Saturday, February 08, 2014

Feb 8 - Steven Salzberg, Ph.D. - Bad Medicine: How Alternative Medicine Has Infiltrated U.S. Medical Schools

The video of this talk is now on NCAS YouTube

Alternative medicine has become very popular over the past two decades, thanks to relentless promotion by the media, politicians, and a few highly visible celebrity doctors. Since the early 1990s, the NIH has spent over $2 billion studying complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), but has yet to show that any “alternative” treatment is effective. Part of this funding has been dedicated to establishing training programs in U.S. medical schools. Through these programs, doctors-to-be today learn about treatments based on acupuncture and homeopathy that are little more than magical thinking. In the middle of an intensive training program, most medical students do not have time and are not encouraged to question these practices. These same academic medical centers that host these training programs also offer CAM therapies to
unsuspecting patients.

This talk will review ...
some of the CAM topics now taught and practiced at major U.S. medical schools, and will discuss some of the conditions for which these CAM methods are used, including chronic pain, gastrointestinal disorders, and cancer. It will also cover the largely unscientific basis of these methods, and explain why proponents have succeeded in convincing both doc tors and patients that CAM is “worth a try” for many disorders.

Steven Salzberg is an expert on genomics and DNA sequencing whose lab has developed many of the methods used to decode and analyze genomes over the past two decades. He participated in the Human Genome Project and dozens of other genome projects for many plant, animal, and bacterial species

He co-founded the Influenza Genome Sequencing Project and helped to decode the bacteria used in the 2001 anthrax attacks. He is currently Professor of Medicine, Biostatistics, and Computer Science and Director of the Center for Computational Biology in the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. He holds undergraduate and Masters degrees from Yale University and a Ph.D. in computer science from Harvard University. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Society for Computational Biology. He writes a widely-read column on science and pseudoscience for Forbes magazine, at, which received the 2012 Balles Prize in Critical Thinking from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

Saturday, February 8, 2014 1:30 pm - FREE

National Science Foundation
Room 110
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA

One block south of Ballston-MU Metro stop (map)

Enter NSF from the corner of 9th St. N & N Stuart

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

Refreshments and socializing after the talk.

For more information, call the 24-hour Skeptic Line at 240-670-NCAS (6227)