Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Autism Rain Study-Interview with author

Posted in Skepdude, Video by Skepdude on November 4, 2008

Ok, this video was suggested by a commenter. It’s short, and answers no questions really. I have to get my hands on the actual study that was published, but so far it sounds like a bunch of nonsense. I was unware that there is an idea floating around that TV could be a cause for autism. Is there someone knowledgable in teh area of autism that can give us an expert opinion? Any doctors by any chance read this blog?

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Skepfeed on Atheist Blogroll

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on November 4, 2008

Skepfeeds has been added to The Atheist Blogroll. The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for more information.

Did you vote for Obama yet?

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on November 4, 2008

What the hell are you waiting for? Go cast your vote for Barack! NOW! Don’t think for a minute this election is over. Go and vote right away!

Californians: vote no on hate

Posted in Pharyngula by Skepdude on November 4, 2008

Are you guys up and voting yet? Remember to vote down the horrible little pro-bigotry ballot measure, proposition 8. If you don’t believe me, read Charlie Stross’s explanation. And if that’s still not good enough for you, look who is bankrolling 8: the Knights of Columbus, Howard Ahmanson, Jr. (he’s got some money left after keeping the Discovery Institute afloat, apparently), and John Templeton (not the Templeton Foundation, mind you…just the chairman and president contributing as a private individual). Isn’t that enough to tell you it must be wrong?


Homeopathy Still Sucks

Posted in Neurologica by Skepdude on November 4, 2008

This is perhaps the most deceptive science press release I have seen in a while. The title is “New Evidence for Homeopathy” – but the papers do not include any new evidence. These studies are nothing more than a reanalysis of a prior meta-analysis, which is kind of like refried refried beans.

In 2005 the Lancet published a meta-analysis of homeopathy trials and compared them to trials of conventional medicine, concluding that the evidence supports the conclusion that homeopathy is nothing more than a placebo. This meta-analysis, however, suffered from the problems of all meta-analyses – they are only as good as the literature they review, the criteria used to pick studies, and the techniques used to combine the data. In general  a meta-analysis is a very weak form of evidence, and they have a poor track record of predicting large definitive clinical trials.

Systematic reviews are much more reliable than meta-analysis. A review looks at all published trials for overall patterns. For example, are there any high quality studies, do the better studies tend to be positive or negative, and is there consistency of outcomes among trials of the same treatments for the same conditions. Systematic reviews of homeopathic treatments have been negative – because the literature is generally negative. For example, here is a review of all homeopathic treatments for childhood conditions, which concludes:

The evidence from rigorous clinical trials of any type of therapeutic or preventive intervention testing homeopathy for childhood and adolescence ailments is not convincing enough for recommendations in any condition.

Or pick a condition – asthma:

There is not enough evidence to reliably assess the possible role of homeopathy in the treatment of asthma.


Rainfall autism theory suggested

Posted in News by Skepdude on November 4, 2008

Increased rainfall, or something linked to it, may be connected to the development of autism, scientists say.

The theory is based on child health and weather records from three US states, but has been given an icy reception by UK experts.

The US study found autism rates were higher among children whose states experienced higher rainfall in their first three years.

The work appears in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.


Sounds fishy to me. 

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