Science, to use the term correctly, isn’t a body of knowledge or a bunch of facts written up on a whiteboard by a crazy-haired professor. It’s a method, or way of figuring out things. Thinking and reading and learning from experts are all important, sure. But real science relies on experimentation. First, make an educated guess about how something works. Then design an experiment to test your guess. (I’m oversimplifying here. ...

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There’s been a push lately for more explicit labeling of foods -- to make sure that consumers know that what they’re buying is organic, or free-range, or natural, or GMO-free, etc. But these labels don’t tell the whole story. Sometimes, they’re outright lies. For instance, “organic” veggies still contain plenty of pesticides. There are the natural pesticides that ordinarily occur in food, plus the organic-OK chemical pesticides that are ...

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Spend spend spend -- that’s the push by marketers and websites this time of year. Except from me. Here are three holiday gift things nobody needs. Save your money, or buy something else if you must, but stay away from today’s featured items: 1. Crib bumpers. The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for banning these things since 2007, but they’re still sold. And they’re still killing babies. A November ...

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I’m struck, sometimes, by the vehement tone of some of the antivaccine comments you see out there. People who hate or distrust vaccines proudly proclaim that their Googling and life experiences have taught them that vaccines are bad. They don’t care what the science or the evidence shows. They know what they know. Me? I’m not so much into vehemence and dogmatism. I’ll follow the evidence. Show me solid science that ...

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An August, 2015 study in Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine is being touted as evidence that homeopathy is as effective as antibiotics for respiratory infections in children. It doesn’t show that at all -- in fact, it doesn’t show anything, except that crappy studies in crappy journals can nonetheless be used to manipulate opinion. Beware. First, the study itself. Researchers in Italy looked at about 90 children with ordinary ...

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It turns out that the entire transition to the new ICD10 code set was just a joke perpetrated by a 13-year-old boy. “I mean, who would take it seriously?” said RancheroBoy, using his screen name from MedicalCoders.com. He agreed to speak with us only on the condition that we not use his real name. Hospitals and physicians’ offices nationwide were required to transition to the ICD10 code set for all diagnostic reporting ...

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shutterstock_272222642 The selfie, for those of you living under a rock, is a photo of yourself, taken by yourself, by holding your phone out in your outstretched arm, pointing it at your own face, and snapping away. You then post it on your Facebook or on your Twitter for all the world to see and admire. Let me pick out the key words ...

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shutterstock_189429203 Desiree wrote in, “My 15-month daughter and a few other kids at her daycare were just diagnosed with hand-foot-mouth disease. I would like to hear how common it is, what treatments (or ways to soothe) you find helpful, and how you would differentiate this from measles or chickenpox.  For example, my little one has blisters all over her body, not just H-F-M.  ...

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A new clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics is a rare beacon of coherent thought about lice and children. Rather than humiliating children and driving them away like lepers, the AAP recommends common-sense steps to identify and treat lice. Some facts really shouldn’t be in dispute:

  • Lice is not a serious illness or a significant hazard to health. They don’t make anyone sick, and they do not spread any ...

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shutterstock_132480524 LabCorp, one of the largest outpatient lab providers in the USA, is soon going to let you skip the tedium of a doctor’s visit to get lab work done. Want some tests? Come on down! I’ve got mixed feelings about this. While there are some tests that seem reasonable for people to do on their own -- pregnancy and HIV ...

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