Biologist says publics scientific illiteracy has frightening repercussions
The rising popularity of shark cartilage extract as an anti-cancer treatment is a triumph of marketing and pseudoscience over reason, with a tragic fallout for both sharks and humans, according to a Johns Hopkins biologist writing in the Dec. 1 issue of Cancer Research. "Since shark cartilage has been promoted as a cancer cure, not only has there has been a measurable decline in shark populations, but cancer patients also have been diverted from proven, effective treatments," said Gary K. Ostrander, a research professor in the departments of Biology and Comparative Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University.
In the paper, titled "Shark Cartilage, Cancer and the Growing Threat of Pseudoscience," Ostrander writes, "Crude shark cartilage is marketed as a cancer cure on the premise that sharks dont get cancer. Thats not true, and the fact that people believe it is an illustration of just how harmful the publics irrationality can be."
Lisa DeNike | EurekAlert!
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