Monday, September 28, 2015

American Council on Science and Health

Groundbreaking Sickle Cell Study Uses Stem Cells with Adults - Sickle-cell disease is a painful, life-shortening, debilitating, inherited disease of hemoglobin in red blood cells, affecting persons of African descent. Children had been cured with bone marrow/stem cell transplants. Now, in a small study, adults are being cured with a less-intensive regime. Read more.

Antibacterial Soaps: Useless and Maybe Harmful - The ongoing debate over whether an antibacterial ingredient triclosan should be in soaps seems to have become an issue that's finally settled. It should not be in there — and here are three reasons why. Read more.

Paxil Reversal: Was Safe for Teen Depression, But Now It’s Not - A re-evaluation, using reams of proprietary data from the original 2001 study, shows that the conclusion that Paxil was safe and effective for teens with depression was flawed. The new re-appraisal team calls for more such studies of older data to shed more light on possibly-flawed conclusions. Read more.

2015’s Flu Shot, Much Like the 1963 Mets - Last year's flu vaccine provided a mere 23 percent coverage — which is about as bad as it gets. But now the CDC predicts that number will be vastly higher for the 2015-16 flu season. This is similar to when the Mets trudged out for just their second season in existence in 1963; things can only get better. Read more.

For Biotech Crops Down Under, Logic Rules - An organic farmer in Australia actually sued a neighbor last year -- and won -- claiming some of the neighbor's GM canola blew onto his field and caused some of his crop to lose its organic certification. But the Australian Court of Appeals has now reversed that ruling, which makes complete sense. Read more.
Another Adulterated Supplement? No weigh(t)! - Welcome to Bizarro World. While people are wearing gloves for fear of touching a cash register receipt, others are "supplementing" their diet with really nasty drugs that can be bought at any vitamin shop. Dr. Pieter Cohen and colleagues examine yohimbine, and found just about what you'd expect: a bunch of crap. Read more.
Blue Moon Sighting: EHP Mag Finally Correct on Phthalates - It's a rare event when even the fervently anti-chemical journal Environmental Health Perspectives publishes a study exonerating phthalates from contributing to childhood obesity. So how rare is it when it publishes two such studies? Must be a blue moon, again. Read more.

Hey Heart Patients, Sex is Your Friend - There's a widespread misconception that sex is a risk factor for heart attack. However, a new study finds that this is just another one of those pesky health myths that needs another round of debunking. Read more.

Super Gonorrhea in UK, with Spreading Likely - Antibiotic resistance is back. Sixteen cases of "super-gonorrhea" have been identified in the U.K., "super" because it has become resistant to one of the two drugs in the cocktail that's used to treat the sexually transmitted disease. The chance of untreatable gonorrhea is not just a sci-fi movie premise. Read more.

Change Your Setting to Help You Eat Less - We've known for a while now that a variety of factors can influence what, and how much, people consume. Certain social settings, as well as experiencing hunger while food shopping, can result in overeating. And a new meta-analysis lends credence to these ideas. Read more.

Drug Price Gouge Is Not a Rationale For Government Controls - One company CEO's decision to exploit his monopoly of an important drug to increase its price by a factor of 55-fold is despicable indeed. However, it should not be used as a rationale by politicians to mandate government price controls on all Rxs. Read more.

No WSJ, Men Aren’t More Scientific About Cancer - Are women driven by anti-science beliefs for how they choose their breast cancer treatment? No. But the Memorial Sloan Kettering and the Wall Street Journal seem to think so. They are basing this on a deeply flawed study by the hospital's media staff. Read more.

Copper-Lined Surfaces Hope to Stem Infections Spread - Hospital-acquired infections in the U.S. have been known to affect more than 700,000 patients in a single year. A new report says some hospitals are combatting this problem by lining surfaces with copper, a practice that has ancient roots. Bacteria resistance, yet, is suspected to be an undermining factor. Read more.

Don’t Listen To Vermont Politicians On Science, Health - Peter Shumlin, the Governor of Vermont, has a lot to say about narcotic abuse and addiction in his state. Unfortunately, he doesn't really know what he's talking about. Take his op-ed in the New York Times from a few days back. It's a whole lot of nonsense and pandering to gain some political points. Read more.

Update On Life-Saving Diabetes Drug - A new paper in the NEJM, reported that patients who took Jardiance, a novel hypoglycemic drug that was developed by Boehringer and Lilly, had a 38 percent reduction in cardiovascular deaths. This is the first evidence that a drug that lowers blood sugar has an impact on cardiovascular disease. Read more.

Smelly Jelly: Another Stinker of a Supplement - Are you failing to get enough jellyfish in your diet? If so, you better hurry out and get some supplemental jellyfish, because ... well, just because. The company that sells the useless junk claims that it will improve your memory. But they obviously forgot to run clinical trials to prove it. Read more.

Possible New Treatment for C. Diff., An Old Enemy - Clostridium difficile, aka C. Diff. is a very serious, common infection that can cause life-threatening diarrhea. It is very difficult to treat with antibiotics, especially since the infection often arises from antibiotic use for other infections. But there may be new way to control it — by use of a novel antibody. Read more.

Lab-Grown Kidney Works Well Inside Models - Researchers in Japan are reporting a first in the field of stem cell research: a kidney grown from same cells in the lab and transplanted into both mice and pigs. But more importantly, they got the kidney to work inside these models. Read more.

Investigating What’s in Pig-Pen’s Dust Cloud - A new study finds that our microbiome may extend beyond our gut and skin -- to the air immediately around us. The researchers, working at the University of Oregon, say that the constituents of these microbiome clouds may even be unique to the individual. Read more.

Marketing a Better Potato, the GM Way - Lovers of french fries, rejoice: the new, non-bruising potato has hit the market. The Idaho spud joins a list of GM products designed to appeal to the consumer. But will people put their GM taters (and bucks) where their mouths are? Read more.

The Dirty Truth About ‘Organic’ — It’s Marketing Over Substance - Organic proponents make concessions based on reality, like arbitrarily defining which pesticides are acceptable, but allowing “deviations” if based on “need.” Over 50 synthetic exemptions and counting. Read more.

Sperm Activity-Phthalate Story is Swimming Upstream - A Swedish study keeps beating a dead, impotent horse — that exposure to a group of plastic softeners called phthalates has a negative impact on male fertility. Studies don't get much worse than this. All the authors did was to prove that they are capable of embarrassing themselves. Read more.

Stents Are Being Wrongly Used – And That’s A Bad Thing - Researchers accuse the majority of doctors who operate on patients with asymptomatic carotid artery occlusive disease as acting "deplorably" and "unethically." A new study confirms several others showing that medical therapy is at least as effective and far safer. Read more.

How Evidence-Based Are New US Dietary Guidelines? - There has long been concern that dietary guidelines are increasingly political. A new analysis contends that the U.S. Congress was right to schedule a hearing with Obama administration officials to ask why only some scientific literature was included in the recent guidance. Read more.

Picture This: A Food App that Could Improve Public Health - The Salk Institute released a study in the journal Cell Metabolism which highlights the erratic behavior of human eating patterns. Researchers did this using a photo app that could have wider implications for diet, weight loss and public health. Read more.

Diagnosing Liars, Not Cancer - It was a bad week for medical ethics. First, Martin Shkreli raised the price of a generic drug for Toxoplasmosis 50 fold — simply because he could. Now a California company is selling an unapproved diagnostic test kit for early detection of cancer — by claiming that it is not a diagnostic kit after all. Read more.

Job is ‘Killing’ You? It’s Just the Opposite, New Study Says - Many people count the days until their permanent vacation from work. But a new study indicates that you may want to hold off from leaving your job too soon, since it might be detrimental to your health. Working a few more years may be the healthy -- and smart -- alternative. Read more.

Don’t Just Sit There, Start Fidgeting - There's new research supporting the notion that breaking up periods of inactivity with any kind of movement can lead to a longer life. We already know that it's best to avoid sitting for long periods of time, but now it appears that even fidgeting can produce positive health results. Read more.

Values Argument: GMOs a Concern Since Farming is Remote - The stoic farmer farmer of today is much like the stoic scientist: neither likes the idea of self-promotion. But because neither group likes that task, the discourse about their work is instead framed by well-funded detractors. Read more.

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