Weekend Reading


Winter won’t let go in Canada. Here are some articles and posts of interest to SBP’s readers:

Important new public safety campaign: Stop Nosodes Campaign Launched Today: Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate has approved 82 “homeopathic vaccines” as “safe and effective” despite the fact they are ineffective and are simply sugar pills. Bad Science Watch has launched the “Stop Nosodes” campaign to have the approval withdrawn for these products.

Also on homeopathy, a review of American regulation: Homeopathic regulation diluted until no substance left.

If you have any doubt that Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate will approve anything, check out: Nature’s Cure Acne Tablets For Females. Yup, this cure is “homeopathic”.

Make all research results public:

Successful conduct of clinical trials depends on many factors, but these studies are impossible unless patients agree to participate in them. For many patients the principal motivation for participating in clinical trials is the hope that they may receive better care, and perhaps more effective treatment. All participants in clinical trials, however, believe that their involvement will help to increase knowledge about the effects of treatments. They expect that people with health problems like theirs – and perhaps they themselves – will be able to make better informed treatment decisions in future as a result of their contributions to knowledge.

How come, then, that the research community, including research funders and regulators, have acquiesced for decades in the nonpublication of around 50 per cent of all clinical trials? Can this be characterised as anything other than a gross betrayal of the trust in researchers which motivated volunteers to participate in clinical trials in the first place? How many of them would have agreed to participate if researchers had told them “If the results of this trial don’t serve our academic or commercial interests we won’t make them public”?

This new H7N9 influenza virus is frightening. Let’s all hope it’s not “the big one”.

Antivaccination views more contagious on Twitter than positive views

The Nocebo Effect: How We Worry Ourselves Sick (Interesting in parts, but fails in its explanation of placebo effects.)

No surprise: Organic Labels Bias Consumers Perceptions through the “Health halo effect”. Organic is no healthier than “conventional”. What has a bigger health halo than organic? Gluten free.

Dr. Mehmet Oz wins the James Randi Educational Foundation Pigasus award for the third consecutive year in the “Refusal to Face Reality” category, for “continued promotion of quack medical practices, paranormal belief and pseudoscience.”

What is Science-Based Medicine and how does it differ from Evidence-Based Medicine? Dr. David Gorski explains in this video.

Aussies increasingly use the internet to diagnose food allergies, cutting out major food groups without medical advice. This could be the case in Canada, abetted by clinically useless food sensitivity tests sold by pharmacists.

Herbal Medicines Pose Health Risk to Millions in Asia

Dude, Where’s My Red Wine Pill? The strange saga of resveratrol, the wonder drug that never was.

Criticizing the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) is defending science-based medicine. Also: Chelation For Heart Disease: Not What You Have Read.

Unbelievably, a Canadian naturopath and pharmacist claims cancer is “stress related” and he can treat it with vitamin C. Where is the Alberta College of Pharmacists?

Number Of Early Childhood Vaccines Not Linked To Autism

Weekly long read: Bitter Pill: The rise and fall of Manitoba’s Internet pharmacy pioneers.

Completely unrelated to health and pharmacy, but amazing: Pictures of the Great Pyramids like you’ve never seen before.

Photo from flickr user april-mo used under a CC licence.