The Skeptic’s Diet

January 2005 (updated August 2010) by Steven Novella, MD An obese friend of mine commented on how well his new diet was going, as he absentmindedly devoured an entire low-carb cheesecake while happily engaged in his sedentary pastime. He, like many of my friends, family, and patients, truly desire to lose weight and be healthy [...]

Blue Green Algae – Nature’s Perfect Scam

October 2001 by Steven Novella, MD Of all the issues that skeptics confront, many of which are heated and controversial, you would not think that blue-green algae would rank high among the concerns of those who write to the NESS. Yet we receive more e-mails regarding this specific topic than any other, a recent flurry [...]

EMDR: Science or Pseudoscience

January 2001 by Bunmi O. Olatunji Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a highly controversial treatment for a variety of psychological disorders with empirical evidence both supporting and negating its effectiveness and efficacy. The negating evidence proposes that EMDR appears to be aligned with the meaning of science but lacks the methodological as well [...]

Defending ADHD

This is the second in a two-part series exploring Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. In Part I, Mark Fineman argued that the current diagnosis and treatment of ADHD has not met the burden of evidence and reason to be considered a legitimate science, and in Part II Steven Novella will make the rebuttal argument that [...]

Why is Someone Called ADHD

This is the first in a two-part series on Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This article will take a critical view of the legitimacy of the diagnosis and treatment of this controversial disorder, and part II is a rebuttal defending ADHD. March 2001 by Mark Fineman PhD The following is not a sweeping analysis [...]

Selling Supplements

May 2003 by Steven Novella, MD Recently a patient of mine with a serious neurological disorder inquired as to whether or not there were any natural supplements that could treat her condition. The patient was filled with earnest, but cautious, hope. She cited information she had gained from friends, on the internet, and from dietary [...]

Bloodletting Works

May 2002 by Steven Novella, MD Science is rediscovering this ancient healing art.  Warning: The following is a work of complete fiction intended as satire. Jane suffers from an uncommon blood disorder called polycythemia – which means that she has too many red blood cells in her blood. As a result her blood is too [...]

Herbal Mythology

October 1997 by Steven Novella, MD There is nothing more powerful than an idea, and nothing more potentially harmful than a false idea that everyone “knows” is true and therefore does not question. The current popularity of alternative medicine in general, and herbal remedies specifically, are based upon several such commonly accepted myths; chief among [...]

Scientific Research in a Mystical World

January 1998 by Steven Novella, MD The NIH Office of Alternative Medicine seeks to scientifically research alternative medicine modalities, such as acupuncture, but is the act of doing research enough to make alternative practices science? The true nature and essence of science is of intense interest to skeptics, as it should be to any rational [...]

Therapeutic Touch

October 1998 by Steven Novella, MD The concept of an invisible, undetectable, spiritual life force which animates living creatures is an ancient superstition which has found a new home in modern alternative medical ideology. In the early 1970’s, Dolores Krieger, Ph.D., R.N. developed and promoted the new discipline of therapeutic touch (TT). TT practitioners believe [...]