Field of Science

Unnatural news about cancer cures

It was only a matter of time. Apparently news feeds popping up on Facebook have been referencing lots of "natural cures" the sort of thing regular reported at web sites like Natural News.  So now a correspondent writes to ask if there is any truth to the report than eating whole lemons is a cure for or can prevent cancer.  Nothing scares people as much as cancer, and too many of us have seen people grasp for any and all purported cures either because they don't trust real medicine or they feel they have nothing to lose.  So here's one of the Natural News articles about the lemon-cancer connection.  Wow, do you see that they've got all those sciency citations, so this information must be the real stuff and these people right on top of things.  And sadly that is not the case.  Here's an article about this that's says pretty much what TPP is going to say.  Over the years TPP has had his students investigate a number of these "natural cures" claims because they frequently involve plants and it's always the same story.  The actual science is either grossly misinterpreted, mostly greatly exaggerated, or just totally misleading about what the actual study was or did or found.   TPP is puzzled about the people behind these natural news articles.  Are they simply not smart enough to understand what they are doing, or are they deliberately misleading people for fun and profit?  If indeed science had discovered something as amazingly simple as eating lemons whole can cure or prevent cancer, don't you really think someone reputable would be saying so?  Oh, they aren't doing this because there's some huge conspiracy to keep people from knowing such things.  Yea, right.  A good skeptical attitude helps you steer clean of such bogus claims, that and the actual ability to read a scientific article. When something is too good to be true, mostly likely it isn't. Too bad because mojitos are a real good drink. And gin and tonic helps prevent malaria, oh, wait, there is an element of truth to that one!  The image above must have lemons in it somewhere and the image is in the public domain compliments of the USDA Agricultural Research Service.


William Connolley said...

> Oh, they aren't doing this because there's some huge conspiracy to keep people from knowing such things. Yea, right.

Its just like Global Warming, we have a vast conspiracy there to corrupt data, etc etc :-(

Semi-seriously: I do sometimes wonder if the sustained attack on science by the GW denialists leaves people more open to believe nonsense in other areas too.

The Phytophactor said...

Yes, you're quite right, denialism of one sort, especially science denialism, leads to distrust of science in other areas too. The image of scientists has taken a real drubbing as people have tried to discredit scientists and their science. That this attitude then taints medicine is no surprise.