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Latest Posts

New Movie Promotes “Energy Medicine”

It’s boring to try to ferret out reliable health information from dry medical journals. It’s easier and more fun to watch a movie. A new movie promises to change the way you think about your health. To bring you breakthroughs that will transform your understanding of how to get well and stay well. To share the discoveries of leading researchers and health practitioners about miracle cures that traditional medicine can’t explain.

If this makes your baloney detector light up, good for you!

The Living Matrix: A Film on the New Science of Healing is an atrociously bad movie that falls squarely in the tradition of What the Bleep Do We Know? In his book Nonsense on Stilts, Massimo Pigliucci characterized the “Bleep” movie as “one of the most spectacular examples of a horribly tangled mess of science and nonsense,” and this new movie is more of the same. Bleep was just silly, but The Living Matrix is potentially dangerous because it might persuade patients to make poor decisions about their medical care. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*

CAM vs. Traditional Medicine: Handle With Scientific Care

Here’s some advice I have given teenage boys who are going toe-to-toe with their mothers about a health issue:

Don’t go toe-to-toe with your mother; it’s a no-win situation.  Either you are right, and you are looked at as a “smarty-pants” or you are wrong, and have given her a huge “I told you so.”  If, on the other hand, you keep quiet and listen to what she’s saying, it’s a win-win: either she’s right and you learn something, or she’s wrong, and you have been vindicated.

Fathers often pipe in that this applies to wives as well.  Mom’s don’t seem to disagree (for some mysterious reason).

While this may be sound relational advice, it also needs to be heeded by the medical community in its relationship to “complimentary and alternative medicine” or CAM.  I am not saying we shouldn’t be angry and frustrated with the CAM purveyors who are harming and even killing people (such as the anti-vaccine movement).  I am not saying that we should embrace CAM and put it at anywhere near equal footing with our profession.  What I am saying is that in our enthusiasm to win the argument, we can undermine our own credibility. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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