Dr Steven Novella is an American clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine. He’s also a science communicator and a leading figure in the skeptical movement. He co-founded Science-Based Medicine, writes a blog called NeuroLogica, hosts the podcast The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe and recently published a book on scientific skepticism.
I had the privilege of interviewing him on the topic of ACUPUNCTURE, as part of my documentary series on scientific skepticism in healthcare called Les Aventures du Pharmachien on Radio-Canada (the show’s in French, hence the subtitles).
Here’s the interview in English (note : you can press the “CC” button to get English subtitles for my short intro) :
Obviously I can’t post the full episode, but here’s the trailer (note : you can press the “CC” button to get English subtitles) :
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Tagged 100% positive, acupuncture, acupuncture points, acupuncturists, anti-inflammatory, bias, China, claims, clinical trials, control, data, double-blind, efficacy, energy, evidence, heat, inflammation, interview, localized trauma, locally, massage, meridians, modern, needles, negative, pain, physiological, placebo, plausibility, poke, Qi, randomized controlled trials, RCTs, rectactable, research, response, science, scientific skepticism, sham, skin, spin, Steven Novella, studies, systematic reviews, The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, toothpick
October 17, 2018 will go down in history as the day that the Y2K bug finally hit Canada legalized cannabis. It’s also getting legalized or decriminalized in more and more locations around the world.
Over the past year, I’ve been asked a ton of questions about this. In particular, people want to know whether I’m “for” or “against” legalization…
But I’m not the right person to answer that. The legal, social, and economic reasons for legalizing weed aren’t my area of expertise. My expertise is within science and health.
We know that criminalizing marijuana simply hasn’t worked. So I guess it’s a good idea to try something else.
And we have to face the facts: in Canada, at least 15% of people are known to consume cannabis. For young people, that number is 30-40%.
Still, I find myself annoyed by the two types of comments I hear most often, namely :
I do think it’s important to speak openly about cannabis. Unfortunately, I hear a lot of sketchy claims going around… so let’s assess their scientific accuracy!
Note #1 : For the sake of transparency, I should admit that I’ve never consumed cannabis in my life, not even a single toke. In general, I don’t really enjoy psychotropic substances (i.e. substances that produce an altered state of consciousness), including alcohol. I assume this doesn’t disqualify me from discussing the topic, considering that I haven’t consumed 99.999% of the medication I work with on a daily basis…
Note #2 : There are certain points that I don’t cover in the comic: driving under the influence of pot; the lack of a legal limit on the amount of THC in products containing marijuana; children or animals becoming intoxicated by accidentally consuming cannabis products; microdosing…This comic is pretty long as it is, so if need be, I’ll revisit the topic another time!
Note #3 : Many thanks to Robyn Penney for the translation!
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Tagged 5 to 20 cigarettes, acne, addicted, addiction, advertising, advocates, against, age 25, airtight, alcohol, Alzheimer's, ammonia, amotivational syndrome, anxiety, appetite, Arthritis, artificial, asthma, back pain, behaviours, benzene, Big Macs, blessing, burning, calming, Canada, cancer, cancer-related pain, cannabinoids, cannabis, carcinogens, caution, CBD, CBN, Cesamet, CGB, chemo, chemotherapy, chill, chronic, claims, clinical, companies, comparison, concerns, conclusive, conditions, consumers, cramps, creams, criminal, Crohn's, cure, day, decarboxylated, Dementia, deny, dependence, depression, deprived, diabetes, diagnosis, digestive, disaster, dog treats, driving, drugs, effects, efficacy, emotional flatlining, Epilepsy, euphoria, evidence-based, exaggerated, exaggeration, facts, fatigue, fibromyalgia, findings, five, for, genetic predisposition, Glaucoma, grown, habit, HAPs, harm, harmful, harmless, hazards, health, heroin, high, honestly, hundred, Huntington's, hydrogen cyanide, illegal, inconclusive, industry, inflammation, insomnia, intense dreams, irritable bowel, irritants, joint, lab-grown, legal, legalization, legalizing, loss of energy, lubricating gels, magical thinking, marijuana, market, marketing, medical, medication, medicinal, Menstrual pain, mental health, microdosing, migraines, moisturizers, molecules, month, motivation, multiple sclerosis, natural, naturopathy, nausea, neuropathic pain, night sweats, nitrogen oxides, obsession, occasional use, occasionally, oil, openly, opiod crisis, opioids, osteoporosis, over-the-top, paranoia, Parkinson's, pets, pharmaceutical, pharmacology, physical, pills, placebo effect, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pot, powerful, prescription, prohibition, properties, psychoactive, psychological, psychosis, psychotic episode, PTSD, public health, realistic, recreational, regular, relax, research, risk-free, Sativex, schemes, schizophrenia, school, secondhand, self-medicate, shaking, skepticism, sketchy, skin, skunk, smoke, smoking, society of stoners, solid, sooner, spasms, stone, stoned, strains, studies, substance, substance-induced psychosis, symptom relief, synthetic, tar, THC, THCA, therapeutic, tobacco, Tourette's, toxins, tremors, trivialize, twenty, unlikely, vape, vaporizer, weed, week, wide range, withdrawal, work, years, young
The cold season has begun.
But there’s something worse out there: the plethora of esoteric remedies to allegedly prevent and cure the common cold, like…
- Rubbing Vicks on your feet
- Sticking your face above a bowl of hot, scented water
- A swig of gin and/or cayenne and/or oregano oil
- Sweating out the virus
- The mustard plaster
- Flu busters
- Putting something in your bum (like suppositories)
- Chicken noodle soup
- Cough syrups
Being a pharmacist, I get asked about those all the time. And really, I don’t care if people wanna use medication, natural health products or home remedies… as long as what they do is safe, effective, evidence-based and science-based.
Would you like to know what works and what doesn’t? Here are the TOP 10 useless remedies for the common cold. Please laugh at each of them. They deserve it.
Translated by Valentin Nguyen; edits and proofreading by Robyn Penney.
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Tagged 200, acidic, airways, allergic reactions, ancestors, anti-inflammatory, antibiotics, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, apple cider vinegar, ass, bacteria, bad, balm, Benadryl, body, boost, bowl, breathe, bronchitis, broth, bullshitometer, bum, burns, buster, camphor, carrot, cataplasm, cayenne, celery, cells, chicken noodle soup, children, cinnamon, clear, clinical trials, clinically tested, codeine, cold, common cold, contraindicated, cooked, cough, cough reflex, cough syrup, coughing, counterirritation, danger, dead, detoxifying, dextromethorphane, diphenhydramine, disgusting, DM, doctor, dressing, drinking, drops, drugstores, ear infection, echinacea, effect, effective, elderberry, electrolytes, eliminating, esoteric, essential oils, eucalyptus, evidence-based, exaggerated, external, eye drops, feet, first sign, flu, foot, garlic clove, ginger, ginseng, grandmothers, gross, Gwyneth Paltrow, hallucinogenic, hazelwood necklace, head, healing, high dosage, high dose, home remedies, homeopathic, honey, hot liquid, hot water, hot yoga, humidity, hydrated, immune system, in vitro, infection, influenza, ingredients, inhaled, inhalers, inside, internal, intervention, intestines, irrigate, juniper, kids, lab, leeks, liquids, loosen, lozenges, lungs, marketing, masks, medication, menthol, misinterpreted, money, mouth-burning, mucus, mustard, natural health products, nausea, Neti pot, neurological, nose, ointments, opposite, orally, oregano oil, otitis, pain, penetrate, pepper, pharmacies, pharmacist, physician, pills, plaster, plausible, potato, poultice, preference, prolonging, properties, pure, real life, recipe, recovery, rectum, remedies, resistance, resistant, respiratory, rub, rubbing, run, safe, saline, salt, sauna, scented, science-based, scientific, secretions, seizures, selling, sick, sinus, sinuses, skin, smell, socks, soles, soothing, soup, stinging, strains, strengthens, strong, studies, substances, sucked, suffocation, superbacteria, suppository, swallow, swallowed, sweat, sweating, swelling, swig of gin, syrups, tablets, taste, teaspoon, tested, throat, throw up, towel, toxic, tract, turmeric, value, vapor, vegetable, Vicks, virus, vitamin C, vitamin E deficiency, vocabulary, warm, wet feet, wool, wrong, zinc
Do you feel like JUICING?
Yes? Well that’s great, because as it happens, I’m launching my own juice cleanse!
Such cleanses are ultra-popular and expensive right now, so I figured I could make big, fast money.
But first and foremost, I wanted to create something that did not exist: a juice cleanse with honest health claims. Popular cleanses promise detoxifying, alkalizing and anti-cancer properties… but the people who sell them obviously don’t understand (or voluntarily exaggerate) what science really says.
So I took typical descriptions of various juice cleanses found online (shown below, with the red X on them), and I made them more realistic.
Get ready for an overdose of turmeric, ginger, chlorophyll and activated charcoal!
Translated by Valentin Nguyen.
Posted in Comics
Tagged activated charcoal, added sugar, alcohol, alertness, allergies, Alzheimer's, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antidepressant, antiemetic, antiviral, apple, asthma, athletes, athletic, bad breath, beets, beneficial, benefits, blend, blood, bloodflow, bodily functions, body, bogus, bones, bottle juice, bromelain, broths, caffeine, cancer, carotenoids, cayenne, cell, cellular level, cereals, chelator, chlorophyll, chocolate, cigarette, cilantro, claims, clean, cleanse, cleansing, cocoa, coffee, companies, contaminate, curcumin, cure, dairy, dangerous, days, defenses, dendritic, deprived, detox, detoxify, diet, digest, digestive system, disturb, drain, eat, effective, eleminates, emunctory, energies, energy, excessive, exercise, extrapolation, eyes, farts, fatigue, feel like crap, fibers, flatulence, formidable, free radicals, fruits, ginger, gluten, green, habits, hair, headache, healthy, heavy metals, heme, hemoglobin, hippie, holistic, humans, hungry, hydrate, immune system, in vitro, inflammatory, intensive, internal, juice, lead, lemon, lemonade, lifestyle, lightness, living foods, lymphatic, maca, magical, meat, medications, medicinal, mercury, metabolism, molecule, mucous membranes, nails, natural, natural protection, naturally sweet, nausea, neurotoxins, nitrates, nutrients, nutritional value, organs, oxygenate, pain, partial, photosynthesis, physical performance, pineapple, plants, poison, pollutants, pollution, prevent, processed food, progression, properties, proteins, proven, purify, rats, receptor, red blood cells, regenerate, rehydrate, remedy, research, risks, shady, skin, sleep, smoking, soda, solid foods, soothes, sprouts, stomach, stress, sugar, superfood, tap water, taste, taste buds, tenderize, theobromine, tissues, tonic, toxic, toxicity, toxins, turmeric, useless, vegetables, vigilance, vitamin C, vitamins, waste, water, well-being, whole grains, yoga
Who says “summer” says “sun.” And who says “sun” says “suntanning” … or “cancer“.
I don’t think anyone should freak out over exposure to the sun. On the other hand, if you’re gonna use sunscreen, you might as well use it properly.
After all, this is not just about cancer: UVA rays cause premature aging of the skin, while UVB cause those infuriating sunburns.
At the pharmacy, people very seldom ask me for advice when it comes time to sunscreens. I wonder what determines their choice. A nice bottle with a cute doggy on it? Statements like “Ultimate Protection Apocalyptic 3000”? Low (or high) price tag?
Here’s the truth: choosing the best sunscreen is FAR from easy, even for me. It’s not easy to use it well either.
In this comic, I address 5 beliefs about sun exposure and sunscreen that I hear all the time.
In a second comic, I’ll address the issue of allegedly toxic ingredients in sunscreen (such as nanoparticles and endocrine disruptors), vitamin D deficiency and the belief that sunscreen is more carcinogenic than the sun itself.
P.S. There’s a joke that is a direct homage to the Simpsons. Who’s gonna find it first?
Translation by Olivier Bernard, proofreading by Lauren Knight.
Posted in Comics
Tagged 15, 30, amount, benefit, best brands, best sunscreens, blonde, bottle, brands, cancer, carcinogenic, chemical filter, dark, expensive, exposure, filters, fragrance, hair, health, ingredients, kids, logos, marketing, melanoma, Mexoryl, mineral filter, misleading, natural, organic, perfume, phototype, physical filter, price, radioactive white, rays, reflected, reflection, repeat, shade, shooter glass, skin, skin tone, SPF, spray, sun, sun cream, sun protection factor, sunburn, sunscreen, suntan, suntanning, sweat, swimming, tan, Tinosorb, titanium dioxide, toxic, tropical, use, UV, UVA, UVB, water, water-resistant, waterproof, what amount of sunscreen, white, white film, zinc oxide