News and Views

For the first time, President Trump is giving a speech to a joint session of Congress*. Since the President has a habit of keeping us all guessing, here is a wish-list of things we would like to hear Mr. Trump talk about.

Healthcare reform. The Affordable Care Act had good intentions. It is obviously within society's best interest to have as many people covered by health insurance as possible. However, the ACA is flawed. Medical costs keep rising. CNN Money reported in September 2016 that "[p]rices for medicine, doctor appointments and health insurance rose the most last month since 1984." Our award-winning resident pediatrician, Dr. Jamie Wells,...

Judge Joseph Wapner of “People’s Court” fame died this weekend at 97. Arguably the nation’s first reality star, his passing was confirmed by his son, David Wapner, to the Associated Press. It was reported the Judge died in his sleep at home subsequent to a recent hospitalization a week prior for “breathing problems.” 

His son also revealed he was under home hospice care. No matter the age, such a loss is a painful event. We at ACSH wish his loved ones much peace during this difficult time. 

By these declarations, it appears there were underlying circumstances leading to this unfortunate eventuality.

We often hear on the news or even in daily conversation that a person died in his or her sleep. This concept is routinely conflated with the notion a death was by “old...

In a unanimous Supreme Court victory, a young girl with cerebral palsy, Ehlena Fry, and her service dog, Wonder, succeeded in making the ability to pursue justice against discrimination for those managing disabilities that much easier.

Without making any political statements, let’s first review the legal decisions for a frame of reference so that we can have a medical discussion about the importance of service animals and their well-documented therapeutic benefits.

In 2009, Fry’s elementary school in Napoleon, Michigan refused to allow her to bring Wonder to class. Their position was she had access to a one-on-one human aide. Ultimately, the family after opting to home-school moved to another service dog-friendly district, but filed suit in federal court in 2012. The...

Having spent the weekend at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Boston, with a theme of science policy, I have been immersed in a four-day, non-stop conversation about the relationship between scientists and "the public."

In thinking about the gap that exists, at least anecdotally, between the public and scientists on scientific issues, I looked for data on exactly how wide that gap is. 

The Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank that conducts polling and collects data, asked scientists and non-scientists their opinions on various scientific topics: GMOs, global warming, pesticide usage, etc. The results are not surprising - there is a big gap between what those two groups think. The question is - why? And, what can be done to...

Let’s wax nostalgic. Do you recall the Ebola outbreak a few years ago that brought fear into many American’s lives and ravaged our television screens? Those spacesuit-like outfits medical personnel wore to prevent acquiring the infection were demonstrated by anchors and blasted out via all media forms. The challenge of taking the gear on and off without compromising one’s safety was replayed nearly on a loop.

The messages transmitted then still ring true now regarding the importance of health care worker biohazard protection—not only for themselves, but also the communities they inhabit. In a recent statement put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the governing agency revealed...

Past studies have suggested a link between cat ownership and psychosis, specifically Schizophrenia. But researchers say the latest studies simply don't show any association. That's bad news for the crazy ole cat lady, who can't use her feline friends as an excuse. 

As the time-honored saying goes, it's better to give than to receive.

Well, maybe not always – especially when it comes to tattoo artists.

When these workers ply their creative trade, they must bend over their customers and maintain steady positions, sometimes for hours at a time – and the physical strain they must endure on a given workday can be significant. That's the key finding of the first-ever study of its kind, researchers say, measuring muscle stress of tattoo artists at work.

In this small study of parlor workers, researchers from Ohio State University found that "all of them exceeded maximums recommended to avoid injury, especially in the muscles of their upper back and neck," according to a ...

committee of international experts, assembled by the National Academies of Science and Medicine, released a highly anticipated report on human genome editing this past week.

The report, entitled "Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance" addresses three major applications of genome editing, but, has a focus on making changes in the DNA that can be passed down through generations - germline editing. 

For germline editing, although interventions to treat or prevent diseases are far from being ready to be tried in humans, the committee placed an emphasis permitting the forward progress of this scientific technology, with the contingeny that proper...

Three separate bills have been introduced (2 in the House, 1 in the Senate) to drive a stake into a vampire like Board, which has no members, little funding and bipartisan support for its demise – the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). [1] Created as part of the Affordable Care Act, you know it as ObamaCare, it is a cost-control mechanism designed to maintain per beneficiary costs of Medicare within certain guidelines. IPAB’s Renfrow, the person giving the undead Board life is Paul Spitalnic, the actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) who believes that Medicare costs will exceed the statuary limits in 2017 and require awakening the IPAB. 

Like other vampires, there are restraints on its powers. Specifically, it cannot reduce benefits and cannot...

Organic chemists are a different species (1). While the world was pondering the geopolitical ramifications of the assassination of Kim Jong Un's half-brother Kim Jong-Nam, we were all wondering "what the hell was in those needles?"

This morbid curiosity became even more so as the story changed. Instead of needles, different reports said that a liquid was either sprayed in Kim's face or applied with a cloth. For us chemists, that is even crazier. What on earth could be applied to the skin and cause dizziness, a headache, and then death so quickly? This has led to speculation about what chemical was used, because, given the "facts" that we now have, there is no obvious answer. 

This didn't stop me from trying to figure it out, even knowing in advance that I...