What else could it be? (Pic: USAToday.com)
The week in six bits:
1. NASA startled by ‘Jelly Donut’ on Mars. Probably not a doughnut, though. Personally, I’m more startled by how dumbed down USA Today actually managed to make this report.
2. Conflicts of interest. It’s been a noisy week for sugar. Some folks want it taxed, others want it banned, and a few want it declared “the new tobacco.” In this insight into the petty politics of public health, Christopher Snowdon sums up what happens when you attempt to respond to such accusations by examining the research evidence. It’s not pretty. (This response to Dispatches on UK’s Channel 4 is also worth a look.)
3. Acupuncture Assists Penile Surgery: New Finding. This study recruited 1,481 males, who agreed to have acupuncture during penile surgery (it is some consolation to learn that, in true acupuncture fashion, the needles were administered to parts of the body other than the penis). The researchers reported that the men experienced “less discomfort” during the surgery. Way-hay! Too bad there was no control group. Boo!
Continue reading “Favourites List (24.01.14)”
Here are the top ten most read posts on The Science Bit in 2013: Continue reading “Top Ten Popular Posts on The Science Bit, 2013”
As we all know, the old days were the best. You know. Ye olden days. This is what I thought when I received this tweet alert from @ClaireMcCallion earlier today:
It links to an article just out in the American Psychological Association’s house journal, Monitor on Psychology and yes, @ClaireMcCallion’s right, it does SCREAM pseudoscience.
This all reminds me of an incident many years ago, when the Monitor published another article about pseudotherapies in psychology. Essentially, that article soft-soaped the use of complementary/alternative approaches in clinical psychology and encouraged psychologists to collaborate with the National Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) in researching and developing CAM approaches.
Let’s remind ourselves, for a moment, that such therapies — by definition — (a) lack biological plausibility and are argued to operate using forces that are as yet inexplicable to mainstream science, and (b) have not demonstrated medicinal effects in ways that can be demonstrated in unambiguous, rigorous, empirical trials.
You might refer to such therapies as quackery. I couldn’t possibly comment.
Nonetheless, back in ’04 I was in the habit of banging my letter-writing head off the brick wall that is the editorial offices of such publications. As per the following: Continue reading “American Psychological Association promotes pseudotherapies. Again.”