Skeptic Fails and Wins This Week

Good morning skeptics and skepti-curious folks.  I can’t believe it’s August already! As this post goes up I will be enjoying the colorful Vancouver Pride Parade, and appreciating how lucky I am to be living in a country where hundreds of thousands of people will be out supporting this event.  But, despite the beautiful weather this weekend, I didn’t forget about the fails and wins this week!

Homeopathic Stem Cell Treatments for Dogs
Kennedy found this fail on Global News.  I’m not sure why, but woo for dogs always seems a thousand times stupider than woo for humans.  This video is about a dog who was healed with a “small medical miracle” that involved a homeopathic stem cell treatment.  The vet involved claims that homeopathy is “Energetic medicine stimulating the body’s own healing processes.  It’s faster than traditional medicine!” I’m not really sure how homeopathy principles were combined with the stem cells, but I am certain this story is a big FAIL.  It’s classic woovertising…telling you that the treatment works, telling you where you can get it, and offering no criticism or investigation at all.

Saskatchewan’s Wall vows to fund contentious MS treatment
David found this story in the Globe & Mail, discussing the MS treatment that has been the subject of a few fails and win stories in the past weeks.  Saskatchewan’s Premier, Brad Wall, has made some statements calling for controlled trials of the surgery in Canada.  Unlike many other stories on this issue, this one looks like a win.  It presents the story in a factual way, with sensible quotes like:

“I applaud Premier Wall because he is saying let’s step up evidence-based care and research in the country,” said Dr. Hébert. “But he must remember that there are countless diseases we need research for. If you open the door here, Mr. Wall, we hope you will promote the need for all clinical research all over the country.”

and

“..we have very little data to move forward. If this were anything else, any other procedure, we would say that we simply don’t have enough information to allocate people to this potentially risky procedure.”

Now, it may be that this procedure will turn out to have merit. But when it comes to risky surgery, it takes time to gather data before funding large-scale clinical trials is the way to go.

If you spot a skeptical fail or win, send to to me at links [AT] skepticnorth [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.