Medescape

Skepticism, Medicine and Science News

Back From The Dead

Ok, so it has been a while since I last posted, but there was the Christmas holiday, and the beginning of a new term etc. But never mind that, the important thing is that the blog is back! Or rather, I’m back! 

Since I last posted there has been some cool news items, so I thought I should start this years blogging by bringing up a few of them.

Well, first of all, the voting for this years Weblog Awards just closed, and I am appalled by who won in the science category. There were some great nominees there, like Bad Astronomy, Pharyngula and Neurologica. These are all fantastic science blogs, but do you think any of them won? Oh no, the winner this year was this horrible, horrible global warming denial blog. That is just sad… 

Just today I read about a cool study in the Journal of Proteome Research. Some scientists in Italy have found abnormal proteins in the saliva of autistic patients, and the hope is that this will eventually give us some clue about the pathological biochemical processes of autism. Also, it could potentially be used as a biomarker in saliva-based autism tests. 

Now, this next one is a sad story, but it is a good example of why evidence-based medicine really should be the only kind of medicine. Russel Jenkins is, or rather was, a healer in Australia. One day, he stepped on an electrical plug in his house, and the small resulting wound later became infected. Even worse, the infection then turned gangrenous. Gangrene is a horrible condition of necrosis of body tissue. It looks really bad, and smells even worse. Instead of seeking medical help, Russel, being a healer, decided he would treat his condition by applying honey to the affected area. Naturally, this did not work out so well, and he later died from the gangrenous infection. 

This is of course an extremely sad story, but I think it is important to emphasize the importance of evidence-based medicine. I really don’t care much for the term Complementary and Alternative Modalities (CAM), because then it sounds like it is a scientific alternative to conventional medicine, which it isn’t. I can not stress this fact enough, that alternative medicine really is just a collection of inadequately tested and unproven drugs. And calling it complementary? A lot of people fail to tell their doctors that they are using these alternative remedies, and a result of that could be that they interfere with their conventional treatments. Because, as I said, they are drugs. Calling them natural is just a sales pitch. 

Ok, so the first post of 2009 turned out to be somewhat of a downer. But the next one will be positive! Promise.

January 13, 2009 Posted by | General Science, General Skepticism, Medicine | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2008 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The 2008 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is an annual event hosted by the Natural History Museum in London and BBC Wildlife Magazine. The winners this year has just been announced, and they include some absolutely striking pictures. The overall winner was Steve Winter for his picture of a leopard in a snowstorm:

Other awards in separate categories were also announced, and some of my favorite images are:

Continue reading

October 31, 2008 Posted by | Other | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best Science Images 2008

The best science images for 2008 have been announced, and the winner is:

 

It was taken using an electron microscope, and shows diatoms, a form of eukaryotic algae, attaching themselves to some marine structure. Taken by Mario De Stefano.

More pictures inside…

Continue reading

October 7, 2008 Posted by | General Science | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ig Nobels

The Ig Nobels are coming up! The award ceremony will take place on next Thursday, and you can watch it live from 00:30 GMT (02:30 in Norway, be sure to have some coffee at the ready) here.

September 28, 2008 Posted by | Other | , | Leave a comment