Blogging Complementary and alternative medicine Skepticism/critical thinking

Amazed at the effect a minor blog can have

Busy at NIH Study section today, I didn’t have time to compose anything extensive. (And there is most definitely something that needs a little Respectful Insolence going on; unfortunately, it will have to wait until tomorrow to receive it.) Fortunately, I had some thing in reserver for just such an occasion. From my e-mail several weeks ago (name & location withheld):

Dr. Orac,

My name is D. I am a Chiropractor and a Medical Doctor (IM resident at Medical Center X). I knew something wasn’t right about the whole Chiropractic thing about half way through my education but could never quite put my finger on it. I finished school, practiced for a year……and packed up went to med school.

I stumbled across your blog while doing some research into the foolishness of the anti-vaccine crowd. After reading your work and the blogs linked to your site things started clicking for me. My critical thinking skills, interpretation of the medical literature, and overall approach to information has changed for the better. I now understand why I had to leave Chiropractic.

So why am I telling you this? I guess I just want to say thank you for the time and effort you put into your blog. Your residents and medical students are very fortunate.


D. , M.D.

I was flabbergasted to receive this, but I don’t think I can take much credit for D’s development from a chiropracter to a a physician practicing evidence-based medicine. It sounds as though he was already well on his way long before he ever encountered your humble blogger’s meanderings. However, I am flattered to think that my humble blog may have had a role in validating his decision and to help him progress even further.

An even greater coincidence is that this particular resident is doing his internal medicine residency at a hospital that I have visited as part of my duties for my medical school. I’ve even been to that particular hospital several times. It’s even possible that we’ve been in the same room together or that I’ve seen him present a case at a conference.

Small world, eh?

In any case, little things like that provide enormous reinforcement. If, through my blogging, I can spread crtical thinking skills and appropriate skepticism to just a few people, it will have all been worth it.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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