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Babies inside the womb, as they exit and once out into the world —especially if breastfed—are influenced to varying degrees by their mother’s exposures, albeit illicit or prescription drug intake, food ingestion or smoking, to name a few.  

If a pregnant mother is chronically using opioids, for example, then birth with subsequent severing of the umbilical cord enacts an abrupt cessation of the substance to the baby.  The result is a newborn in withdrawal.  This is called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).  It can be mild or happen upon a wide array leading to severe.

A new research letter in JAMA Pediatrics...

As the grocery stores start to sell out, school districts and offices announce closures and group discussions become preoccupied with the arrival of Snowstorm Stella, there is no better time to remind everyone of ways to avoid unnecessary injury and hardship.

Of the weather-induced causes of death that amounted to 2,000 per year between 2006-2010, 63% were due to excessive natural cold, hypothermia or both. For further review of winter hazards and how to avoid them, read Winter is No Wonderland.

Let’s address some basics for the purpose of prevention:

What is Hypothermia?

It is a dangerous, medically urgent condition where the body temperature has dropped too low as a...

Prion diseases are rare progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect both humans and animals. They are distinguished by long incubation periods, characteristic spongiform (Swiss cheese) changes in brain and spinal cord tissues associated with neuronal loss, and a failure to induce inflammatory response.

These diseases are 100% fatal; they appear to arise spontaneously in humans (sporadic) or the causative factor is found in family genetics (inheritable). However, these diseases can also be transmitted to humans eating meat contaminated with BSE or human neuronal material harboring prions, or by contact with brain-derived therapeutic factors like human growth factor extracted for pituitary glands harvested from cadavers. 

Surgical instruments used in neurosurgery on...

Bacteria are living infectious microbes that exist in the environment independent of hosts, although some clearly exist in host organisms (the gut microbiome). Some of the truly massive plagues in human history were bacterial in origin. These bacteria include anthrax, TB, cholera, Yersinia (bubonic - pneumonic plague), typhus, syphilis (a gift from the new world native peoples), gonorrhea, tetanus, salmonella, Lyme disease, C. difficile, Legionnaires’ disease, typhoid fever, leprosy, rheumatic disease and various forms of bacterial pneumonia and meningitis. As can be seen from the two lists below, bacterial organisms were the major diseases killing us in 1850. By 1900, sanitation had changed that list considerably, but bacterial infections were still the top three killers prior to the...

What were the top selling prescription drugs last year? What segment of the population is most increasing its drug intake? What are the projections of medication spending in the next five years? The answers were just published and will be addressed here.

A new report “produced independently by the QuintilesIMS Institute as a public service, without industry or government funding” reviewed 2016 medicine use and spending in the United States and provides an outlook through 2021. Among their in-depth analysis includes trends in medicine usage, out-of-pocket costs along with spending and growth dynamics. 

With an ever...

Homeopathic treatments can be bought almost everywhere. They're the ones that are likely labeled as "natural remedies" and have pictures of grass or leaves on them. What they don't have on them is a label that says "FDA approved", which has been the case since 1988.

However, it may be that that is about to change. 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced earlier this week that it is going to start to crack down on some homeopathic products. This statement is almost three years in the making since they announced in early 2015 that they were considering changing their stance on homeopathic regulation. Now, a new, risk-based enforcement approach has been announced. 

The plan is not going to concern itself with all homeopathic products. The new policy will...

The FDA has proposed new rules for homeopathic product labeling. Do these constitute a historic strategy to tame the homeopathic marketplace? Or will they merely perpetuate the status quo.

Homeopathy is nonsense. Its fanciful "law of similars" asserts that substances that can cause symptoms in healthy people will treat health problems that produce such symptoms. Its fanciful "law of infinitesimals" asserts that the greater the dilution, the more potent the product and that even products so dilute that they contain no molecules of the original ingredient can be potent drugs.

Despite all this, a provision of the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDC Act) recognizes all substances included in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States as...

It's repeated so often, that it's become conventional wisdom. To sustainably meet our energy needs, the world requires a balanced "energy mix" or an "all-of-the-above" strategy: a little solar power here, a little wind power there, and toss in some hydrothermal, geothermal, and natural gas for good measure.

That's nonsense, argues a new paper in the journal Sustainability. Instead of treating our energy policy like salad toppings at a buffet, let's just go full steam ahead on the one thing that could meet all of the world's energy needs right now: Nuclear power. The lead author, Barry Brook, is a nuclear power advocate and makes a compelling case centered around three major arguments.

The Laws of Physics

First, though many countries pay...

1. Governments love to pretend to accept science if it means more revenue for government employees, and nothing has been more prone to confirmation bias than that "sin" taxes are for the public good. Yes, they can correlate higher costs to lower uptake but that is simply government fiat handicapping the free market - there is not much evidence that sin taxes lead to better outcomes

Smoking is down, but it did not go down more because New York City dramatically increased taxes on cigarettes. Instead, in NYC the black market took over, then cops were told to enforce penalties on sales of "loose" cigarettes because revenue from cigarette taxes dropped, and a guy died on the street because he was selling them, to national outrage. Smoking went down because we...

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit just delivered another blow to a rather epic play by pharmaceutical giant Allergan to game the patent system. Though Reuters calls the failed attempt by the drug manufacturer a “novel strategy,” it is not unusual for companies, in general, to use legal maneuvers and slow-walk generic ingredient discovery to prolong the exclusive rights to selling a patented brand drug beyond its expiration date. Extending the life of the patent precludes other manufacturers from making the lower-cost generic form of a branded drug, thereby diminishing the patent holder’s revenue. In the case of...