Category: Public Health

Pepsi Removing Aspartame

Pepsi has announced that it will remove aspartame from its formulation of diet Pepsi products in the US this year. Apparently this is a reaction to a 5% drop in the sales of Pepsi. Seth Kaufman, vice-president of Pepsi, said “Aspartame is the number one reason consumers are dropping diet soda.” This move comes in the same week that Chipotle announced it...

/ April 29, 2015

Lyme: Two Worlds Compared and Contrasted

The practice of infectious disease (ID) is both easy and difficult. If you read my ID blog on Medscape you are aware of my trials and tribulations in diagnosing and treating infections. ID is easy since, at least in theory, diseases have patterns and an infecting organism has a predictable epidemiology and life cycle. So if you can recognize the pattern and...

/ March 20, 2015
"Dr. Bob" Sears

What do we do about politicians and physicians who promote antivaccine misinformation?

There are politicians and physicians out there promoting antivaccine misinformation. None of us expect politicians to be scientists or physicians, but we do expect them to listen to them. Worse are physicians who betray their profession to promote antivaccine pseudoscience. What can be done about these very public figures who endanger public health?

/ February 9, 2015

Screening for disease in people without symptoms: The reality

One of the most contentious questions that come up in science-based medicine that we discuss on this blog is the issue of screening asymptomatic individuals for disease. The most common conditions screened for that we, at least, have discussed on this blog are cancers (e.g., mammography for breast cancer, prostate-specific antigen screening for prostate cancer, ultrasound screening for thyroid cancer), but screening...

/ February 2, 2015

Hot-Zone Schools and Children at Risk: Shedding light on outbreak-prone schools

The subject of parental vaccine refusal and the impact that has on disease outbreaks has been covered many times on SBM and elsewhere. I apologize to our readers who are growing tired of the subject, but there is perhaps no subject more deserving of focus and repetition. There’s also an important angle to the discussion that I’ve written on previously and which...

/ January 30, 2015
makayla-620

An aboriginal girl dies of leukemia: Parental “rights” versus the right of a child to medical care

One topic that keeps recurring and obligating me to write about it consists of critically analyzing stories of children with cancer whose parents, either on their own or at the behest of their child, stop or refuse chemotherapy or other treatment. It is, sadly, a topic that I’ve been discussing for nearly a decade now, starting first on my not-so-super-secret other blog...

/ January 26, 2015
cigarette_in_white_ashtray

Smoking Cessation and the Affordable Care Act

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death. Each year it kills more than 5 million people around the world, 480,000 in the US alone. And for every person who dies, about 30 more have serious illnesses caused by smoking. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Anyone who is concerned about preventive medicine must consider smoking cessation a priority....

/ January 13, 2015
Disneyland

Say it ain’t so, Mickey! A holiday measles outbreak makes the happiest place in the world sad

A measles outbreak at the Magic Kingdom? And it's due to unvaccinated children? Say it ain't so, Mickey!

/ January 12, 2015
3D model of the molecular structure of glyphosate.

Glyphosate – The New Bogeyman

There is an ideological subculture that is motivated to blame all the perceived ills of the world on environmental factors and corporate/government malfeasance. Often this serves a deeper ideological drive, which can be anti-vaccine, extreme environmentalism, or anti-GMO. The latest environmental bogeyman making the rounds is glyphosate, which is being blamed for (you guessed it) autism. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in...

/ December 31, 2014
3D model of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), an insecticide

Pesticides: Just How Bad Are They?

I think everyone would agree that it would not be a good idea to put pesticides in a saltshaker and add them to our food at the table. But there is little agreement when it comes to their use in agriculture. How much gets into our food? What are the effects on our health? On the environment? Is there a safer alternative?...

/ December 9, 2014