Skeptic Fails and Wins this Week

Held captive in her own body, docs won’t help
- Fred and Jim both send in this fail in the Toronto Sun. It was also covered on Steve Novella’s excellent blog, Neurologica. The story is about a locked-in woman who received an unspecified “stem cell” treatment at an unnamed Mexican clinic. They now claim that she needs certain prescription drugs to continue the treatment, but no doctors will subscribe them. The author, Michelle Mandel, seems to fully accept that this treatment was helping, without ever interviewing a doctor or giving details about what the actual treatment is or any evidence for its effectiveness. She paints the doctors as cold and uncaring, without considering that the uncaring doctors may be the ones willing to bilk victims out of thousands of dollars on an unproven treatment.

Mobile phones are safe… we think
- Parrot spotted this fear-mongering fail at Canoe.ca. The author, an MD, suggests we should take precautions about using cell phones even though there is no evidence that they are harmful. He claims that “scientists predict it will be decades” before we know if they are harmful. What scientists are saying this? Why do they think it will be so long? He offers no answers to these questions. He pulls out the standard ploy asking for more research, comparing the situation to the decades before cigarettes were proven harmful. Now, it may be better to be safe than sorry, but the truth is there have been a lot of studies looking at the potential risks cancer from cell phone use. So far no link has been made. I imagine that no study would be good enough for some people. Until a link is proven, there will always be cries for more research.

L’homeopathie ne repose sur aucune base scientifique
- Andrew spotted this win (in French). The article is written by a university prof, who (as Andrew put it) lays the smackdown on homeopathy and the Canadian pharmacies that sell it. If it’s been a while since high school French class, you can get the gist with Google translate which produces the wonderfully redundant headline “Homeopathy is not based on any scientific basis”.

I hope you are enjoying our coverage of World Homeopathy Awareness Week. While WHAW is being covered on a lot of CAM related websites, I have yet to see much coverage in the main stream news media. It will be interesting to see what might end up in next week’s fails and wins.

Keep those links coming to skepticnorthlinks [at] gmail [dot] com.

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  • Melany Hamill

    Melany proudly uses the titles of both geek and nerd. As a science-enthusiast and fan of debate, Melany likes to get her facts straight. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Since then her career path has meandered to its current spot as a project manager at a video game studio. Melany lives near beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. She is not seeking treatment for her caffeine addiction.