Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Friday, August 26, 2005

WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 26 Aug 05

WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 26 Aug 05 Washington, DC

1. THE WAR: SENATE LEADER JOINS PRESIDENT ON INTELLIGENT DESIGN.
Back before he began humming Hail to the Chief to himself as he walked the Capitol halls, Bill Frist headed the bipartisan Senate S&T Caucus http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN97/wn021497.html, and pushed for increased science funding. Recently, he reversed his opposition to stem cell research, supporting it despite strong opposition by the President. Bush said he believes "human life is a gift from our Creator." Some scientists saw Frist's action as a calculated move to demonstrate independence. Although Frist had never voted in an election prior to running for the Senate, he does know how to count votes, and he knows there are a lot more born-again Christians in this country than scientists. Friday, Bill Frist, sided with the President on intelligent design, calling for teaching it in science class with evolution.

2. THE MIRACLE STUDY: COLUMBIA PRAYS THE SCANDAL WILL GO AWAY.
The prayers aren't working. Bruce Flamm, MD, Clinical Professor at the U. of California, Irvine Medical Center, is the reason http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN04/wn060404.html. A 2001 study from Columbia University Medical School, published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal, reported in-vitro fertilization was twice as likely to result in pregnancy if patients were prayed for without their knowledge by total strangers halfway around the world. WN gently explained that they must be crazy http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN01/wn100501.htm. Bruce Flamm dug deeper, publishing his findings in Sci. Rev. Alt. Med. In four years he has not let up. Under pressure from the Dean, the lead author, Dr. Rogerio Lobo, has removed his name from the study. Another author, a notorious scam artist, is in jail on separate fraud charges. The University has never retracted or apologized for the study, but has now told the journal to remove all links to Columbia. Maybe an intelligent eraser could help.

3. FREEDOM TO READ: FBI DEMANDS LIBRARY RECORDS UNDER PATRIOT ACT
On 5 Sep 86, WN broke the story of the FBI's infamous Library Awareness Program. Agents had asked the physics librarian at the U. of Maryland for circulation records of "persons with Russian-sounding names." The librarian refused. It took the ACLU and the American Library Association years to get Library Awareness stopped. Now we learn that the FBI is at it again, demanding circulation records from a Connecticut library under the Patriot Act. Because the PA prevents public disclosure concerning such demands, little information is available. In the 80's, hundreds of critics of the program were the subject of FBI checks.

4. HOMEOPATHY: IT DOESN'T WORK. BUT DIDN'T WE ALREADY KNOW THAT?
A study at the University of Berne, reported in Lancet, compared 110 trials each of homeopathy and conventional medicine and found benefits attributed to homeopathy were merely placebo effects. The editors of Lancet called for an end to further investment in research on homeopathy, and for doctors to be honest with their patients about homeopathy's lack of benefits.

THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND.
Opinions are the author's and not necessarily shared by the University of Maryland, but they should be.
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