Tuesday, August 30, 2016

American Council on Science and Health

Latest IARC Report Connects Fatness with More Cancers - We've known for a while that excess body fat (as in overweight and obesity) can raise the risk not only of chronic diseases like diabetes, but also some types of cancer. A new report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer indicates that the number of types of cancer may be more than we have thought. 

Good News: Teen Pregnancy Is Down 46% Since 2007 - With the heartbreaking photo of a Syrian child rescued from a bombed house making its way around the internet -- as well as our nonstop election circus -- it's time for some good news for a change. The CDC reports that pregnancy in teens aged 15-19 has fallen by 46 percent from 2007 to 2015.

Fauci: Don’t Make Policy Based on Animal Studies - Our founder, Elizabeth Whelan, liked to remind us that "mice are not little men," and that we ought to stop banning chemicals "at the drop of a rat." Apparently, the head of the NIAID, Dr. Anthony Fauci, agrees.
Dr. Fauci concluded his answer with a statement that really ought be carved in wood and hung above the doors of all health regulatory agencies:
"When people do studies in animals, you pay attention to them, but you don't make any policy or any other conclusions related to that until you do good epidemiological observation in the human system."
That, in a nutshell, is the entire philosophy of the American Council on Science and Health. Of course, our late founder, Elizabeth Whelan, was saying that long before it was cool to say that, and she was pithier about it, too. She liked to remind us that "mice are not little people," and that we ought to stop banning chemicals "at the drop of a rat." Compare that logical, evidence-based approach to public health policy to the shenanigans of, say, anti-GMOers like Gilles-Éric Séralini. He is the "researcher" who unethically grew gigantic tumors in rats and spuriously blamed them on GMOs.

Even if his research methodology was legitimate (it's wasn't), there is still no evidence that GMOs harm humans. Thus, according to the head of the NIAID, there would be insufficient evidence to make a change in public health policy. We understand that this conservative (as in "cautious," not politically) approach to policymaking makes some people mad.

There is a lot of money to be made in scaring people about GMOs, food, BPA, vaccines, nuclear power, natural gas, nanoparticles, and any other technology. But, we ought not stifle innovation with premature bans and overregulation.

May the legacy of Beth Whelan live on.

E-Cigarette Flavors, Biotech Courts And More Media Links - Some of the top health stories making news over the last 48 hours. 

Precision Medicine Stands On Imprecise Infrastructure - Precision medicine stands to be the future of healthcare. This future has been painted as one that delivers personalized medicine and targeted therapies, one that does away with the one-size-fits-all approach and one that seeks to exploit the root cause of a disease to find curative/therapeutic options. It's a beautiful and grandiose concept -- but one that is not achievable.  (My Take - As with anything that's new and innovative - it's expensive!  However, as these innovations become ubiquitous new ways of utilizing them become common place and less expensive.  Gene mapping will become common place, inexpensive, life saving and regular medical practice in the future.  How?  Who knows, but that's the way it's always been with everything humanity has discovered - because that's the way the human mind works.  Find it - utilize it - incorporate it.  There's only one thing that really necessary for this to happen.  Capitalism!  If there's a profit to be made it will be done.  That may not be perfection, but it's the best imperfection available.)

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