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Acupuncture for Hot Flashes – Or, Why So Many Worthless Acupuncture Studies?

Posted in Science Based Medicine by Skepdude on September 24, 2008

In yet another round of science by press release, a particularly unimpressive acupuncture study is making the rounds of the major news outlets proclaiming that acupuncture works. I guess that is a sort-of answer to my title question – why are so many scientifically worthless acupuncture studies being done?

Let’s take a look at this particular study to see why it is so weak. All I have to go on is the press release, since the study is not published. It was presented at a scientific meeting – which is legitimate, I just don’t have access to it. (The bar for publication in a peer-reviewed journal is much higher than presentation at a meeting, and there may, in fact, be changes to the text prior to publication.) But we can still say a great deal about this study from the information provided.

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Yawn. Yet another worthless acupuncture study for hot flashes in breast cancer patients

Posted in Respectful Insolence by Skepdude on September 24, 2008

Here we go again.

Tuesday night and yesterday, you probably saw it, plastered all over the media, in the newspapers, on ABC, on the radio, in press releases, and around the blogosphere. Yes, it was another bit of science by press release, with news outlets practically falling all over themselves to hype the results of an acupuncture study reported earlier this week at the annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO). Leading the pack was ABC News:

A new medical study finds that acupuncture, an ancient form of healing that has been around for thousands of years, is as good as, or better than modern medicine in helping ease the side effects of breast cancer treatment.The findings, which were presented today at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology’s (ASTRO) annual meeting in Boston, suggest that this ancient therapy can give cancer patients a wide range of benefits above modern medicine.

This study suggests nothing of the sort. In fact, like most acupuncture studies, it’s riddled with methodological shortcomings that make its results, in essence, meaningless. I’ll explain why shortly. But first, let’s check out the credulous coverage:

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NEW FEATURE: Pray to God

Posted in Humorous, Stuff God Hates by Skepdude on September 24, 2008

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “STUFF GOD HATES”

Prepare thyself, he who reads this, to tremble and quake before the Incredible Word of God, as written by THE LORD HIMSELF!

In this new monthly feature, the faithful readers of My Divine Blog are granted the opportunity to send Me exactly one prayer request.

Just think of it! This allows you, a puny mortal, the incredible opportunity to bypass all the infinite bureaucracy and mularky associated with normal praying and ask The Lord Almighty directly for a favor! No more begging that whore Mary for help! Do you have any idea how lucky you are?!

Naturally, you will be expected to follow the usual protocol I expect. All prayers must begin with ‘Dear’ and some variation of praise unto Me, His Beautiful Handsome Awesomeness, The Almighty Lord your God. You must then humbly send Me your prayer, and be sure to give proper respect throughout by capitalizing all mentions of My Wondrous Person. And verily, when your prayer is concluded, you must thank The Lord profusely and then say ‘Amen.’ If you follow these rules I have laid before you, I promise I will answer your prayer. If you do not follow these rules, I promise I will not answer your ‘prayer.’

So go ahead mortal, pray to Me!

Disclaimer: Although all prayers are answered, they are very often not the answer you desire.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “STUFF GOD HATES”

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I don’t want to be healed by Jesus, I want real medicine

Posted in Pharyngula by Skepdude on September 24, 2008

We have a new euphemism and a potential new regulation from the Bush administration: “provider conscience rights”. What this is about is providing religious doctors with loopholes so that they can avoid responsibility for treating patients with the best possible care — so they can use religious excuses to justify neglect. You can read the press release, Regulation Proposed to Help Protect Health Care Providers from Discrimination, and of course the odious Mike Leavitt has mentioned it. This is a proposed new rule that if, for instance, a doctor with superstitious scruples is treating a rape victim, he would not only be allowed to refuse her emergency contraception, he wouldn’t even be required to refer her to someone who could give it to her, or even mention that the option existed. Apparently, the ignorant dogma of the health care provider supersedes the right of the patient to informed consent and appropriate care.

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