News and Views

Mass shootings and terrorism. These two topics continue to strike fear into the hearts of Americans everywhere.

It makes sense why. Their randomness instills us with fear. The shooters often look deranged, and the images shown in the media are gruesome. And because of the cynical (but true) journalistic maxim, "If it bleeds, it leads," we are guaranteed weeks of discussion after every incident.

But boring things are far deadlier. According to the most recent data from the CDC, accidents killed 136,053 Americans in 2014, making them the #4 leading cause of death1. Included in that number is accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, which kills on average 374 people every single year2...

A common question I hear again and again is, "How do I know if a news story is fake?" There is no easy answer1. It helps to be well informed, and it requires a conscious suspension of credulity combined with a gut instinct honed over years of experience. 

If journalism as a whole is bad (and it is), science journalism is even worse. Not only is it susceptible to the same sorts of biases that afflict regular journalism, but it is uniquely vulnerable to outrageous sensationalism. Every week, it seems, an everyday food is either going to cure cancer or kill us all. 

One thing experience has taught us is that some news outlets are better than others. Some journalists really do care about reporting the news as it is rather than the way they would like...

Most of us have an imaginary cleaning list in our heads we dreadfully whip out on the weekend and try to get through as fast as possible. More often than not, our cleaning lists are similar: clean bathrooms, dust, vacuum, dishes, laundry. The occasional 'window cleaning' might pop up if the sun is shining on them the right way. 

Sanitizing the TV remote control or shower curtain rarely comes to mind, yet those are just some of the items that carry the most germs in your house — and no, you're not off the hook if you don't have kids. 

Lucky for us, experts in cleaning (who knew they were out there?) have compiled a checklist of household chores and their frequency to help us keep our germs at bay. A team of the Good Housekeeping Institute has identified the tasks...

Question: How long can an image of one's face be used to accurately identify that person?

As Mission: Impossible moviegoers know from seeing Ethan Hunt and other fugitives chased all over the globe, computer-driven facial recognition is an essential tool for law enforcement. Hundreds – if not thousands – of images flash across the screen in a matter of seconds, and then the identify of the elusive perpetrator becomes known.

OK, now that's Hollywood's version of how this scientific instrument is applied. 

In the real world, however, government agencies and customs officials on every continent rely on facial recognition – and that fact raises the issue of the reliability of the photos in their databases. So, as security continues to play a heightened role...

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.