Tuesday, July 28, 2015

American Council on Science and Health

A potential game changer in the battle against flu - Most vaccines are great. One exception is the flu vaccine. It is not only not great, but is sometimes just plain lousy, and you have to get a new one every year. All this may change thanks a cool technology that uses virus-like particles instead of real viruses. The result could be a badly needed universal flu vaccine. Read more.

Teen use of morning after pill on the rise - A new CDC survey finds that teen use of emergency contraceptives, or the “morning after pill,” is much higher than in previous years. But experts think this increase in use is due to an increase in awareness about the “Plan B” method to prevent pregnancy. Read more.
A NY Times op-ed shows precisely the wrong way to improve patient care  - In an op-ed in the NYTimes, a cardiologist bemoans the unintended consequences of state-mandated “report cards” designed to evaluate care by individual practitioners. He shows how these reports, designed to enhance “transparency,” do the opposite and harm patients. Read more.

Buyers beware: cellphones may cause cancer! (in Berkeley anyway) - Well, Berkeley California is once again in “the forefront” of another health “debate,” according to the NY Times. And no surprise (again), the topic is anti-science in the service of that city’s prevalent left-leaning “natural is good, technology is suspect” philosophy. A new law mandates a warning, to wit: cellphones and cancer! Read more.

California’s new vaccine law will be challenged — unsuccessfully, we hope - California’s new vaccine law, SB-277 which ended non-medical exemptions from mandatory vaccines, will protect public health — but there will still be challenges ahead from anti-vaxers. They’re unlikely to succeed, but public health proponents must stay vigilant. Read more.

Ocean health pH sensor wins an XPRIZE - To have healthy people we need to have a healthy ecosystem and that means making sure that our oceans are healthy. For that reason, the acidity of oceans has been a concern and in 2013 a contest was begun to create a better sensor to measure this in oceans. The winners were announced Monday night. Read more.

New York’s natural gas ban had nothing to do with science or health - What do New York environmental activists know about science that the entire EPA and earth scientists in 20 states do not? Well, nothing. But science and health was not the reason for New York state’s recent decision to formally ban natural gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing – fracking. Read more.

Another great stride in combatting AIDS. In a faraway place - Progress against AIDS continues to amaze. A study of the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs in preventing transmission from infected to uninfected people was conducted in Botswana. The result: 100% protection. Read more.

Two inexpensive, generic drugs could help reduce breast cancer mortality in postmenopausal women - Two studies published in The Lancet provide the best evidence yet for the effects of two classes of drugs, aromatase inhibitors (AIs) and bisphosphonates, on postmenopausal women with breast cancer. Both drugs were found to improve survival prospects, and could be used together to decrease side effects. Read more.

New malaria vaccine tentatively approved, although more work to be done - The Holy Grail of malaria prevention, a vaccine effective in preventing the mosquito-borne parasitic disease, is one step closer to reality. The new GSK vaccine, RTS/S now called Mosquirix, provided significant albeit below-ideal levels of protection for infants and toddlers, which will save thousands of lives. Read more.

Genome editing is now cheap and easy, question of who owns technology is not - Researchers from MIT and the University of California are arguing over who owns the patent for the genome editing technique CRISPR-Cas9. Both teams make interesting cases and whoever is awarded the patent stands to make billions from the techniques limitless potential. Read more.

Bean Box defies organic hype, brings truth about coffee - To people in science, organic coffee always seemed a little silly, because you don't eat coffee beans any more than you eat the shell of a pineapple, and by the time you do get to the consumable part, whether or not the toxic pesticide on the plant was an organic one or a synthetic one has ceased to be relevant. Read more.

A quarter of Americans expect antibiotic prescriptions for viral illnesses - In the latest issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers find that a quarter of all consumers expect to receive antibiotics from their doctor when they have a cold or cough. Improper use of antibiotics contributes to the serious worldwide problem of antibiotic resistance. Read more.

Bracelet offers latest in chemophobia - Are you constantly worried about all the invisible chemicals you are exposed to in your every day? Well now there’s a bracelet that will let you know what part per billion you are being exposed to. However, if good science is what you're looking for this bracelet might not be for you. Read more.

Late stage cancer: is additional chemotherapy advisable? - Should late stages of cancer be treated with chemotherapy when there is no hope for a cure? If treatments extend life but that life is of poor quality, is it worth the effort? The question raises important issues that must be considered by cancer patients, their oncologists and families. Read more.

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