Tag Archives | Steven Novella

The Supplement Con

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Posted 23 August 2017

A recent article in Business Insider is an encouraging sign that skepticism about the supplement industry is starting to go mainstream. The article hits all the main points – the supplement industry in the US is now $37 billion, is largely unregulated, and their products are largely worthless, make unfounded claims, and may even be harmful.They correctly point out the key factor that made the supplement industry go from bad to terrible:

In 1994, about 600 supplement companies were producing about 4,000 products for a total revenue of about $4 billion. But that market has since ballooned — today, close to 6,000 companies pump out about 75,000 products.

“We’re regulating that with 26 people and a budget of $5 million,” [FDA spokesperson] Tave said.

Continue reading this insightful article by Steven Novella posted to Science Based Medicine on August 16, 2017

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The “It Worked for Me” Gimmick

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Posted 22 April 2016

It is almost inevitable that whenever we post an article critical of the claims being made for a particular treatment, alternative philosophy, or alternative profession, someone in the comments will counter a careful examination of published scientific evidence with an anecdote. Their arguments boils down to, “It worked for me, so all of your scientific evidence and plausibility is irrelevant.” Both components of this argument are invalid. Even if we grant that a treatment worked for one individual, that does not counter the (carefully observed) experience of all the subjects in the clinical trials. They count too – I would argue they count more because we can verify all the important aspects of their story.

This article by by Steven Novella published on April 20, 2016 on Science-Based Medicine, examines the value of the claim, ‘but it worked for me’.

He concludes:

It is hard

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