Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week

Hey there skeptifans. Here are the Fails and Wins you sent me this week.

3 reasons to reconsider vitamin pills

Thanks to Lorne for this Win. It seems that almost everyone takes some form of vitamin supplement. According to the common sense, vitamins are always good and more is better. But what is the evidence supporting vitamin supplements? And why do we downplay the risks associated with taking too much? This article quickly covers the issues, and hopefully makes you think twice about your daily multivitamin.

Acupuncture may help ease chronic pain in young people
Acupuncture has seemingly been studied to death….and yet it will not die. It has a zombie like ability to live again as credulous reporters and health professionals write about the benefits after reading a poorly controlled study. Acupuncture produces a strong placebo effect and that’s it, and when studied with proper controls this has been verified again and again. Why won’t it just die already?

Woman sues after arm amputated following holistic procedure

Mark sent in this sad story. A woman lost her arm after visiting an osteopath who told her not to seek medical treatment for the pain she was feeling. Osteopathy, like a lot of other alternative medicine fields, extols the belief that the body can heal itself. This concept seems to go hand in hand with a distrust in real medicine. This distrust leads to many of the cases we report about, and points to the ultimate harm of alternative medicine – failing to seek proper treatment.

Did you spot a media Fail or Win? Send it to me at

5 Responses to “Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week”

  1. jrkrideau says:

    Is that really a Sick Kids site? If so it’s a discrace.

  2. jrkrideau says:

    Just noticed the link to [b]3 reasons to reconsider vitamin pills [/b]seems broken

  3. Thanks for catching that, fixed now.

  4. crf says:

    Someone needs to investigate the claims of eco-fuel-saver. It’s advertised heavily on CBC television during Hockey Night in Canada.

    Its website is written in an unparsable style most often encountered in spam email from ostensible Nigerian bankers. A small sample:

    “Eco Fuel Saver lowers the total cost per BTU of fuel
    Adjusts the, per BTU, pricing to include EFS. EFS will add 7 – 10% BTU’s in diesel, and 12 – 15% in gasoline. Using 10% as a safe number, adjust the total BTU’s, and then calculate the price of BTUs to include the cost of EFS. This is the total price for the fuel. ”

    • Jacob says:

      It will be interesting to see how long the top hit for “Eco Fuel Saver” on google remains the product website, and when the first skeptical takedown bumps it from the top spot.


  • 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.