Weekend Reading


It’s Labour Day weekend, which is a long weekend for many of you. Here’s some articles of interest:


How Many People Were Killed by Love Canal?  The surprising statistics of environmental cancers:

As the years have passed, no epidemic has appeared. Adjusted for the aging of the population, the statistics amassed by SEER show that death rates from cancer did rise gradually by half a percentage point a year from 1975 to 1984—smoking no doubt was a factor—and at a slower pace until 1991, but then they began decreasing modestly and have been doing so ever since.

Energy drinks, detox, and superfoods: Mythbuster

Better than Weed: the latest drug craze is a fake version of pot that might even be legal

This looks like an excellent read: ‘The Cancer Chronicles’ Wanders Through the Disease’s World


Public Availability of Results of Trials Assessing Cancer Drugs in the United States:

Despite the FDAAA, results for nearly half the trials of cancer drugs in the United States were not publicly available 3 years after completion of the trials.

Why is this a problem? See my post on the issue of transparency of clinical trials.

Measles outbreaks, religion, and the reality of the antivaccine movement also see Texas measles outbreak linked to church

“Good” Patients and “Difficult” Patients — Rethinking Our Definitions:

When we call patients and families “good,” or at least spare them the “difficult” label, we are noting and rewarding acquiescence. Too often, this “good” means you agree with me and you don’t bother me and you let me be in charge of what happens and when. Such a definition runs counter to what we know about truly good care as a collaborative process. From the history that so often generates the diagnosis to the treatment that is the basis of care or cure, active participation of patients and families is essential to optimal outcomes.

“Caregiver-fabricated illness” replaces “Munchausen syndrome by proxy”: A rare, but serious form of child abuse.

Alternatives to Medicine

Lots of people rely on homeopathy. Can they all be wrong? Yes: Joe Schwarcz calls out the nonsense of homeopathy that is Mozi-Q, a homeopathic product (i.e., sugar pill) that is marketed to prevent insect bites. There is no convincing evidence that Mozi-Q will do anything to prevent insect bites. Also see Edzard Ernst’s take on Mozi-Q. Frankly I find it unbelievable that Health Canada permits the sale of this product, especially given the risk of insect-borne diseases like West Nile Virus and Lyme disease.

The text that you’re reading on your chiropractor’s website is probably boilerplate messaging, purchased from a company to drive business and repeat customers.

FDA Warns Consumers About Common Off-Label Autism Therapy called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

One million cockroaches escape farm in China, where they were being raised for Traditional Chinese Medicine. Don’t miss my post on TCM, “Integrative Medicine” and the University of Toronto. 98 comments so far over at Science-Based Medicine.

Yet another “natural health product” adulterated with prescriptions drugs. This tea is actually Viagra.

Nutrition and Diet

Why anecdotes and hypotheses are not data: Probiotics for Mental Health?

This is excellent: High fructose corn syrup causes diabetes: myth vs science:

An RCT for parents of young kids: A Variety of Vegetables Helps Kids Eat More:

In the study, researchers offered snacks to 61 children, aged 3-5, in their preschool classrooms over four weeks. On three days, one vegetable (grape tomatoes, cucumber slices or sweet pepper strips) was served. Single fruits (slices of apple, peach or pineapple) were also served on three separate days. Then the children were offered a platter with all three vegetables, and finally a platter with all three fruits. Kids were allowed to select as much as they wanted each time.

The children chose and ate about one-quarter cup more of the vegetables and fruit when offered the variety compared to when they were offered just one type. That’s about  one-sixth of what they need each day.

A Call for an End to the Diet Debates:

As the obesity epidemic persists, the time has come to end the pursuit of the “ideal” diet for weight loss and disease prevention. The dietary debate in the scientific community and reported in the media about the optimal macronutrient-focused weight loss diet sheds little light on the treatment of obesity and may mislead the public regarding proper weight management.

5 Signs Your Gluten Allergy Is Fake. Gluten is the only allergy where you actually try to talk people into joining your allergy. (ht Mark Young)

What’s a More Pressing Public Health Concern? Vitamin D Deficiency or Sugar Overconsumption?

This rhetoric looks familiar: How to Slim Down in Fourteen Days, 1595 edition

Pharmacy Practice

An entire issue of Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies just for Pharmacists. (Subscription Required) Topics include:

  • Commentary: the law, unproven CAM and the two-hats fallacy
  • Why homeopathy is unethical
  • Factors affecting the pharmacokinetics of herbal preparations and their impact on the outcome of clinical trials

Medication non-adherence costs billions & compromises outcomes: Improving Adherence in the Accountability Era.

Abusive Prescribing of Controlled Substances — A Pharmacy View:

Pharmacies have a role to play in the oversight of prescriptions for controlled substances, and opioid analgesics in particular. Under the Controlled Substances Act, pharmacists must evaluate patients to ensure the appropriateness of any controlled-substance prescription. In addition, state boards of pharmacy regulate the distribution of opioid analgesics and other controlled substances through the discretion of pharmacists. Yet in the majority of cases of potential abuse, pharmacists face a patient who has a legal prescription from a licensed physician, and they have access to very little other background information. That makes it difficult for individual pharmacists to use their own partially informed judgment to identify prescriptions that have come from a pill-mill doctor.

Boots pharmacies among others cited for making exaggerated and misleading supplement claims.

E-cigarettes: The growing popularity of an unregulated drug delivery device

Most drugs can be given safely to breastfeeding women: The Transfer of Drugs and Therapeutics Into Human Breast Milk: An Update on Selected Topics from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Other stuff

In running news, Pearl Izumi is sorry they said their shoes will run your dog to death.

Stop calling it the Big Bang: An Animated Clarifier

How to Make Perfect Coffee:  The science of what makes coffee great 

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3 thoughts on “Weekend Reading

  1. “Homeopathy has now spread its wings globally, with currently 450 million patients”
    Ref: Christian Boiron, Waarom ik vertrouwen heb in homeopathie, 1st ed. Standaard Uitgeverij (Antwerpen, 2007)

    • Not only is this an appeal to popularity, Ms. Malik (she is not a doctor, nor a “Medical Doctor of Homeopathy”; she is a homeopathist, and deserves no doctor title) is citing a book — hardly first class evidence — and a book written by Christian Boiron, who heads Boiron Laboratories, the largest manufacturer of homeopathic products in the world! This is a total fail.

      I might add Ms. Malik has her evidentiary failings pointed out time and time again, yet she continues to spill out the same deceit ad nauseam. I will let our readers decide what that says about her character.

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