsibility for consumer protection, see Kim Hebert’s series, Paging Health CanadaPart 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Yesterday I blogged about magnesium and the need to evaluate dietary interventions in a prospective manner in order to truly determine their effect. Here’s another example of why we cannot assume that vitamin supplements are safe or effective: Vitamin D may worsen lipid profiles. Never, never assume. Always seek the evidence. And along the same lines, omega-3 supplements have no effect on all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke.

A new series at Skeptic North will look at some of the information being communicated by alternative medicine providers. This week featured a naturopath who recommends loose bras to prevent breast cancer,  an acupuncturist who believes that Parkinson’s disease is caused by uncomfortable feelings, and a naturopath who recommends home-made electrolyte solutions for heat stroke, and homeopathy for shock and trauma.

Are chiropractors primary care providers? The evidence says no, though chiropractors argue otherwise.

Organic food is no more nutritious than “conventional” food. But now we’re told that’s not why advocates eat it: Organic supporters try to change history.

Dr. Sharma points out in a short but important post, that when it comes to diet, not everything that works, works.

Going gluten free is a fad, driven in part by clinically useless “food sensitivity” testing like Hemocode, YorkTest, and other IgG blood tests. Mind you, it’s great for those with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease.

Photo from flickr user blmiers under a CC licence.