Category: Book & movie reviews

An HBO Documentary about the Theranos Fraud Raises Concerns

Elizabeth Holmes founded Theranos to develop a device that could do 200 tests on a single drop of blood in a minute. She lied; it failed; she is being tried for fraud and conspiracy. The HBO documentary The Inventor tells the story but has some flaws. We can learn lessons from what happened.

/ March 26, 2019

Brief Announcement: Price of Consumer Health Book Has Been Slashed

The price of the textbook Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions has been reduced to $9.99 on Amazon.

/ March 16, 2019

Homeopath Quits Homeopathy but Thinks the Homeopathic Approach Has Value

A former homeopath shows that there's nothing scientific about homeopathy; in fact, it contradicts all known scientific principles. Nevertheless she finds value in the homeopathic approach to the patient and thinks all providers can learn from it.

/ February 26, 2019

The Magic Feather Effect: Placebos and the Power of Belief in Alternative Medicine

In her book The Magic Feather Effect, journalist Melanie Warner covers placebo research, shows that alternative medicine is placebo medicine, takes a "try it yourself" approach, and gives belief and anecdotes more credit than they deserve.

/ February 19, 2019

Critical Thinking in Medicine

Cognitive Errors and Diagnostic Mistakes is a superb new guide to critical thinking in medicine written by Jonathan Howard. It explains how our psychological foibles regularly bias and betray us, leading to diagnostic mistakes. Learning critical thinking skills is essential but difficult. Every known cognitive error is illustrated with memorable patient stories.

/ January 15, 2019
Autism-brain-lead

Autism Revisited

Is there an autism epidemic? Why was autism rare in the past? This book tries to answer those questions with a historical and sociological approach and suggests deinstitutionalization was a key factor.

/ January 1, 2019

Charlatans for Christmas

A novel by Robin Cook is a great read with a medical theme. It brings up some serious questions about quality control and medical education.

/ December 25, 2018

Afflicted and the Tragedy of Fake Illnesses

Afflicted is a documentary following the lives and treatments of people "diagnosed" with illnesses not recognized by science. Conversely, it could also be seen as a documentary illustrating the risks and harms of alternative medicine.

/ November 26, 2018

Molecular Phylogenetics: A New Way to Tell the Story of Evolution

The new science of molecular phylogenetics tells the story of evolution with no need to consult the fossil record. It has produced some surprises, including a whole new domain of life, the archaea.

/ November 13, 2018

Wrong About Polio: A Review of Suzanne Humphries, MD and Roman Bystrianyk’s “Dissolving Illusions” Part 1 (the long version)

This is a longer version of my post on Friday, November 9th, 2018. It is a lengthy discussion of why Suzanne Humphries, MD and Roman Bystrianyk's book Dissolving Illusions misrepresents the dangers of polio, one in a series of posts that should comprehensively show the problems with their claims. It covers far more than just polio, but is worthwhile for those interested...

/ November 10, 2018