Friday, November 15, 2013

Burzynski Clinic: Collapsing Under the Lack of Evidence?

I have written about Dr Stanislaw Burzynski before. He was somewhat of a hero / celebrity in a Polish community in the U.S., especially in the early 1990s, when his therapies had looked promising and there was little evidence of wrongdoing.
Since then, he seems to be on a sliding path to obscurity, and, by the news reports, it looks like he's getting there fast. We can only hope he does nor drive too many people to poverty, and he does not break too many hearts with false hope in the process.

Here is a great article from USA Today, by Liz Szabo Doctor accused of selling false hope to families, and  a very descriptive commentary by Orac: Stanislaw Burzynski in USA Today: Abuse of clinical trials and patients versus the ineffectiveness of the FDA and Texas Medical Board

Herbal Supplements - Not What You Think!

An interesting paper has been published recently in the BMC Medicine journal:

"DNA barcoding detects contamination and substitution in North American herbal products"

The idea sounds complex, and it is, but the general results of this study are pretty scary, especially if you, like many Americans, use a number of very popular herbal remedies for all kinds of ailments.
The idea that herbal remedies are not as harmless as they are advertised to be, has been known in a skeptical community for a long time, but it is something that filters to a general public very slowly. That's because the supplement industry has been selling herbs as miracle cures that can treat anything and are harmless and side-effect-free, which is not true, of course.