food and nutrition

When we look back on the COVID-19 pandemic, we'll be forced to address a number of vexing questions. Perhaps the most interesting and essential of these goes as follows: why did infectious disease experts, with the backing of every reputable scientific institution and mainstream media outlet, struggle to earn the trust of the American public?

There are dozens of contributing factors. But according to a recent study conducted by researchers at MIT and Wellesley College, one of the more overlooked issues is the fact that “coronavirus skeptics,” to use the authors' phrasing, proved adept at analyzing and communicating epidemiological data (cases,...

The amount of rebates and fees collected by insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) drive formulary positions and access for brand name medicines. The ruse that formularies are devised based on clinical data has been peddled for far too long. This latest scheme is another reminder that we have a broken system taking advantage of our most vulnerable citizens.

While average per capita out-of-pocket spending for biopharmaceuticals has dropped over the past decade, the averages are deceiving. Patients who are older, under or uninsured, or are living with complex diseases find that they are significantly burdened with out...

Obesity is a description, not a “disease.”

Weight alone, by whatever measure, is only a marker for a more systemic problem, an unhealthy metabolism involving sugar and fat utilization. Weight is convenient because it is easily measured. Over time, the definition of obesity, excess weight that results in cardiovascular disease and diabetes, has changed. Weight was quickly replaced by Body Mass Index (BMI), which modified the weight by your height and gender. Then, like early phrenologists measuring various points on a skull, we have also identified waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio as markers of unhealthy weight. 

We thought we had the problem of excess weight solved until we found that some of those labeled obese had a healthy metabolism – one...

In March, anti-GMO groups across the US launched a last-ditch effort to halt the commercialization of AquaBounty's transgenic AquAdvantage salmon. In years past, such campaigning convinced major food distributors and retailers to publicly distance themselves from the genetically engineered fish. But it appears that things are finally changing in the seafood industry. AquaBounty announced on May 10 that

purchase orders have been received for the planned harvest of 5 metric tons of its genetically engineered (GE) Atlantic salmon. The first harvest is scheduled to be conducted at the end of May from the Company’s Indiana farm...

The media took an optimistic assessment of the current situation, but new cases remain far worse than when the pandemic began in March of 2020 or at the subsequent low point in June. The CDC opined that we need to get down to 10,000 cases per day (30 new cases per million population) for a reduction by a factor of ~5 in order to declare victory; based on data through April 30, we are still a long way from “normal”.

Temporal Trends

The national data show a cyclical pattern in COVID-19 cases spanning an order of magnitude over the last year. 

  • The low points in June, September, and March define a “baseline” background level that may represent increased...

The microbiome

Microbes can be found in our skin, nose, mouth, and gut because they live with us. Every human being’s microbiota is unique, like a fingerprint that can be used for identification methods. Research has shown that identifying people from their microbiome is feasible, at least for short periods, like a year.

During childbirth, the mother “seeds” her child’s microbiome. The types of microbes passed on dependent upon the mode of delivery, such as premature birth, cesarean section, and vaginal delivery. The initial differences in microbiota can be associated with allergies and ...

This will mark the fourth article in a little over a week on ivermectin on our website, and we are not alone. In over 30 years of clinical practice, with the exception of hydroxychloroquine, I have never seen a drug and its current off-label use garner so much attention. I have never seen a drug have its own physician-driven advocacy, the FLCCC – the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance.

What is driving the ivermectin push?

In short, it is the same intent that pushed hydroxychloroquine into the headlines, a place where it does not belong. But before you start writing your comments, I am not speaking about the intent described on the Internet, old-school media and their talking heads, or...

“If you are obsessed with sugar-sweetened drinks, then you need to think twice before having them regularly,” MSN reported on May 7. “A new study led by Washington University School of Medicine has found a link between drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer in women under age 50." A dozen other ...

PFAS is the acronym for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a large group of approximately 4,700 chemicals. Their principal use is as processing agents in products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. They have been used in the production of nonstick cookware, such as Teflon, stain-resistant repellants, such as Scotch-Gard, food packaging materials, and foams used in fire-fighting. 

A Bit of Chemistry 

The chemicals in this group contain linked chains of carbon and fluorine. The bond between carbon and fluorine is very strong, so these chemicals are helpful in some chemical processes. These chemicals may be divided into two groups: 

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It is impossible to spend a career in drug discovery research without having the following argument dozens of times:

Someone: "Drug prices are too high. We should break the patents and let generic companies make them cheaply."

Me: "Fine, but be prepared for innovation to come to a screeching halt. Companies are not going to spend billions of dollars to discover and develop new drugs if a generic company is going to start selling their products for a fraction of the price." 

In fact, I made just this point in The Wall Street Journal back in 2012.

The problem with my argument is that it pits a current real-life situation (high drug prices) against a fuzzy and theoretical...