Wednesday, September 16, 2015

American Council on Science and Health

One Year On, A Tribute To Dr. Beth Whelan - One year ago today, a giant on the public health outreach scene passed away. We take a moment to remember, and honor her work and legacy. Read more.

Agriculture

Why More Organic Food Means More Safety Recalls - Organic food has long been a concern for food safety proponents but as its popularity grows, so may the risks. The toxic E. coli strain that sickened hundreds of Americans in 2011 and almost 4,000 in Europe was due to contaminated organic food. Read more.

Saving Crops with GM Moths, Instead of Pesticides - An innovative approach to quelling the scourge of diamondback moths -- resistant to many pesticides and costing billions globally per year -- is genetic modification. Smaller studies are proving to be effective, with larger field trials pending. That is, if anti-GMO zealots' concerns can be evaded. Read more.

Sen. Durbin Supports GMOs; Challenges Critics for Proof - It's too rare that we find a government official actually standing up for science, so we felt that we must point to a recent example. Kudos to Senator Durbin of Illinois for his science-friendly stance on GMO labeling. Read more.

When Jon Entine Speaks About GMOs, You Should Listen - Jon Entine, the founder of Genetic Literacy Project and a Senior Fellow at the UC-Davis is perhaps the most prolific writer on GM technology. Entine addressed the National Press Club in Australia. You should listen to what he has to say. Read more.

Ethics Breach, Not Science, Trips Up ‘Golden Rice’ Research - Surely one of the most hotly contested foods in the world is golden rice. Unfortunately, a study that supports its use, to prevent blindness and death from vitamin-A deficiency, has been retracted due to an ethical breach by its researchers. It should be noted the science itself was not questioned. Read more.

All Natural

Would The Last Naturopath To Exit Please Turn Out The Lights?
- It's rare to see an alternative medicine proponent leave and join the science community but it happens. Britt Hermes, a homeopath and alternative medicine proponent, did just that. Now she keeps a blog where she discuss the horrors of her former industry. Read more.

Alzheimer’s

Can You Catch Alzheimer’s? Forget It - A British study suggests that there may be an infectious component to Alzheimer's. Examining brains of people who died from Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, which is caused by mysterious infectious proteins, revealed a striking resemblance to the brains of Alzheimer's patients. This is intriguing, but speculative. Read More.

Cancer

Testicular Cancer Has Surprisingly High Rate of Inheritance - Testicular cancer has always been a bit of an outlier. A new study reinforces this concept, as it finds that almost half of all cases are caused by inheriting faulty genes. In comparison to other cancer types, this figure is very high. Read More.

Promising New Blood Test May Speed Early Cancer Detection - It's a little too soon to celebrate, but scientists in the U.K. may have come up with a new method -- a simple blood test -- that could radically revolutionize the early detection of cancer. Read more.

Diet and Supplements

New Study Says Weight Gain is From Extra Food, Not Diet Soda - A new study suggests that many people who drink diet soda to lose weight might sabotage these efforts by consuming more calories from other sources. Read more.

Don’t Expect Health Benefits from NYC’s New Salt Law - With a new law passed Wednesday, New York City has become the first jurisdiction in the country to require salt labeling on chain restaurant foods that exceed 2,300 milligrams. However, don't expect it to improve public health, and the science suggests that the measure might actually harm consumers. Read more.

Chipotle Takes The Stairway to Heavin’ - The good news is, well, there really isn’t any. That is, if you are an executive at Chipotle. The company hopped on the anti-GMO scam-wagon too little, too late, and managed to screw it up royally. Since then, pretty much nothing has gone right. Read more.

Three Senators Make The Anti-Science Hall Of Fame - The supplement industry has been protected by three senators who for the past 40 years have worked tirelessly to prevent government regulation of their products. Which one will lead in the Anti-Science Hall of Fame? Read more.

Drugs

Marijuana weddings: A hookah under a chuppah?
- A story on KGW in Portland, focuses on the all-important issue of marijuana bars popping up at weddings. This, of course, requires a new specialist—the "budtender." Sounds like a pretty good career move. Let's see if this job gets exported to China. Read more.

About Face! (Chewing): Synthetic Marijuana's Scourge - A drug called “synthetic marijuana” is now hitting pockets of New York City very hard. Don’t let the name fool you. It has little or nothing to do with pot. It is far more dangerous -- and legal. Read more.

Vaping Marijuana – Innovative Or Reefer Madness? - There are moments when instead of lamenting the decline in intelligence in young people, we should be admiring their ingenuity. Here is one of those moments worth considering. Read more.

Why Are Drug Users Getting Better Treatment than Smokers? - "Harm reduction" is a health-promoting policy, in which self-destructive behaviors are abetted but through measures to reduce abusers harms to their health. Yet our public health establishment stands fiercely opposed to reduced harm products for smokers. Why is that? Read more.

Public Health and Vaccinations

Unfortunate News From Ukraine: 2 Cases of Polio - The fight for polio eradication has been making a lot of progress recently, highlighted by Africa celebrating one year without any new cases of wild polio earlier this summer. However, there is unfortunate news this week from the Ukraine: 2 new cases have popped up in the country. Read more.

Shingles Vaccine: Money Better Spent for 60+ Crowd - People who have had chickenpox are at risk for shingles — an extremely painful condition that usually appears in older adults. It can be prevented by a vaccine. But now that shot is only recommended for people over the age of 60. Is this a reasonable restriction? Read more.

Pregnant Women Need Whooping Cough Vaccine Booster - As more children and teens become susceptible to whooping cough (pertussis), it becomes more important to protect newborns and infants from contagion transmitted by those age groups. With siblings now transmitting the virus more often than moms, pregnant women need to be vaccinated to insure protection. Read more.

Pediatrics Group Seeks Mandatory Flu Shots for Health Workers - The American Academy of Pediatrics is seeking to mandate that all healthcare workers receive flu vaccinations. Many healthcare workers, especially nurses, believe this is a violation of personal rights. But the science on the safety of the jab is clear and the policy could potentially benefit thousands of people. Read more.

Back-to-Schoolers: Shun Deluded Anti-Vax Doc - In a recent column, internist Dr. Peter Lipson, called for doctors who fail to adhere to the recommended vaccination schedule to lose their licenses. Responding with a bold complaint was Dr. Bob Sears, whose arguments against that proposal were exposed as blatant sophistry and quackery. Read more.

Food Regulations

Set My Mayo Free? - Hampton Creek wants to sell mayonnaise but the Code of Federal Regulations was created in 1938 specifically to prevent companies from selling fake food using established names. A new product can look like mayonnaise, and it can taste like mayonnaise, but mayonnaise has to have eggs or it is not mayonnaise. Read more.

Scares and Consequences

Health Scares At The Drop Of A Rat - Beginning in 1976, the American Council on Science and Health began clarifying the difference between a health threat and a health scare. A recent write-up reminds the public about this important difference, and pays homage to one of our founders. Read more.

Silly Science and Quacks

'Skinny' on Probiotic Promoter: 12 Years Without Showering - Does showering hurt your health? A Cambridge, MA company believes that taking a shower harms your microbiome, so it's developed a new probiotic spray to use in lieu of regular washing. One executive embraces this idea so strongly that he hasn't showered in over a decade. Read more.

In Flight, Eat the Rubber Chicken on the Toilet
- There's a silly article in Wednesday's Washington Post which suggests that you're better off eating your hideous airplane meal while sitting on the toilet, rather than in your seat using the tray table. It's not just silly. It's scientifically impossible.  Read more.

Dr. Oz Viewers Are Off 50 Percent - So We're Halfway There - The much maligned Dr. Oz Show averaged 3.8 million viewers in 2012, but viewership plummeted to 1.8 million for the season that ended in May. We're halfway there, people, Only 1.8 million to go! Read more.

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