Month: September 2016

Infectious Diseases and Cancer

With apologies to my colleagues, but infectious diseases really is the most interesting specialty in medicine. There are innumerable interesting associations and interactions of infectious diseases in medicine, history, art, science, and, well, life, the universe and everything. ID is so 42. A recent email led me to wander the numerous interactions between infections and cancer. There are the cancers that are...

/ September 30, 2016
Ad from the 1930s, when cosmetics regulation was last addressed by Congress.

Personal Care Products Safety Act: Facelift for FDA Regulation or Lipstick on a Pig?

The U.S. cosmetics industry, the largest in the world, is expected to reach $62 billion in revenues in 2016. Yet, despite the fact that its products are regularly applied to, and absorbed by, the body’s largest organ (the skin) and even ingested in small amounts, the cosmetics industry is largely self-regulating. There are over 57,000 different chemicals used in cosmetics. According to...

/ September 29, 2016
UV Blood Irradiation

Ultraviolet Blood Treatment Revisited

If there is one thing this election cycle has demonstrated it’s that, when ideology or emotions are involved, people can be entirely immune to facts. The narrative takes control, reinforced by motivated reasoning and confirmation bias. Even worse, people tend to think they are actually informed, and are confident in their opinions, even when they are grossly misinformed. Regular contributors here frequently...

/ September 28, 2016
1024px-Chiropractic_Activator_device

Studying Chiropractic with Imaging: Another Dead Salmon?

Researchers in Japan have done a study evaluating the effects of chiropractic treatment using MRI and PET scans. It was published in the 2009 report of the Cyclotron and Radioisotope Center (CYRIC) of Tokohu University. Their rationale for doing the study Ray Hyman‘s categorical imperative is “Do not try to explain something until you are sure there is something to be explained.”...

/ September 27, 2016
The stem cell hard sell returns.

The stem cell hard sell, Stemedica edition

Stemedica Cell Technologies, a San Diego company that markets stem cell treatments for all manner of ailments, likes to represent itself as very much science-based. There are very good reasons to question that characterization, based on the histories of the people who run the company, as well as the company's behavior.

/ September 26, 2016

American Academy of Pediatrics Calls for End to Pediatric Codeine Use…Again

The safe and effective management of subjective symptoms in the pediatric population, in particular pain, has always been difficult. Young patients, even premature infants at the limit of viability, experience pain, a fact that sadly was not widely accepted until the late last century. But even with full recognition of pain as a potential concern in all pediatric patients, undertreatment of pain remains...

/ September 23, 2016
vitamins and supplements

Fixing the supplement market for consumers

When it comes to regulating and selling dietary supplements, should consumer interests be higher priority than those of manufacturers? While regulations are seemingly created to protect consumers, governments around the world have consistently given manufacturers the upper hand, prioritizing a company’s desire to sell a product over a consumer’s right to a marketplace with safe, effective products. Nowhere is this more the...

/ September 22, 2016

FTC Sues Predatory Journal

Because I have a university e-mail address I frequently get spam from journals I have never heard of soliciting submissions, and even offering editorial positions. I have generally ignored them, and it’s probably a good thing. Over the last decade we have seen the rise of open-access science journals. The idea is a good one – journals charge a moderate fee to...

/ September 21, 2016

Parkinson’s Disease: A Detective Story

I didn’t intend to review Jon Palfreman’s book Brain Storms: The Race to Unlock the Mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease, but after reading it I decided it was too good not to share. Palfreman is an award-winning science journalist who has Parkinson’s himself. He has done a bang-up job of describing Parkinson’s disease, its impact on patients, and how science is working to...

/ September 20, 2016
Exercise

Diet and exercise versus cancer: A science-based view

Yes, diet and exercise can be useful to prevent some cancers. Unfortunately, they don't prevent all cancers, and the effect size is more modest than often represented. That's not to say that eating right and exercise aren't good. They are, for so many other reasons than cancer. Just don't view them as a panacea for preventing cancer.

/ September 19, 2016