News and Views

The headline promises information about a "NEW LANDMARK STUDY" linking aspartame consumption to lymphoma and leukemia in humans. Now that's a global crisis if I ever heard one! But wait — before you toss your diet sodas, let's delve a little deeper into what this website is really doing.

I suppose you could call this a "Lazarus" site because they're resurrecting some old data and claiming it's new. But it isn't. The site, called Realfarmacy, supposedly is alerting true believers to the results of the "longest running study on aspartame as a carcinogen in humans." The study they refer to was published in 2013, for one thing — hardly new. For another, it was a combination of 2 observational studies — the Nurses’ Health...

Given modern medical advances extending survival rates for chronic diseases like cancer along with the population aging at an exponential rate, companies are seeing opportunities for niche markets. Hormel —of Dinty Moore stews and Spam canned meat fame—has designed its Vital Cuisine meal line specifically to target cancer patients, for example. 

This veil of social responsibility manages to obscure what is likely at its core an economic decision. Patients are more and more frequently being managed as outpatients for cancers, so hospitals and long-term care facilities are no longer the only avenue to access them. Enduring chronic illness while living at home and still going to work is very much a...

He was widely considered the smartest player in the NFL.

That assessment wasn't defined by how he played or approached football, but rather by what was under his helmet and between his ears. That's because when John Urschel wasn't defending his quarterback on the Baltimore Ravens' offensive line, the deep-thinking, soft-spoken genius was working towards his math doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

But at the age of 26, Urschel, the well-liked and highly-regarded lineman, abruptly retired from the NFL after just three seasons. His decision came two days after a high-profile study was released, which stated that in the brain tissue studied of 111 late NFL players, 110 were diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a type of irreversible...

A pesky parasite lurks warm freshwater lakes and ponds in the dog days of summer.. It's not serious, but it's certainly itchy!

A walk through Brooklyn's Prospect Park this summer may not be as relaxing as it sounds.

At least five people are known to have been attacked by a squirrel between July 18th and July 20th. Oddly, the squirrel attacks are reported as being unprovoked. This is not the case of mistaking a finger for a peanut. The squirrel attacked people (in one case, jumped up on a seven-year-old child) as they walked or jogged by.

Although it is not clear what is going on with the squirrel, or why it's biting people, the NYC Health Department has put out a warning that it may be rabid and that people who have been bitten should seek medical immediately for rabies post-exposure prophylaxis. This recommendation makes sense, given that rabies is nearly 100% fatal when contracted.

But,...

Physicians and surgeon have a long history of differences. Surgeons descended from barber-surgeons and even today are called "Mister" in the United Kingdom. Physicians practicing medicine seem to have descended from the alchemists and are often felt to be more thoughtful and reflective while surgeons are seen more as doers.

A thought provoking systematic review in the British Medical Journal, "Use of Placebo Controls in the evaluation of surgery" examines one of the ways that differences persist. For example, a new therapy involving a medication requires the approval of the FDA, and that requires evidence that the new drug is at least “non-inferior” to what is already available. Not so for a new surgical technique or device...

When North Korea makes the news, it's usually due to its nuclear missile program. That is certainly a very realistic threat. Just yesterday, U.S. intelligence announced that a North Korean missile may be able to hit the continental U.S. within a year. The media's coverage, however, tends to overlook some other terrifying aspects of the North Korean regime.

Take its conventional weapons, for instance. North Korea is armed to the teeth. With more than 1.1 million personnel, North Korea boasts the world's fourth largest military. If war ever broke out on the Korean Peninsula, the...

Wonder why fake news is winning as a concept and description? Look no further than a recent article and accompanying video from CNBC showcasing a new blood collection product from a Massachusetts-based start-up that is touted as “virtually painless” and pursuing the “holy grail for medical entrepreneurs.” 

Having recently written about even Harvard’s use of statistical tricks to enhance their publishing odds, it should come as no surprise that news outlets appear to be doubling as public relations firms. Don’t get me wrong, new technologies and products should get access to the mainstream media to inform as well as ignite progress and innovation. But, let...

Football is not the same game it was 10 years ago. Evidence over the last decade has been mounting that parts of the game are harmful to some of its players. Specifically, those who experience repeated concussions or head trauma, resulting in a type of irreversible and degenerative brain damage called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

A new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), entitled Clinicopathological Evaluation of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Players of American Football brought this issue into the spotlight this week, largely because of its splashy results. 

The study reports that CTE was diagnosed in 177 players across all...

Senator John McCain has been in the news over his health issues this past week, and perhaps you can remember the concerns about Secretary Clinton’s health in the fall. The media carried more speculations about Secretary Clinton and more facts about Senator McCain, but it raises the question of what should the talking heads of the media, especially media physicians, say in these circumstances. The dilemma is captured in the current discussion within the American Psychiatric Association (APA) about the Goldwater rule.

In 1964 when Senator Goldwater was running for president, several APA members contributed to an article in Fact magazine declaring him mentally unfit for the presidency. He sued for defamation and won, and the APA modified its’...