Saturday, March 5, 2011

American Council on Science and Health, 2011: Week Eight

Posted by Rich Kozlovich

Each week there is another round of thought provoking issues presented here. Many times the reason these issues are so thought provoking is that it isn't just about science, technology and dealing with the neo-luddites. Sometimes it is an issue of societal morality.   One such issue today deals with preventative medicine and sexual practices.

I remember when Dr. Koop was the Surgeon General he had been beaten about the head and shoulders by the left because of his stand on moral issues. However, he made the distinction between making a moral stand for what he believed as to what is right, and treating patients who have are involved in risky sexual practices. The issue was about condoms and AIDS, if I remember it correctly. We have to define the problem properly. If a patient had AIDS and you were a doctor wouldn't you treat them? If so, then why wouldn't you advise someone in a high risk category as to the best way to prevent getting it?

There has always been a lot of talk about the promoting or not promoting HPV vaccinations because it would potentially encourage inappropriate sexual practices. I understand the reason for that argument, but that isn't the real argument. The real argument is still the same. Would you, if you were a doctor, treat a patient with this problem? If that answer is yes to that question; then why wouldn't you help prevent them from getting this affliction in the first place if some form of prevention is available? Although I have very strong feelings about abortion being murder, as a general rule, I feel that medicines role is to educate, warn and treat society, not to indict society. That is a role for of the rest of society.

Please enjoy this week's offerings!

Gallbladder trouble: A risk factor for premature death? A new study published in the journal Gastroenterology contains some unexpected and seemingly highly significant findings: the data indicate that those patients who have gallstones or who have had their gallbladder removed are at an increased risk of death over an 18-year period than people without the disease.

Evidence dietary potassium can help avert strokes A meta-analysis of 11 studies undertaken by Italian researchers has concluded that greater daily intake of potassium is associated with a substantially lower risk of stroke. An impressive 247,510 patients were included in the analysis.

Junk science in USA Today: Useful for bird cage linings?
Late last week USA Today's Life & Fitness section included a 1052-word attack on genetically-modified (GM) foods in the guise of an objective look at their increasing use. Tellingly, the article was headed, "Shoppers wary of GM foods find they're everywhere."

My Take - The media is so contemptable that I find it hard to discribe how I feel.  If I said this over 200 years ago it wouldn't be as true as it is today.   It would be worse!!!  In point of fact the media has always been full of lies and innuendo and in my my liars and charlatans.... and turn of the century publishers such as William Randoph Herast and  Joseph Pulitzer were perfect examples of modern yellow journalism.

If you were to look back to when America's founding fathers were running for political office against each other you find that the media of the day was infinitely worse than it is today.  Having said that, it doesn't excuse their contempteous treatment of the public.  But is it contempt?  Yes, I think it is,  but I also think it is about ideology and laziness.  I think their view is to just fill up the paper and worry about the details and the facts later.   All that other stuff takes way too much know.....stuff like ......"facts". 

Do doctors warn the obese they’re more than pleasingly plump?  A story appearing in an online edition the Wall Street Journal on Monday suggests that some doctors aren't warning obese and overweight patients about the dangers of their excess size. Reporting on a study of 7,790 people between the ages of 20 and 64, the Journal's Katherine Hobson points out that 37 percent of people found to be overweight based on body mass index (BMI) and 17 percent of those judged clinically obese claimed that they hadn't known they

Recommended reading: ACSH’s Dr. Bloom in The Daily Caller  We encourage our Dispatch followers to read an op-ed by ACSH's Dr. Josh Bloom that criticizes the Obama administration's attempt to hasten the currently slow drug development process through a $1 billion plan by which the government will allocate funding to work with private industry to develop new drugs.

Epidemiologists use their heads (and necks) to assess HPV public health Canadian epidemiologists provide yet another reason to mandate more widespread use of the HPV vaccine: head and neck cancer are on the rise because of HPV.

Teens and young adults losing interest in sex?   The latest statistics from the CDC seem to indicate that teens and young adults are becoming less sexually active. The study, released Thursday, is based on interviews of about 5,300 young people, ages 15 to 24, between 2006 and 2008. It shows the proportion in that age group who reported that they had never had oral, anal or vaginal sex rose over the past decade from 22 percent to about 28 percent. Older data show that vaginal intercourse among unmarried teens and young adults has slowly

Something the FDA and ACSH agree on: Menthol doesn’t make cigarettes more harmful  The Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) believes mentholated cigarettes do not pose a greater health threat than unflavored cigarettes.

Obama warns FDA is outdated  President Barack Obama acknowledged last week that the current FDA infrastructure is not capable of assessing recent advances in medicine and biotechnology.

Wal-Mart banning PDBEs, igniting flame retardant fears  Before the EPA could say precautionary principle, Wal-Mart sent word to its suppliers last week that starting June 1st it would test for and not sell consumer products containing the flame retardants polybrominated diphenyl ether (PDBE). Wal-Mart said that it made this decision following the example of some state regulatory agencies. These agencies have responded to data correlating the substances with health problems in lab animals.

Is EPA using toxic arguments to protect itself?  In testimony before the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claimed that cuts to the EPA's budget would devastate both the country's land and water and the health of its people. Ms. Jackson's testimony often strained credulity. Among her claims, according to Reuters, were that better enforcement of present clean air and water laws would save $20 trillion in U.S. health care costs over the next nine years and that it would

EU OKs Avastin for breast cancer — FDA behind the times?  On Wednesday the European Commission approved the use of Avastin (bevacizumab) for treatment of advanced stage breast cancer. This decision, which follows from a recommendation of a European Union advisory panel, stands in marked contrast to the policies of the FDA. This past December the FDA announced that it planned to revoke its approval for the drug for breast cancer patients.

New England Journal of Medicine touts President’s Cancer Panel report to push anti-chemical agenda  Despite widespread scorn among experts - including the American Cancer Society - the 2010 President's Cancer Panel report was used as a platform for a New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece.

Heartless: Women kept out of heart device tests  A disquieting new study published online in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes shows that research into heart devices isn't properly considering the effects of these devices on women or employing comparable numbers of female test subjects.

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