Data Mining The Dr. Oz Show #NATMEDWEEK2016

Note: this post is part of a series that examines the fallacies of naturopathic and alternative medicine. For background, see here. The Dr. Oz Show is an archetype of pseudoscience and quackery, giving a voice to those who spread bad health advice over the years. It also has a structured website that makes it easy to grab info from. So, I wrote a quick script to scrape the details of all 910 show episodes through this week from the site, as I couldn't find them elsewhere. This database Read more [...]

A letter to my state representatives against naturopathic licensure #NATMEDWEEK2016

Note: this post is part of a series that examines the fallacies of naturopathic and alternative medicine. For background, see here. I currently live in the state of Indiana, which does not license naturopathic doctors*. However, a resolution was introduced in February to explore the potential for licensure. The lobbying efforts of state naturopaths at the time prompted me to mail letters making a case against licensure to a number of my state representatives. Below is that letter. Suggestions Read more [...]

A Week of Harm #NATMEDWEEK2016

This week (October 10-16) marks the 4th annual "US Naturopathic Medicine Week". This week was actually officially designated by the US Senate by a resolution in 2014 to recognize "the value of naturopathic medicine in providing safe, effective, and affordable health care". That this description reflects the reality of naturopathic treatment could not be further from the truth. It is not a science-based profession. This week as time allows I'll be posting about the fallacies of naturopathic Read more [...]

Fact Checking a Perlmutter Interview

Nutritional pseudoscience predominates in part because it is too easy for self-proclaimed experts to get away with saying anything they want without producing evidence. Such is the case for "Grain Brain" and "Brain Maker" author Dr. David Perlmutter, who claims - to paraphrase - that grains cause such wide-ranging diseases as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and cancer, to name just a few. Perlmutter has a long history with pseudoscience- detailed in this Read more [...]

Experimental Biology 2015 Tweet Analysis #expbio

Like 2014 and 2013, I collected tweets for the 2015 Experimental Biology conference (dataset here). The following are some comparisons between the 3 years. This year, there was an increase in the total number of tweets to the hashtags over the official conference start and end times of 8:00am EST, Saturday March 28 to 4:30pm, Wednesday April 1. The hashtags that were collected were: #xbio, #eb2015, #expbio, #asnatexpbio (this one was added at 10:36pm EST on Saturday, March 28 after I noticed that Read more [...]

Chemicals and Food: A Little Perspective

What do formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, and acetaldehyde have in common? They are all chemicals that we perceive as dangerous and known carcinogens or mutagens. They are also all likely to be found in your Thanksgiving dinner. No - they are not additives, preservatives, or contaminants - rather compounds found naturally in food. It is not uncommon to hear an argument that “artificial” chemicals added to food are dangerous. However, natural vs unnatural is not a good indicator of risk, and it Read more [...]

No, Dietary Guidelines Are Not Making Us Sick

Frequently I see the claim that dietary guidelines are the reason we are overweight and sick. It is used to sell books, particular diet strategies, or just to inject doubt about government agencies and nutrition science. This of course rests on the assumption that people are following the recommendations. Some groups have explored the proportion of the population that meets recommendations for various food groups. A good paper is by Krebs-Smith and colleagues from 2010, who used NHANES '01-'04 data Read more [...]

Experimental Biology 2014 Tweet Analysis #xbio

Like last year, I collected all tweets posted to #xbio and #eb2014 over the Experimental Biology conference. Here they are in a CSV file. Last year there were 5,455 over a 10 day period, and this year there are 6,223 over an 18 day period. During the last 8 days there were only about 120 tweets, so there were about 600 more tweets this year, and that was with a technology fail and loss of about 20 hours of tweets on the 30th (see graph). So there were probably at least several hundred more in that Read more [...]

Food Fortification in a Changing Environment

Over the last century, food fortification has been one of the great public health successes in nutrition, dramatically reducing the risk for diseases like pellagra, rickets, and goiter. But as Dr. Christine Taylor discussed, there has been a gradual paradigm shift in how we think about fortification. These changes were discussed in the session: “Fortification and Health: Opportunities and Challenges”, sponsored by ILSI North America on Saturday, April 26 at Experimental Biology in San Diego. Read more [...]

Is Self-Reported Diet Data Good Enough for Nutrition Science?

Southwest Airlines is consistently rated as serving good food on their flights, yet they don’t serve food at all. Can we trust diet data if people don’t know if they even ate? This amusing anecdote was offered by Dr. David Allison at Experimental Biology in San Diego in the session: “Not Everything That Counts Can be Counted and Not Everything That Can be Counted Counts: How Should We Collect Dietary Data for Research?” chaired by Drs. Regan Bailey and Claire Zizza. The panel took a critical Read more [...]