Author Archives: Michael D. Shaw

Health Care Summertime Blues

You might ask: What does this have to do with junk science? Behind most—if not all—junk science is a fierce dedication to some preconceived notion, or even an ideology. Thus, the results of the experiment are always made to fit the preferred hypothesis. In health care, far too many so-called random and unpreventable events derive from nothing less than willful blindness, as will be demonstrated in our first item. Continue reading

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Dark Secrets

The TV series Dark Secrets, from 3net Studios, begins each episode with a teaser prologue, followed by this ominous voiceover:

“When an abandoned industrial building is cleared for demolition, a locked door is discovered in its basement. The door conceals an archive of strange and disturbing specimens, recordings, photos, and documentary films—compelling evidence of monstrous creatures and preternatural events. The documentarian’s whereabouts remain unknown. In his records, he identifies himself only as ‘The Teller.’ His investigations reveal a frightening world of dark secrets.”

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What Kind Of Health Care System Do You Want?

Reforming health care is a signature issue with the current administration, but even the most ardent proponents of Obamacare would be reluctant to call it a success. Notwithstanding the well-publicized problems, of the countless billions spent on this program, precious little has gone into actual patient care. But really, what should we expect from a system designed by soulless bureaucrats such as “bioethicist” Ezekiel Emanuel and Donald Berwick, former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services?

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No Ethics? No Problem: The Sequel

A few weeks ago, this column ran a story exposing just a few of the shocking ethics violations that occurred in conjunction with a clinical trial called SUPPORT (Surfactant, Positive Pressure, and Oxygenation Randomized Trial). The trial’s primary purpose was to examine the efficacy of two experimental strategies for managing oxygen and two strategies of ventilation therapy in extremely premature babies. As noted in the earlier piece, the consent forms left much to be desired. In fact, it is likely that if the risks to the babies were properly outlined, few if any parents would have agreed for their children to have been part of the trial.

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No Ethics? No Problem: The Story of SUPPORT

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development was established by President John F. Kennedy, with the support of Congress, in 1962 to study the “complex process of human development from conception to old age.” In 2007, the NICHD was re-christened to include the name of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Among NICHD’s many large projects was the so-called SUPPORT study (Surfactant, Positive Pressure, and Oxygenation Randomized Trial). Continue reading

Drinking the Kool-Aid on Cholesterol: An Oldie But Goodie

It has been pointed out by many opponents of the saturated fat/cholesterol theory of coronary artery disease (CAD) that a paper from January, 2009 shreds this notion. The work is entitled “Lipid levels in patients hospitalized with coronary artery disease: An analysis of 136,905 hospitalizations.” You can obtain an abstract here, with a link to a free full text version.

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Glycemic Control For Fun And Litigation

The first piece I posted on blood glucose hysteria examined the less-than-stellar scientific evidence behind the notion of tight glycemic control. Many readers—doctors and patients alike—wrote in, and virtually all of the correspondence was favorable. Thus, we follow up with a look at the devastating pitfalls of certain diabetes oral meds.

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Glycemic Control For Fun And Profit

According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes (90-95% are type 2). This includes 18.8 million who are diagnosed and 7 million who are “undiagnosed.” And, if that weren’t bad enough, the ADA estimates that there are also 79 million so-called “prediabetics” in this country. Much more statistical information—and some elucidation of the dubious methodology behind it is available here.

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Breast Cancer, Mammograms, And The Fear Factor

Call them “breast-obsessed” if you like, but more than 3500 years ago, Egyptian physicians documented breast cancer on papyri that survive to this day. Some authorities claim that these documents could date back much earlier than that. A key entry describes “bulging tumors of the breast that have no cure.”

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Salt of the Earth

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls his disciples “the salt of the earth.” While the meaning of this expression is clear, its derivation may not be. Roman scholar Pliny the Elder would say: Nil utilius sole et sale—There’s nothing more useful than sunlight and salt. The habitual use of salt is intimately connected with the advance from nomadic to agricultural life. Traditionally, salt is identified with three special qualities… Continue reading

From ACSH: Upholding its tradition, a new Lancet piece on chemicals aims to scare rather than inform

The current issue of Lancet Neurology has a “sky is falling” alarm about the alleged ever-rising threat of environmental chemicals for our children’s neurological development. The authors are well-versed in this subject: not toxicology or neurology, no, we mean they are experts in the subject of trying to scare parents and the media about remote or hypothetical chemical threats. Continue reading

ACSH Absolutely Nails It With Their Top 13 Health Scares in 2013

Featuring video and detailed copy.  Let’s make this one viral, folks.   Plenty more great stuff on their site.

The problem with health insurance

Don’t worry. This is not another piece about Obamacare. Instead, we’ll go back to basics, and see if health insurance can ever satisfy the demands of the payers, the providers, and the patients. It’s not as if people haven’t been working on this for awhile. The notion of health insurance stems from the so-called “friendly societies,” and dates back to the very dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Continue reading

Whatever happened to science?

For the Baby Boomers, born under the halo of victory in World War II, and into the 1950s, one of the key themes was the promise of Science. Electrical power—courtesy of splitting the atom—would be so plentiful that consumers would simply pay a flat monthly fee, and the discovery of the structure of DNA meant (somehow, although this was never fully explained) that a cure for cancer was just beyond the horizon. Continue reading

Forbidden Topics In Health Care–Part One

The official line on health care, which pervades not only the mainstream, but also much of the alternative media is this: The most important thing is that we all receive the best care, and that someone else pays for it. Which brings us to our first forbidden topic…

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Blood Glucose Numbers And Acronyms Demystified

Diabetics know that their blood glucose numbers are important, since all forms of diabetes present as some amount of difficulty in maintaining proper glycemic control i.e. maintaining the blood glucose level. Shamefully, those involved with the relevant clinical assays have not made matters easy to understand. Continue reading

Are We All Crazy?

On May 18, the highly anticipated fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—aka DSM-5—was released by the American Psychiatric Association at its annual meeting. There has been no shortage of critics of this new edition, including Thomas R. Insel, MD, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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Risk Factors: More Risky Than You Might Think

Here’s a cynical proposition: Risk factors do a much better job of selling drugs and diagnostic tests than preventing diseases. But, let’s take this back a few steps. First of all, what is a “risk factor”? Continue reading

What If You’re A Skinny Type 2 Diabetic?

It is estimated that 80 percent of type 2 diabetics are overweight. It’s not clear who came up with this figure, or–more importantly—how it was determined. Perhaps it is tied in with modern medicine’s love for cataloging risk factors, especially simplistic ones. Cynics might go even further, suggesting that risk factors do a much better job of selling drugs than preventing diseases, but we digress.

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Don’t Call It Autism

Confusion surrounding the term “autism” is surely nothing new. The word was first used in 1911 by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who presumably invoked the Greek autos, meaning “self.” Continue reading