Category Archives: medicine

FDA reportedly will take on homeopathy

We all know that homeopathy is a complete scam. Its conceptual basis alone renders it at once laughable and scary, while studies of its efficacy always show nothing above placebo effects. And yet the stuff is sold where apparently intelligent people shop, including Whole Foods and the Davis, California Food Coop, a place I used […]

New medical practice in Chicago: “direct primary care” medicine

Although this post may look like an ad, I’m actually putting it up as a public service, at least for those who live in or around Chicago. For some time now, I’ve had as my primary care physician Dr. Alex Lickerman at the University of Chicago, a doctor of enormous skill and empathy. Although I’m […]

Jail for faith-healing parents who killed infected infant through prayer treatment

In March I wrote a piece for The New Republic, “Faith healing parents who let their child die should go to jail,” highlighting the egregious American laws that allow parents who kill or injure their child by neglecting medical care on religious grounds to be largely exempt from criminal or civil prosecution. Those exemptions, which hold […]

Question for readers

I’ll eventually tell you the reason I’m asking this, but right now I’m gathering reader sentiments to widen my expertise. Here’s the issue: Some people maintain that privatization of things like healthcare, education, and transportation (like railroads) is always better than things like government-controlled education, national rail systems, and national health systems (like the NHS in […]

A profoundly misguided cartoon

Usually I like Zach Weinersmith’s SMBC (Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal) series, but this one is off the mark: Well, of course feeling or receiving love and getting kicked in the cojones are subjective sensations, and we don’t yet know exactly how the nerve impulses become perceptions. But we do know two things. First, love and pain […]

Anti-vaxxers fund studies proving that vaccines are safe!

The anti-vaxxers are hoist with their own petard—again! According to a long article in Newsweek by Jessica Firger, the organization SafeMinds, dedicated to ending the “autism epidemic” has funded medical research designed to show that autism was a result of vaccination: presumably via the antigens in vaccines themselves and certainly by the preservatives in vaccines, notably the […]

Nobel Prizes go to three for malaria and roundworm treatment

It’s Nobel season again, and I’ve again put the bottle of champagne to chill in my lab refrigerator (it’s now three decades old). But sadly, the Prize in Medicine or Physiology was just awarded to three people, none of them named Coyne. The Nobel website is short on details (and lacking photos), but the Guardian has more […]

My New Republic piece on the Pope, Catholic hospitals, and medical care

A revised version of my earlier piece today on the plight of Jessica Mann, who was refused potentially lifesaving care at a U.S. Catholic hospital because her treatment involved tubal ligation, has been published in the New Republic: “Religious freedom has no place in hospitals—especially Catholic ones.” I didn’t choose the title, but of course what […]

Woman with brain tumors refused life-saving tubal ligation at Catholic hospitals

At the time of Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S., during which he’ll undoubtedly be acclaimed for his liberality and care for the poor, let us remember that his church still officially refuses to give women their reproductive rights, including contraception. Here’s a particularly noxious case from Genesys Regional Medical Center, a Catholic hospital in […]

Is the autism pandemic real?: a new book

What’s clear in the U.S. is that diagnoses of autism have increased tenfold over the last three decades; what’s unclear is why. Possible answers are many, including (of course) vaccination, which has been exculpated; a better ability of doctors and psychologists to diagnose autism, a change in the criteria for diagnosis (the DSM, for instance, expanded […]


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