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Special Articles — SkepDoc's Corner

A column by Harriet Hall

Testosterone Rex

Testosterone Rex

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
September 19, 2017

Testosterone Rex: the familiar, plausible, pervasive, and powerful story of sex and society. Testosterone drives masculinity; it allegedly explains all those male/female differences.

The Incorrigible Dr. Oz

The Incorrigible Dr. Oz

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
August 29, 2017

Oz has made a reputation for himself as the Television SuperDoctor, but don’t be fooled by his dramaticized remedies.

Ancient Navajo Cure for Hearing Loss: A Lesson in Spotting Red Flags

Ancient Navajo Cure for Hearing Loss: A Lesson in Spotting Red Flags

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
July 27, 2017

I’ve been getting emails advertising a lost Navajo remedy that can cure deafness. Nearly 33,500 people have allegedly reversed their hearing loss in just two weeks with this 100 percent natural treatment.

Answering Vaccine Skeptics

Answering Vaccine Skeptics

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
June 14, 2017

Here are some short answers to some of the most common objections to vaccines…

Chiropractors: Pro and Con

Chiropractors: Pro and Con

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
June 1, 2017

When chiropractic is effective, what is effective is not “chiropractic”: it is SMT. SMT is also offered by physical therapists, DOs, and others…

The Vicissitudes of the Egg: From Vilification to Vindication

The Vicissitudes of the Egg: From Vilification to Vindication

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
April 18, 2017

For decades, scientists have been working their way towards a better understanding of what causes heart attacks and strokes.

Do I Really Need to Drink 200 Ounces of Water Every Day?

Do I Really Need to Drink 200 Ounces of Water Every Day?

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
March 23, 2017

Here’s how the eight to ten glasses myth got started…

Why Physical Activity Does Little to Control Weight

Why Physical Activity Does Little to Control Weight

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
February 16, 2017

Herman Pontzer describes new research findings that challenge our conventional wisdom about diet, exercise, and weight loss.

Turmeric/Curcumin: The “Natural Remedy of the Century” or a Waste of Money?

Turmeric/Curcumin: The “Natural Remedy of the Century” or a Waste of Money?

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
January 24, 2017

Turmeric does have other benefits. It enhances the flavor and appearance of Indian food.

Self-Hatred: The Cause of Autoimmune Disease?

Self-Hatred: The Cause of Autoimmune Disease?

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
November 14, 2016

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.

The Screening Test that Caused an Epidemic

The Screening Test that Caused an Epidemic

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
October 21, 2016

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

A Questionable Letter of Recommendation for Ear Candling

A Questionable Letter of Recommendation for Ear Candling

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
September 27, 2016

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

New Superfoods: Kakadu Plums and Cockroach Milk

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
August 26, 2016

“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?

Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Do They Really Work?

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
July 13, 2016

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

Genius Java: Memory Boosting Coffee

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
June 23, 2016

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.

The CAMphora: Health in a Jar

The CAMphora: Health in a Jar

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
May 18, 2016

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.

The Truth About Cancer

The Truth About Cancer

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
April 20, 2016

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)

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

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
March 23, 2016

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?

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

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
February 17, 2016

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

Screening Tests and Primum non nocere

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
January 22, 2016

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

Zombie Criticisms of Conventional Medicine

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
December 18, 2015

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

“Biomagnetism Therapy”: Pseudoscientific Twaddle

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
November 20, 2015

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

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

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
October 19, 2015

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

Superfood Silliness

by Harriet Hall
SkepDoc's Corner
September 24, 2015

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.