Links/Liens

(Des liens vers des ressources francophones sont publiés plus bas!)

I’m sometimes asked for names of people and organizations who do good work separating sense from nonsense on matters of health. The following is not an exhaustive list but a starting point. If you’re hungry for more, you can see whom I follow on Twitter (though not everyone I follow spreads good information; I have to keep an eye out on Dr. Oz and his ilk, you know?)

 

Science-Based Medicine

A website dedicated to providing an up-to-date critical analysis of pseudosciences like acupuncture and homeopathy and to criticizing bad studies in medicine. Coverage of the infiltration of alternative medicine in academia; book and movie reviews; articles about bad science in pediatrics and dentistry; and posts on how critical thinking skills can be applied to healthcare. Some of the posts seem to be written more for fellow healthcare professionals than a non-expert public, but well worth bookmarking. If it’s a health fad, they’ve probably covered it.

Website: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org

 

PainScience.com

A treasure trove of deeply researched information on the diseases that cause us pain and the treatments often touted to help treat it. I learned a lot of myths about massage therapy that I had taken for granted! As a bonus, this site, designed by Paul Ingraham, is quite possibly the clearest, most user friendly I have seen of its type, with a sleek reference management tool that makes asides and further readings very easy to access.

Website: https://www.painscience.com/

 

Tim Caulfield

Quite possibly the best known critic of health-related pseudoscience in Canada. Health policy expert by day, writer and TV show host by night, and Twitterer… well, seemingly 24 hours a day.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaulfieldTim
Book 1: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12850570-the-cure-for-everything?from_search=true
Book 2: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23232032-is-gwyneth-paltrow-wrong-about-everything?from_search=true
TV Show (now on Netflix!): https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7532396/

 

McGill Office for Science and Society

Bias alert: I work there. For nearly 20 years, this (possibly one of a kind) office at McGill University, under the direction of Joe Schwarcz, Ph.D., has debunked quackery, investigated questionable claims, and provided the public with fun facts about chemistry.

Website: https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/
Cracked Science on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNo_TfnLoHWZBfovVLL9IYBECHUtlY314
Books: https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/books
Dr. Joe’s column in the Montreal Gazette: http://montrealgazette.com/author/joe-schwarcz-special-to-the-montreal-gazette
Dr. Joe’s radio show: https://soundcloud.com/cjad800/sets/dr-joe-schwarcz-show

 

Michael Marshall, The Good Thinking Society, and the Merseyside Skeptics Society

A fantastic network of resources from the United Kingdom on critical thinking and skeptical activism. They showed the world that “homeopathy, there’s nothing in it”; they pressured the government in England to stop funding it; and they continue to impress by being active defenders of good thinking.

Podcasts: http://www.merseysideskeptics.org.uk/podcasts/
The Good Thinking Society: https://goodthinkingsociety.org

 

Healthy But Smart

A website that looks into common health claims (does chamomille have any health benefits?) by essentially conducting systematic reviews of the evidence. Their in-depth coverage of the evidence makes good use of highlights and “bottom line” conclusions, and they are very transparent in the studies they looked at. Some of their articles tend to be overly generous with regards to lower-quality evidence but overall, well worth a look!

Website: https://healthybutsmart.com

 

Snopes.com

An incredible website dedicated to investigating rumours on the Internet. Did the American government admit that the flu shot was the most dangerous vaccine in America? Did this woman break her neck twerking? Did a brain-eating amoeba kill a woman who rinsed her sinuses with tap water? Basically, if your question is, “Is it true? I saw it on the Internet”, they’ve looked into it.

Website: https://www.snopes.com

 

Britt Hermes and Naturopathic Diaries

An ex-naturopath and whistleblower. If you really want to know what naturopathy is about and what naturopaths learn in school, this is the place to go.

Website: https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com

 

SciMoms

Because parental intuition does not always lead you to the right decision, these pro-science moms are leading the pack in showing you what’s dangerous and what’s not. Hormones in meat, genetically engineered food, vaccines, head lice and more!

Website: https://scimoms.com

 

Myles Power

An investigator and debunker of pseudoscience with a background in chemistry, Myles has made numerous, in-depth videos about AIDS denialism, the 9/11 Truther movement, the anti-vaccination movement, glyphosate, extreme health quackery and conspiracy theories of all types.

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/powerm1985/featured

 

Nick Saik and Know Ideas Media

A filmmaker dedicated to highlighting good information about agriculture and our food supply.

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvroQE2kXCeo-oUc6za7mrA

 

HealthNewsReview

A resource dedicated to fighting back against the mangling of scientific studies by the media. A great way to find out about the differences between observational and experimental studies, and about how common studies on nutrition get progressively distorted, from the researchers’ original article all the way to major journalistic publications.

Website: https://www.healthnewsreview.org

 

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff

A weight-loss expert who frequently denounces on his blog and on Twitter bad messages about eating.

Blog: http://www.weightymatters.ca
Twitter: https://twitter.com/YoniFreedhoff

 

Ryan Armstrong

Ryan pushes back against alternative medicine in Canada (particularly Ontario). Involved with Bad Science Watch and owner of the blog Post-Truth Health. Particularly active on Twitter.

Bad Science Watch: https://www.badsciencewatch.ca
Post-Truth Health: https://posttruthhealth.ca
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryarmst

 

Julia Belluz and Brian Resnick for Vox

Two of Vox’s journalists who are doing excellent work reporting on health, especially with the contextualization of new studies.

Julia Belluz on Vox: https://www.vox.com/authors/julia-belluz
Brian Resnick on Vox: https://www.vox.com/authors/brian-resnick

 

Kelly Crowe

Medical sciences correspondent for CBC National News.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kcrowecbc?lang=en

 

HealthWatch123

A cat on Twitter who comprehensively documents every bit of media coverage on health fraud.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HealthWatch123

 

Dr. Paul Offit

Professor of pediatric infectious diseases and vocal defender of the safety of vaccines.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrPaulOffit
Books: http://paul-offit.com/books/

 

Skeptical Inquirer

A long-running magazine dedicated to promoting skepticism.

Website: https://www.csicop.org/si

 

Ressources francophones

 

Olivier Bernard, le Pharmachien

Un incontournable. A-t-il besoin d’être introduit?

Site web: http://lepharmachien.com
Livres: http://lepharmachien.com/livres/
Émission télé: http://pharmachien.exploratv.ca/accueil/

 

Valérie Borde

Journaliste scientifique qui écrit pour L’Actualité.

Articles: https://lactualite.com/auteur/valerieborde/

 

Alain Vadeboncoeur

Urgentologue et communicateur médical au sein de L’Actualité.

Articles: https://lactualite.com/auteur/alainvadeboncoeur/

 

Jean-François Cliche

Journaliste au Soleil.

Articles: https://www.lesoleil.com/chroniques/jean-francois-cliche

 

Agence Science-Presse

Média indépendant à but non lucratif qui couvre les nouvelles scientifiques et qui, par son Détecteur de rumeurs, vérifie les nouvelles fausses et un peu moins fausses qui se répandent dans les médias.

Site web: https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca
Le Détecteur de rumeurs: https://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/detecteur-rumeurs

 

Québec Science

Magazine québécois qui informe le public en matière de science et technologie.

Site web: https://www.quebecscience.qc.ca

5 comments

  1. Hi Jonathan,

    I very much enjoy the McGill Cracked Science articles. I decided to look at your site to see if you did a review article of the numerous pro vitamin C videos on U tube, as I would like to have a basis for deciding if supplemental vitamin C is something I should pursue. If there is, please let me know. If there isn’t, I think it would be a good topic for an article.

    In looking at your site, your twitter feed, and the list of links your suggest, I am overwhelmed. My hope is that the Cracked Science articles are the best starting source of articles to read, but maybe it is better for me to ask if you would agree, or what approach you would suggest? There are so many sources, that it is impossible for do discern which to look at.

    Having so many information/disinformation sources is surprisingly like to situation in the U.S. with its political divisions and people following the information sources that support their beliefs. It seems like there are no news sources that are unbiased. At home, we are affected as we often have (had when we could get together) heated dinner table conversations as my brother is a new father and an antivaxxer. He’s convinced that the pro-vaccine advocates are sponsored by the producers of vaccines. It’s frustrating as there doesn’t seem to be a way to dispel that kind of misinformation. Maybe this is a long-winded way to let you know that the work that you and your colleagues do to provide clear information is valuable and very much appreciated.

    Regards,

    Jonathan

    1. Thank you very much for the kind words. A few answers. 1) I have never written about vitamin C claims, though the bottom line is that, unless you have a vitamin C deficiency noted by lab test, you most probably do not need vitamin C supplementation. The excess vitamin C you take will simply be peed out. You can check out Science-Based Medicine, as I’m sure they’ve written about this, or the Pharmafist (http://www.thepharmafist.com/vitamin-c-injections/). 2) You raise an important point: the democratization of the means of media production (blogging, video-making, podcasting) means that everyone can spread their opinions and “facts” around, and the ones that reach virality tend to be those that stoke fears or provide simple solutions to complicated problems. 3) A lot of anti-science belief has roots in conspiracist ideation and loss of confidence in authority figures. I recommend the book Escaping the Rabbit Hole for advice on how to talk to people who have fallen down this type of conspiracist hole. 4) When it comes to the vaccine debate specifically, the approach that seems to bear the most fruit is to mostly listen to vaccine hesitant parents, to get them to voice their anxieties, and give them the information they need in a non-judgmental way. It’s hard work and can certainly try anyone’s patience, but it’s the approach that’s been shown to do the most good. You can look up “motivational interviews.”

  2. Dear Jonathan,

    I am wondering if you have heard the name “Paul Drouin” before.

    Dr. Paul Drouin is a former general practitioner from the French speaking area of Quebec. For over twenty years, he has practised both traditional and natural medicine all over the world, has taught countless professionals on the topic of integrative medicine. je also founded Quantum University, an online, self-paced degree ganting institution in Hawaii where he serves as its Director today.

    Not much can be found about this guy on the Internet.

    I believe, that he is a quack. Making tons of money on “snake oil”….

    I have done a little research and came across this comment:

    “One thing these quacks have learned is how to have a good website to pull in the suckers, like this anti-vaccine mom. This “iquim” diploma mill has a slick presentation. It’s run by one “Dr. Paul Drouin, MD, PhD, DNM, IMD” who has the psychotic Mr. Clean look down even better than Billy DeMoss, (aka the world’s scariest chiroquacktor). Apparently Drouin was a family doc in Canada who fell off the deep end but was smart enough to do it in Hawaii (where his diploma mill is located) and tag a bunch of fake degree initials after his name besides his MD (and also insist on putting the “Dr” before his name as well, which reeks of pure ego). I’m suspicious a lot of his non-MD “degrees” came from his own “school”. Looking at the “graduate testimonials” page for these quacks from iquim, they all mostly go set up “wellness centers”–places that are almost certainly cash only and rife with worthless supplements.

    On a funny note, Drouin has been accused of plagiarism by a fellow quack (of “German New Medicine”) regarding “brain scans”: http://www.germannewmedicine.ca/documents/whygnm.html .”

    https://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2016/03/03/an-antivaccine-mother-asks-for-advice-on-reddit-about-how-to-convince-the-babys-father-not-to-vaccinate-it-doesnt-go-well

    Also found this:

    https://archive.macleans.ca/article/1995/9/25/the-enforcers

    “In Montreal, two doctors currently face disciplinary action by the

    Quebec College of Physicians over alternative medicine. After about 10 days of hearings before the college’s disciplinary committee, Louise Comeau and Paul Drouin are waiting to find out whether they will be found guilty of charges that they used diagnostic techniques “contrary to the principles of medical science.” The former medical partners, who practised conventional medicine as well as homeopathy and naturopathy, were charged after they began using high-powered microscopes to analyze patients’ health by examining blood samples. ”

    I also know that the Hawaii-based International Quantum University is listed among the institutions that are unaccredited degree granting institutions. They are basically, “Diploma mills”

    What do you think?

    Thanks for listening to me!

    Best

    David

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