Monday, March 13, 2017

What is Acupuncture, by Harriet Hall, MD

Philip Copitch, Ph.D. – 


According to Dr. Hall, none of the following are true about acupuncture:
  • It’s an ancient Chinese treatment method.
  • Involves sticking needles in acupoints
  • It’s widely used in China.
  • Works to relieve pain and nausea.
  • Works for other conditions like infertility.
  • Can be used for surgical anesthesia.
  • Is harmless – no side effects.
  • Has been validated by scientific research
What you think you know about acupuncture is most likely incorrect.


The James Randi Educational Foundation, and Dr. Harriet Hall, have developed 10 free video courses looking at critical thinking and medical claims called Science-Based Medicine. The lectures are:

1. Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine
2. What Is CAM?
3. Chiropractic
4. Acupuncture
5. Homeopathy
6. Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine
7. Energy Medicine
8. Miscellaneous “Alternatives”
9. Pitfalls in Research
10.Science-Based Medicine in the Media and Politics

There is also a free course guide.

Lecture 4: Acupuncture, by Harriet Hall, MD (32 minute)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What is Chiropractic: Free courses by Dr. Hall

Philip Copitch, Ph.D. – 

In this lecture, Dr. Hall looks at the history and science behind chiropractic care. 
Dr. Hall starts her lecture with some interesting facts:
  • Chiropractic is NOT a science.
  • Chiropractic is NOT based on neurology, anatomy and physiology.
  • Chiropractors are NOT doctors of the nervous system.
  • Chiropractic DOES NOT improve health and quality of life.
The James Randi Educational Foundation, and Dr. Harriet Hall, have developed 10 free video courses looking at critical thinking and medical claims called Science-Based Medicine. The lectures are:

1. Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine
2. What Is CAM?
3. Chiropractic
4. Acupuncture
5. Homeopathy
6. Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine
7. Energy Medicine
8. Miscellaneous “Alternatives”
9. Pitfalls in Research
10.Science-Based Medicine in the Media and Politics

There is also a free course guide.

Lecture 3: Chiropractic, by Harriet Hall, MD (36 MINUTES)


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What is Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)? Free courses by Dr. Harriet Hall

Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) used to be called "stuff that was not taught in Medical School". But now it covers any procedure that anyone would like to tell you is a fix for a particulate or all medical ailments. It can be wild quackery for curing cancer or seemingly a reasonable but unproven way to to remove warts. It may be very dangerous or relatively safe. The problem is, without scientific scrutiny, how is the public to know if the "treatment" is safe or helpful.  
CAM is really a marketing term. In this lecture Dr. Hall does a nice job of giving you historical information concerning CAM. She also explains what to watch out for when it comes to CAM treatments.
The James Randi Educational Foundation, and Dr. Harriet Hall, have developed 10 free video courses looking at critical thinking and medical claims called Science-Based Medicine. The lectures are:

1. Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine
2. What Is CAM?
3. Chiropractic
4. Acupuncture
5. Homeopathy
6. Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine
7. Energy Medicine
8. Miscellaneous “Alternatives”
9. Pitfalls in Research
10.Science-Based Medicine in the Media and Politics

There is also a free course guide.

Lecture 2: What is CAM, by Harriet Hall, MD (36 minutes)


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A look at how we learn to think critically: Free courses by Dr. Hall

Philip Copitch, Ph.D. – 

Critical thinking is the act of learning how to think, with the knowledge that it is very easy to trick or confuse ourselves. It is being aware we are each vulnerable to mistaken thoughts that we feel secure in. 
For example, in the little video below we see a helicopter crash onto a city street. It fell out of the sky and was captured by amateur video:

Helicopter crash

But, as you can see, our eyes can deceived us. Our mind developed over time in a less complicated environment. Thus, our minds are vulnerable to being tricked.
The James Randi Educational Foundation, and Dr. Harriet Hall, have developed 10 free video courses looking at critical thinking and medical claims called Science-Based Medicine. The lectures are:

1. Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine
2. What Is CAM?
3. Chiropractic
4. Acupuncture
5. Homeopathy
6. Naturopathy and Herbal Medicine
7. Energy Medicine
8. Miscellaneous “Alternatives”
9. Pitfalls in Research
10.Science-Based Medicine in the Media and Politics

There is also a free course guide.

Lecture 1: Science-Based Medicine vs. Evidence-Based Medicine, by Harriet Hall, MD (37 minutes)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Patients with panic disorder report more antidepressant side effects


Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) looked at 808 patients with diagnosed chronic depression who were taking antidepressant medication.  Within this group, there was a subgroup of 85 people who also had a diagnosis of panic disorder. It is common for patients to have more than one clinical diagnosis. It goes by the ominous term, comorbidity.
In this study, the researchers found that if a patient had both depression and panic disorder, they reported more medication side effects, such as:
• gastrointestinal (47 percent vs. 32 percent)
• cardiovascular (26 percent vs. 14 percent)
• neurological (59 percent vs. 33 percent)
• genital/urinary (24 percent vs. 8 percent) 

In the press release lead author, Stewart Shankman, professor of psychology and psychiatry at UIC stated:

People with panic disorder are especially sensitive to changes in their bodies. It’s called ‘interoceptive awareness.’

Because these patients experience panic attacks — which are sudden, out-of-nowhere symptoms that include heart racing, shortness of breath, and feeling like you’re going to die — they are acutely attuned to changes in their bodies that may signal another panic attack coming on. So it does make sense that these tuned-in patients report more physiological side effects with antidepressant treatment.

Hyperawareness
Often patients with hyperawareness of their bodies tend to report many more symptoms and worries than the non-hyperaware patient. Dr. Shankman points out:
Physicians and therapists should be aware that their patients with panic disorder may report more side effects, and they should do a thorough assessment of these side effects to try to tease out what might be the result of hypersensitivity, or what might be a side effect worth switching doses or medications for.



Please let me know what you think by clicking the “comments” below.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Can antibiotics effect mental status?

An interesting report crossed my desk today. It was published in MedScape Psychiatry.
Antibiotics and Mental Status Changes
All medication can potentially change your mental status, the way you think, feel, or react. In this article, pharmacists from Albany Medical Hospital, Albany NY review this question.
They point out:
Any change in mental status should always prompt a review of medications as a potential contributing factor. Antimicrobials, a drug class that is an often-overlooked etiology, have been associated with a wide range of neurologic symptoms, including sedation, sleep disturbance, confusion, delirium, seizures, mood changes, psychosis, and hallucinations.

A chart of drugs and risk factors is included.