Category: Science and the Media

Amazon Prime

Combatting dangerous quackery and antivaccine misinformation on streaming services and social media

Last week, Amazon began removing antivaccine videos from Amazon Prime. Last month, YouTube announced that it was demonetizing antivaccine videos, and Facebook stated that it would be taking action to de-emphasize antivaccine pages in its searched. These are all good first tentative steps, but the problem of quackery on streaming platforms and social media goes way beyond just antivaccine content. Making it...

/ March 4, 2019
Peter Gøtzsche

Peter Gøtzsche and antivaxers: Should a science advocate ever speak at an antivaccine conference?

Last week, I wrote about how evidence-based medicine icon Peter Gøtzsche was slated to speak at an antivaccine conference. This week, I now know why he agreed to appear. In part, he thought he could change antivaxer minds. This leads me to ask: Is it ever a good idea for a science advocate to speak at a pseudoscience conference?

/ February 25, 2019
PIC 2019

The strange saga of Peter Gøtzsche and Physicians for Informed Consent

Recently, it was noted that Peter Gøtzsche, formerly of Cochrane Nordic, was featured on the speaker list for an antivaccine quackfest organized by the antivaccine group Physicians for Informed Consent, along with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Toni Bark, and Marry Holland. Two days later, he announced that he would not be speaking there. So what happened? And what is Physicians for Informed...

/ February 18, 2019

Are medical errors really the third most common cause of death in the U.S.? (2019 edition)

The claim that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US has always rested on very shaky evidence; yet it's become common wisdom that is cited as though everyone accepts it. But if estimates of 250,000 to 400,000 deaths due to medical error are way too high, what is the real number? A study published last month suggests...

/ February 4, 2019

Misleading Ad for Apeaz

An ad for Apeaz in Discover Magazine is misleading. Its active ingredient may provide some temporary relief of pain, but the claims in the ad are overblown. It is not a new blockbuster drug or an anesthetic.

/ January 29, 2019

Crowdfunding: The fuel for cancer quackery (part 2)

In September, The Good Thinking Society released a study estimating the scope of crowdfunding for cancer quackery in the UK. Now, Jeremy Snyder and Tim Caulfield have done the same for the US, specifically for homeopathy for cancer. The results are alarming. Truly, crowdfunding is the fuel for cancer quackery. But will GoFundMe and other crowdfunding sites clean up their acts?

/ January 7, 2019

BladderMax: Fake News and Outrageous Headlines

A newspaper ad for BladderMax is disguised as a news story reporting "the end of bladder leakages." The information is inaccurate and the headlines are preposterous.

/ December 11, 2018

The stem cell hard sell: The Medical Board of California is forming a task force to determine how to regulate physicians offering stem cell therapies.

For-profit stem cell clinics selling unproven and downright quacky stem cell therapies have proliferated over the last several years, with federal and state law seemingly powerless to stop them. Recently, the FDA and FTC have shown signs of acting to crack down on them. Now, the Medical Board of California is forming a task force to determine how to regulate physicians offering...

/ December 10, 2018

Reader’s Digest Promotes Prevagen

Reader's Digest is advertising a memory aid, Prevagen, that has been tested and shown not to work. Shame on them!

/ December 4, 2018

Goop and Dr. Mark Hyman join forces for some functional medicine heavy metal fear mongering

Goop and the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Mark Hyman join forces for some functional medicine heavy metal fear mongering featuring bogus diagnostic testing and discredited treatments. Experts crush their pseudoscience.

/ November 8, 2018