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Chelation and Heart Disease Trial Suspended

The Associated Press reported (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/science/6023151.html) a suspension of recruitment of new subjects for a federally-funded research project to test the efficacy of chelation therapy for the treatment of heart disease. Heart attack survivors were to be given high doses of vitamins and chelation therapy in a regimen involving weekly and then bi-monthly infusions over 28 months. Concern was expressed by physicians associated with Citizens for Responsible Care and Research that research participants had not been properly advised of the risks of the therapy. Chelation therapy is normally used to rid the body of heavy metals, such as in cases of lead poisioning. It is also a popular "alternative medicine" treatment for many diseases. A review of chelation therapy can be found at Quackwatch: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/chelation.html. "More than half of the doctors running the study make money by selling chelation treatments," a potential conflict of interest, according to the article. The $30 million study, being conducted at over

Bigfoot Foot Cast

Bigfoot Foot Cast

I was recently invited to give a presentation at "Ask a Scientist", which I am looking forward to. As a physical anthropologist, I have long been fascinated by Bigfoot, Yeti, and other alleged relic primates living in remote locations. I would absolutely LOVE it if someone actually found a Yeti, or a Bigfoot. What could possibly be more exciting to a scientist than the discovery that indeed, populations of large-bodied primates, unknown to science, actually existed somewhere? What would be the relationship of these creatures to other primates, or humans? What physical anthropologist wouldn't be itching to look at the morphology, the genetics, the DNA? Alas, one does science with the head, not the heart. As much as I'd love to believe the existence of "wild men of the forest" as these creatures collectively are called, I won't believe it without evidence. As my former professor, Neil Tappen, once remarked, he'd "love to go on the SECOND Bigfoot expedition" -- the one held after the first succes

The Bay Area Skeptics are proud to announce our new website, built on Drupal, the content management system used by such luminaries as The Onion. On this main page, you'll find our new BAS blog, featuring posts by our Board of Directors. We're also going to increase the online archive of BASIS, our newsletter; look forward to that in the next few months!

Have any comments or suggestions? Let us know!


An Apartment Therapy San Francisco reader asks:
I am considering buying my first home. It is a renovated 1924 Edwardian style San Francisco flat, very charming with original details. After doing some research on the building, I discovered that there was a murder in the building in 1966. A young single woman was found stabbed to death in the apartment, the killer was never found. The thing that made my hair really stand on end is she came from the same small town as me and went to the same high school. My question to your readers: Do I buy this place?? I feel like I'm being a bit superstitious, but the coincidences are just too bizarre. I like the flat, it has a good feel, but I would hate to move in and feel scared and uncomfortable. It will be the biggest investment of my life. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Now, I don't want to be too hard on the questioner, because it seems like she knows she's being irrational and really, it would suck to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on real estate only to discover that you couldn't get over your irrational creepy feeling. And a number of commenters seem to feel the same way she does:
I'm superstitious, so whenever I move into a new place I

By: 
John R. Cole, BAS Board, CSI fellow
Originally published in BASIS
July-September

July 2007 news included the case of a cat named Oscar who allegedly predicted which patients in a hospice would soon die. As SF Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll noted (30 Jul 2007), this seems a bit of a stretch.

"... Oscar's 'uncanny knack of knowing when people are going to die' [looks fishy]. Apparently he walks aloofly around the halls of the Providence, R.I., nursing home where he lives, and then settles down with a person who, only a few hours later, dies. Oscar somehow intuits the imminence of death and provides succor in these last hours - or so the story goes.

"From the evidence, an equally viable theory is that Oscar kills people, but no one has mentioned that possibility.

"The staffers at the nursin


Is There a Need?

Originally published in BASIS
Volume: 
1
Number: 
1
June 1982

There are those in the Bay Area who "earn" their daily bread from the pain, suffering, guilt, fear, and hate of others.

Rev. B. Woods Mattingley, Founder-Director of The Seeker's Quest, entitled the lead article in his current newsletter: "Why Do We Suffer Pain?"

His answer: "Most serious illness can be attributed to one of several reasons: karmic, in which current life pain results from the excesses or 'sins' of a past life.... Physical pain is also


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