Warning Signs of Quackery and Fraud – Part 4

Alternative Medicine, Bioethics, General Health, Nutritional Health
Here's Part 4 from an excerpt from my and Donal O'Mathuna's book, Alternative Medicine: The options, claims, evidence, how to choose wisely. You find the book here. 16. Is a therapy encouraged simply because it’s been used for centuries by people in some remote place? This might simply mean that those people had nothing else to use. If the best texts on the subject are decades or centuries old, you’ll probably find that many of the old ideas were discredited long ago. Medicine evolves—just think about all we have discovered about nutrition in the last few decades. Continued use adds to our knowledge, uncovers side effects, fine-tunes dosage, and brings change. (more…)
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Warning Signs of Quackery and Fraud – Part 3

Alternative Medicine, Bioethics
Here's Part 3 of an excerpt from my and Donal O'Mathuna's book, Alternative Medicine: The options, claims, evidence, how to choose wisely. You’ll find out more about the book here. Next week, I’ll post another five warning signs. 11. Does the proponent of the therapy claim to be criticized unfairly? Some proponents of CAM portray themselves as martyrs, persecuted by the government, the medical establishment, or some other organization with a stake in keeping you unaware of their breakthrough. (more…)
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Occasional marijuana use may not damage lungs

Bioethics, Cancer, General Health, Mental Health
The Washington Post "The Checkup" blog reports, "Smoking marijuana doesn't appear to do the kind of damage to people's lungs as smoking tobacco does," according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "But that may have to do more with the way marijuana is typically smoked than with anything inherent in the substance itself." (more…)
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Will new tests promote abortion of an ‘undesired sex’ baby?

Bioethics, Children's Health
Art Caplan, MD, is a physician and bioethicist, who is prochoice, but shares the significant reservations I have about a new blood test that helps a couple know early in a pregnancy whether they have a male or female baby. I’ve predicted this will result in more abortions and that physicians should rarely offer this test. Now, my colleague, who is prochoice, agrees. (more…)
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Early blood test for baby’s gender accurate and extremely controversial

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
On its front page, the New York Times (Subscription Publication) reported that according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), "a simple blood test that can determine a baby's sex as early as seven weeks into pregnancy is highly accurate if used correctly." For some couples, this is good news. For unborn children, I predict it means more death. (more…)
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