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Homeopathy Takes a Hit in the UK and Australia

I have long considered homeopathy to be the softest of targets for skeptics, especially in the area of alternative medicine. Homeopathy is 100% pure nonsense. It is a pre-scientific magical form of medicine that has no legitimate place in the modern world. Further, homeopathy is particularly vulnerable because most people do not know how silly […]

Bismuth and Solar Cells

There is something appealing about the fact that while there was so much controversy and public debate about global warming and energy production, solar cell technology incrementally improved in the background, largely unnoticed, until it became an actual cost-effective option for energy production. There were no breakthroughs or big announcements, just a slow increase in […]

Is Neuroscience Underpowered? "Power Failure" Revisited

Back in 2013, a Nature Reviews Neuroscience paper appeared called Power failure: why small sample size undermines the reliability of neuroscience. This paper got a lot of attention at the time and has since been cited a dizzying 1760...Show More Summary

Creating illusions of wondrous effects of yoga and meditation on health: A skeptic exposes tricks

The tour of the sausage factory is starting, here’s your brochure telling you’ll see.   A recent review has received a lot of attention with it being used for claims that mind-body interventions have distinct

More on Junk DNA

Junk DNA, put simply, is those parts of the genome (human or otherwise) that have no known function. The human genome has about 19,000 genes. A gene is essentially a sequence of base pairs that code for a protein – there are four difference bases with each triplet being a “word” that either codes for […]

The "Eleven Dimensional" Brain? Topology of Neural Networks

Last month, a neuroscience paper appeared that triggered a maelstrom of media hype: The Human Brain Can Create Structures in Up to 11 Dimensions The human brain sees the world as an 11-dimensional multiverse Scientists find mysterious...Show More Summary

The Return of Dr. Gunter

In my last post I discussed how Paltrow and her people over at goop launched a personal attack against Dr. Jen Gunter, an OB/GYN blogger who has taken the time to point out a lot of the nonsense that goop sells. Goop has been criticized by many science bloggers and mainstream outlets for fearmongering to […]

Role of the Vestibular System in the Construction of Self

How do we construct a unified self-identity as a thinking and feeling person inhabiting a body, separate and unique from other entities? A “self” with the capacity for autobiographical memory and complex thought? Traditionally, the field...Show More Summary

Researchers Apologize For Writing "Derpy" In A Paper

It appears that memes and science don't mix well. A pair of researchers have published an apology in a peer-reviewed journal - for using the word "derpy" in an earlier paper. In April 2016, Archives of Sexual Behavior published a piece...Show More Summary

New Breakthroughs in Concussion Diagnostics

Concussion is the most common form of traumatic brain injury. While serious concussions present with overt symptoms, the diagnosis of mild concussions remains a clinical difficulty. Researchers recently developed two novel methods for the diagnosis of concussion that may aid in the identification of less severe traumatic brain injuries. A concussion is a relatively common […]

Prevention Is the Best Medicine for Dementia

Population aging is bringing about a substantial increase in the prevalence of neurocognitive disorders. Current projections estimate that, by 2050, more that 130 million people will be affected by dementia worldwide. As experts assemble to devise strategies to face this incoming challenge, one conclusion stands out: prevention is crucial. Show More Summary

Goop Strikes Back

Gwyneth Paltrow has been using her celebrity to promote a “lifestyle brand” she calls “Goop.” The site recommends all sorts of medical nonsense, like detox, earthing, putting stuff up your vagina, and the usual scaremongering about “toxins” or whatever. Recently I wrote about Goop’s promotion of magical stickers that are alleged to align and balance […]

"Brain Training" Doesn't Work?

Lumosity "brain training" games have no beneficial effects on cognition, according to a paper just published in the Journal of Neuroscience. According to the authors, led by UPenn psychologist Joseph W. Kable, Lumosity "appears to have...Show More Summary

The Fragility of Truth

There is a lot to be horrified about regarding the alternative medicine (CAM) industry. The industry largely trades in fraud and misinformation at the expense of the public’s health. But I often find myself most dismayed by what the industry says about the relationship between humans and reality. I have discussed over the years the […]

Are Sleep Apps Effective Tools For Behavioral Change?

Smartphones are technological Swiss Army knives – easy to carry and, thanks to apps, able to do almost anything. All you need is a smartphone and an internet connection to unfold a thousand tools. Apps make communication, traveling, working, and entertainment easier. And they can also allow us to monitor and manage our health, fitness […]

No, This Isn’t Amelia Earhart

I love a good unsolved mystery as much as anyone. Mysteries provoke curiosity, and challenge our investigative skills. They may also challenge our skepticism and critical thinking. The story of Amelia Earhart is an iconic mystery, and the inspiration for both legitimate investigation and a lot of nonsense. The story of Earhart is in the […]

Political Neuroscience: "Growth Mindsets" and Disability

On Twitter, I learned that the British government is citing neuroscience studies as part of a new welfare initiative. The "Health and Work Conversation" (HWC) is a newly-introduced procedure for welfare claimants receiving support because sickness or disability impairs their ability to work. Show More Summary

HIV Reservoirs: Does The Virus Hide in the Brain?

Treatment advances over the last several decades have dramatically extended the lifespan of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, a continuing problem in HIV treatment is the ability of the virus to remain dormant in a small number of cells throughout the body, including some areas of the brain. Researchers at the University of […]

Mental Health, Drug Approval, and Biomedical Research in the 21st Century

A few weeks before the end of 2016, which was also a few weeks before the end of a congressional session and the end of President Barack Obama’s time in office, the 21st Century Cures Act became law. It had been passed with overwhelming support in the House of Representatives and the Senate and it […]

Why Are We Conscious?

While we are still trying to sort out exactly what processes and networks in the brain create consciousness, we are also still uncertain why we are conscious in the first place. A new study tries to test one hypothesis, but before we get to that let’s review the problem. The question is – what is […]

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