food and nutrition

One of the earliest (of many) bizarre symptoms of COVID-19 was blood clotting in the lungs. These clots could easily be seen when an endotracheal tube was removed from a ventilated patient. The tube was coated with a whole lot of mucus with red streaks. Not so pleasant to look at.

Naturally, heparin, an anticoagulant, was tried. A modest positive effect on survival was seen in a large retrospective study reported in BMJ in February. But heparin is tricky to use. It is considered to be a high-risk drug because both over-and underuse can be fatal.

Aspirin, another blood thinner, is a safer and cheaper ...

It's good to be skeptical of scientists and the politicians who listen to them. This is because they're people, and all people, no matter how educated or well-intentioned they may be, make mistakes. As I've written previously,

"universities, science journals, and individual experts often get things wrong. The scientific community knows this all too well, as cancer epidemiologist Geoffrey Kabat recently explained[T]he public and journalists – the consumers of information about health –...

What we know – providing context

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a devastating illness that robs one of their “self” long before the end of life. In addition to the tragedy to the patient, it has enormous financial and psychological costs to their families and our health systems. In 2017, about 2 million Medicare beneficiaries, and it is the over-65s where AD is predominant, used one of the available drugs for AD – they constitute the future audience or market for Aduhelm. The FDA’s approval used a regulatory pathway for: 

“a drug for a serious or life-threatening illness that may provide meaningful therapeutic benefit over existing treatments when the drug is shown to have an effect on a surrogate endpoint that is ...

What’s new?

  • Reducing the NAAQS to 9 μg/m3.
  • Claiming that reduction to that level would save 12,150 additional lives each year.
  • Associating COVID mortality with PM2.5.

What is the same-old-same-old?

  • Confusing PM2.5, a mixture of many types of particles classified only by size, with soot or unburned carbon. 
  • Conflating association with causation.
  • Recognizing uncertainties in the underlying health studies, including lack of demonstrated effects.
  • Ignoring the limitations of EPA’s ambient air quality monitoring system.
  • Neglecting indoor air quality.
  • Assuming that large stationary sources are the primary emitters...

This is not a new issue. In fact, the ACSH has published numerous articles on this over the years, beginning in 2017. [1] Currently, there is no transparent review process for the assessments of the IARC Monographs program, even when there is clear counter-evidence from many other respected organizations.  This resulted in the IARC assessment of glyphosate as the central document in billions of dollars of litigation that ultimately resulted in an $11 billion settlement in 2020 that resolved the bulk of the lawsuits claiming that Roundup (glyphosate) caused cancer.  

I hope that we are finally at a place when a few influential scientists with integrity will have the courage to speak out and demand that the 2015 IARC assessment of glyphosate be retracted or revised....

The New England Journal of Medicine published a great medical image this week from our nasal friend, or at least a runny nasal friend.

This is the typical pattern of healthy mucus, a chemical composite of water, electrolytes, and glycoproteins (sugars attached to proteins)

“When there is a balance of these nonaqueous components in healthy mucus, the evaporation of water can lead to crystallization of the electrolytes, and fern formation occurs.”

The mucus found in our noses and respiratory passages form the first physical defense against intruders, be they biologic like COVID-19 or particulate, like soot. The...

Mid-pandemic, we were regularly treated to videos of nasty, verbal, and at times physical, confrontations about wearing a mask. I’ve written about my views; I think they are helpful. But that said, as a physician, I know that my patients, and people in general, choose their own paths. What I cannot understand is the passion that advocates on both sides of the issue brought to the figurative and literal fight. A study in the journal Evolutionary Psychology may offer some insights. 

Can we begin by agreeing that what we consider right or wrong can be influenced by factors other than objectively agreed-upon facts, like our intuition or emotions or cultural values?

If so, then consider that infectious diseases are responsible for much of human deaths. Even when the...

At the risk of offending, well, just about everyone, I simply cannot let this go by.

It is not surprising that vaccination status is appearing in dating apps on sites like Match, OK Cupid, and Plenty of Fish. (Some of the issues that daters now face because of this trend were discussed by Jon Porter writing for The Verge last month.)

The ongoing conversation is just about what you'd expect: privacy, big government overreach, public health, and the ability to have lots of meaningless sex know whether or not the person you'll be meeting is protected from COVID. That's all well and good...

If you remember your high-school US history class, you know that prohibition was an abject failure. Alcohol consumption declined sharply in the early 1920s only to spike over the next several years, accompanied by a massive black market and increasing gang violence. The takeaway from this lesson is pretty clear: laws are not magic spells; writing words on a piece of paper doesn't necessarily incentivize people to change their behavior.

The same phenomenon is at work in several countries that restrict farmer access to genetically engineered (GE) crops. Fortunately, no Al Capone copycats are killing rival gangsters over the right to sell...

“Florigen-regulating genes have been repeatedly modified by breeders in crops as diverse as tomatoes, soybeans, potatoes, beans, strawberries, barley, sugar beet, rice, and wheat. (Through most of history, farmers were doing this type of genetic modification based on appearance alone, with no awareness of what was going on at the molecular level.) Controlling flower production is critical because flowers become fruit; the timing of flowering determines the length of the growing season, and the harvest.”

More and more of our agriculture focuses on mono-crops which makes our food supply vulnerable. As in financial issues, diversity cushions us against deleterious change. Can technology that brought us mono-culture bring us...