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Acupuncture for Infantile Colic

Recently scientists published initial results from an ambitious project to reproduce the results of 50 influential cancer studies. The first five studies resulted in one clear failure to replicate, two partial replications, and two with uninterpretable results. This is how science works. No one study is definitive, because there are simply too many ways to […]

Questions on GMOs

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) remain the one issue on which there is the greatest disparity of opinions between scientists and the general public. Even among self-identified skeptics, people who make a genuine effort to align their opinions with the scientific evidence, there remains great distrust of GMOs and the companies who produce them (such as […]

How Kids Catch Our Social Biases

The nonverbal messages we send, sometimes unconsciously, can play a surprisingly large role -- Read more on

How to Overcome Unconscious Bias

We all have prejudices we're not even aware of—but they don't have to govern our behavior -- Read more on

2016 Warmest Year on Record

It’s official – 2016 is the warmest year on record, since we have been tracking global temperatures since 1880. This is the third year in a row that the current year has been the warmest, 2014 and 2015 were also the warmest years on record. In fact, 15 of the warmest years on record have […]

Think Trump Will Be More Inclusive After Winning?

Behavioral research suggests that the answer is probably no -- Read more on

1 billion views! Why we should be concerned about PR campaign for 2 RCTs of psilocybin for cancer patients

According to the website of an advocacy foundation, coverage of two recent clinical trials published in in Journal of Psychopharmacology evaluating psilocybin for distress among cancer patients garnered over 1 billion views in the social

Gene Cernan, Last Man to Walk on the Moon, Dies

“We leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return with peace and hope for all mankind.” Those were the last words that Eugene Cernan spoke while on the moon, the last person to step foot there. Twelve people total walked on the moon during the Apollo missions: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Pete […]

The Road to Pseudoscientific Thinking

How to prevent the most salient feature from being the least informative -- Read more on

Op, Op, Op. The Neuroscience of Gangnam Style?

"Our results revealed characteristic patterns of brain activity associated with Gangnam Style". So say the authors of a new paper called Neural correlates of the popular music phenomenon. The authors, Qiaozhen Chen et al. from Zhejiang...Show More Summary

What Can fMRI Tell Us About Mental Illness?

A remarkable and troubling new paper: Addressing reverse inference in psychiatric neuroimaging: Meta-analyses of task-related brain activation in common mental disorders Icahn School of Medicine researchers Emma Sprooten and colleagues...Show More Summary

Cognitive Biases in Health Care Decision Making

This was an unexpected pleasant find in an unusual place. The Gerontological Society of America recently put out a free publication designed to educate patients about cognitive biases and heuristics and how they can adversely affect decision making about health care. The publication is aimed at older health care consumers, but the information it contains […]

Curcumin Hype vs Reality

A recent systematic review of the alleged health benefits of curcumin show that, yet again, hype based on “traditional use” is not a reliable guide. Curcumin is a spice that makes up about 5% of turmeric, a yellow spice used in many curries. It is also a traditional herbal treatment. The health claims made for […]

Two Manifestos for Better Science

Two new papers urge scientists to make research more reproducible. First off, Russ Poldrack and colleagues writing in Nature Reviews Neuroscience discuss how to achieve transparent and reproducible neuroimaging research. Neuroimaging techniques, such as fMRI, are enormously powerful tools for neuroscientists but, Poldrack et al. Show More Summary

Cleveland Clinic Doubles Down on Fail

There are several phases to a serious gaffe. First, there are the conditions which lead to or allowed the gaffe to occur. Then there is the gaffe itself. There is then the response of the person or institution who committed the gaffe – which is perhaps the most important phase. Finally, there may or may […]

Anti-vaccine Nonsense at Cleveland Clinic

This is what happens when you compromise your academic and professional integrity in order to embrace a popular fad. The Cleveland Clinic, which is historically an excellent medical institution, has the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Center, which is a center of so-called “alternative” medicine. Such centers are a Trojan horse. They are sold to naïve academics […]

Another Child Dies of Medical Neglect

Last year 7-year-old Seth Johnson died of pancreatitis. His parents, Timothy and Sarah, are now on trial for one count of child neglect. These are always heartbreaking stories, especially for a parent. Strong and conflicting emotions are stirred – on the one hand I feel anger and resentment toward the parents, who allowed their child […]

The Misinformation Wars

As we collectively try to climb out of the smouldering rubble that was “the truth” in 2016 (by which I mean basic intellectual integrity), many people are speculating and trying to wrap their brain around what exactly is happening. Of course, the arbitrary transition to a new calendar year changes nothing. We are still living […]

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