More Options

Show Print-Only Articles

Harriet Hall

Harriet Hall's photo

Harriet Hall, MD, a retired Air Force physician and flight surgeon, writes and educates about pseudoscientific and so-called alternative medicine. She is a contributing editor and frequent contributor to the Skeptical Inquirer and contributes to the blog Science-Based Medicine. She is author of Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon and coauthor of the 2012 textbook Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions.

Self-Hatred: The Cause of Autoimmune Disease?

SkepDoc's Corner
November 14, 2016
Self-Hatred: The Cause of Autoimmune Disease?

The idea that we can take control of our destiny and can prevent or cure illness with our thoughts alone is a seductive one. Wouldn’t that be nice? I wish it were true.

Available in the Print Edition. Subscribe Here.

My Personal Odyssey in Skepticism

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.6, November/December 2016

Feature

The Screening Test that Caused an Epidemic

SkepDoc's Corner
October 21, 2016
The Screening Test that Caused an Epidemic

Just because you can screen for a disease doesn’t mean you should.

Stick It In Your Ear! How Not To Do Science

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.3, May/June 2016

Feature
Stick It In Your Ear! How Not To Do Science

Ear acupuncture claims to relieve sore throats. A new study seeming to support that idea is so poorly done that it provides a textbook example of how to distinguish between good and bad science.

A Questionable Letter of Recommendation for Ear Candling

SkepDoc's Corner
September 27, 2016
A Questionable Letter of Recommendation for Ear Candling

No way am I ever going to put one in my ear. Call me prejudiced… in favor of science and reality.

New Superfoods: Kakadu Plums and Cockroach Milk

SkepDoc's Corner
August 26, 2016
New Superfoods: Kakadu Plums and Cockroach Milk

“Put simply, it is magic!” In my opinion, the only thing magical about it is the magical thinking required to believe the claims for it.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Do They Really Work?

SkepDoc's Corner
July 13, 2016
Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Do They Really Work?

People want to believe in G/C, and they can easily find reasons to disregard the evidence. Hope springs eternal.

Genius Java: Memory Boosting Coffee

SkepDoc's Corner
June 23, 2016
Genius Java: Memory Boosting Coffee

In one sense it might actually make you smarter: if you can understand why its claims are questionable and can apply those lessons to other marketing claims.

Clear Thinking About Cancer

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.2, March/April 2016

Review
Clear Thinking About Cancer

He doesn’t blame people who go off in pursuit of a promised miracle cure. He understands their desperation and the comfort of having a hope to cling to. Rather, he blames those who offer that anything without a fair, accurate, and accountable foundation.

The CAMphora: Health in a Jar

SkepDoc's Corner
May 18, 2016
The CAMphora: Health in a Jar

My flabber was thoroughly gasted. Apparently you sit in the jar and put water and maybe Chinese herbs into it and it is connected to 220-volt electricity.

Available in the Print Edition. Subscribe Here.

Hallucination or Revelation?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.3, May/June 2016

Review

The Truth About Cancer

SkepDoc's Corner
April 20, 2016
The Truth About Cancer

I actually find it flattering when someone attacks me so stupidly. It means what I wrote was so accurate that they were unable to find anything they could legitimately criticize.

Uninformed Consumers Are Treating Their Flu Symptoms with Muscovy Duck Offal (Minus the Duck)

SkepDoc's Corner
March 23, 2016
Uninformed Consumers Are Treating Their Flu Symptoms with Muscovy Duck Offal (Minus the Duck)

Why on Earth do people buy a medicine with no medicine in it? The back of the box clearly says “Active ingredient Anas barbariae, 200 CK HPUS.” I suspect most customers don’t bother to read that, and if they do, they don’t know what it means.

Newborn Babies Don’t Have Sex, So Why Do We Vaccinate Them for a Sexually Transmitted Disease?

SkepDoc's Corner
February 17, 2016
Newborn Babies Don’t Have Sex, So Why Do We Vaccinate Them for a Sexually Transmitted Disease?

So babies don’t have sex, abuse drugs, or share razors. And mothers can be tested for the virus; if they don’t have it, there is no risk of them transmitting it to their babies. So are there any valid reasons to vaccinate newborns?

Screening Tests and Primum non nocere

SkepDoc's Corner
January 22, 2016
Screening Tests and Primum non nocere

Nonmaleficence says don’t harm the patient; beneficence says help the patient. There’s a trade-off, since almost every treatment carries some small degree of risk. Not treating may do more harm than treating.

Zombie Criticisms of Conventional Medicine

SkepDoc's Corner
December 18, 2015
Zombie Criticisms of Conventional Medicine

Critics of modern medicine would do well to follow my “SkepDoc’s Rule:” Before you accept a claim, try to understand who disagrees with it and why.

“Biomagnetism Therapy”: Pseudoscientific Twaddle

SkepDoc's Corner
November 20, 2015
“Biomagnetism Therapy”: Pseudoscientific Twaddle

In a television interview, a practitioner of biomagnetic therapy claimed she had cured her own breast lump and the metastatic cancer of another person. I wonder how many viewers believed her.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Didn’t Win a Nobel Prize, Scientific Medicine Did

SkepDoc's Corner
October 19, 2015
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Didn’t Win a Nobel Prize, Scientific Medicine Did

Tu Youyou, a Chinese researcher, was awarded half of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of artemisininin, a malaria drug. This has been touted as a victory for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and herbalism. It is anything but.

Superfood Silliness

SkepDoc's Corner
September 24, 2015
Superfood Silliness

Someone is always trying to tell us what to eat. It's like religions: they can't all be right, and they might all be wrong.

Pesticides: Just How Bad Are They?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.3, May/June 2015

Medical Misinformation
Pesticides: Just How Bad Are They?

Scientific balance and objective assessments of evidence are necessary to avoid biased and misleading answers to concerns about pesticides.

Available in the Print Edition. Subscribe Here.

Psychology and Psychotherapy: How Much Is Evidence-Based?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.4, July/August 2015

Review

Psychology Gone Wrong: The Dark Side of Science and Therapy by Tomasz Witkowski and Maciej Zatonski

Physician Wallace Sampson, Expert on False Medical Claims, Dies at Eighty-Five

June 1, 2015
Physician Wallace Sampson, Expert on False Medical Claims, Dies at Eighty-Five

The skeptical community has lost a shining star. On May 25, 2015, Wallace Sampson, MD, died in California at the age of eighty-five from complications of heart surgery; he had been in the hospital since February.

Available in the Print Edition. Subscribe Here.

A Scientific Response to Chemophobia

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.3, May/June 2015

Review

100 Chemical Myths: Misconceptions, Misunderstandings, Explanations by Lajos Kovács, Dezsã Csupor, Gábor Lente, and Tamás Gunda

Defending Science-Based Medicine: 44 Doctor-Bashing Arguments ...and Their Rebuttals

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.6, November/December 2014

Feature
Defending Science-Based Medicine: 44 Doctor-Bashing Arguments ...and Their Rebuttals

Supporters of alternative medicine and purveyors of quack remedies love to criticize conventional medicine and science. They keep repeating the same tired arguments that are easily rebutted. This handy guide will help skeptics answer common criticisms from doctor-bashers.

An Introduction to Homeopathy

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.5, September/October 2014

Feature
An Introduction to Homeopathy

A brief guide to a popular alternative system of remedies based on a nineteenth-century concept that has no scientific validity.

Faith Healing: Religious Freedom vs. Child Protection

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.4, July/August 2014

Science and Religion
Faith Healing: Religious Freedom vs. Child Protection

The medical ethics principle of autonomy justifies letting competent adults reject lifesaving medical care for themselves because of their religious beliefs, but it does not extend to rejecting medical care for children.

An Intro to Homeopathy

April 30, 2014
An Intro to Homeopathy

Homeopathy is an alternative system of medicine that was invented by a German doctor at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Scientific knowledge about chemistry, physics, and biology tells us it should not work; careful testing has shown that it does not work.

Available in the Print Edition. Subscribe Here.

Philosophy Meets Medicine

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Review

A review of Medical Philosophy: Conceptual Issues in Medicine by Mario Bunge

Down the Garden Path: Faulty Thinking and Self-Delusion

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Feature

A Navy neurologist’s credulous venture into acupuncture advocacy serves as a useful case study. Here are twelve mistakes he made rambling down the garden path of self-delusion.

Do You Believe in Magic?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Review
Do You Believe in Magic?

A review of Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine by Paul Offit, MD.

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 >