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Happy 50th (!#&***&)day, Population Bomb!

Mar 29 2018 - 11:03

It's been 50 years since Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich published his anti-population growth screed, The Population Bomb. Although he scared some folks and annoyed more, most of the deadly consequences he foresaw just didn't happen.

Categories: ACSH

Essential Oils - Not What The Name Implies

Mar 29 2018 - 08:03

Since essential oils, such as lavender and tea tree oils have been all over the news for causing moobs, and I found that most of my own colleagues at ACSH (1) didn't really know what the term "essential oil" meant I figured that it might be a good time for a chemist (aka dork) to step in and explain it. Don't feel bad if you're confused. Part of the problem is that English itself can be confusing. For example, try explaining to someone who is trying to learn English the pronunciation of these two states:

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Society And Climate Change: History's Lessons

Mar 29 2018 - 04:03

The history of societies and climatic change have much to teach about fragility and resilience. Will we look to our past to envision our future?

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Medieval Woman's Remains Show She Gave ‘Birth’ In Coffin After Death, Had Brain Surgery

Mar 28 2018 - 21:03

Through modern science, the grim discovery of a Medieval woman's remains is able to tell the tale of a "coffin birth" and ancient brain surgery.

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No, the Rubber Ducky Won't Kill Your Children

Mar 28 2018 - 20:03

The authors had a clear strategy in mind: (1) Do a study on a common household object; (2) Produce boring data that doesn't surprise any microbiologist; (3) Write a provocative, fearmongering headline; (4) Market it to a gullible, clickbait-hungry press (like the New York Times), who would repeat their claims without any criticism or critical thinking; and (5) Watch the media interview requests and grant dollars come rolling in.

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Nestlé Aims To Put Less Sugar And Candy Bars In The Same Sentence

Mar 28 2018 - 16:03

Nestle has launched a new candy bar with 30 percent less sugar than its current counterparts. The move is the latest in a pressured industry to cut down on consumers' sugar intake. 

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Drug Wars - Companies Fight Patents In Court With A Fortune At Stake

Mar 28 2018 - 11:03

Dan Berger, Ph.D. is a former colleague of mine from Wyeth. When Wyeth went away so did we, albeit in different directions. Dan became a patent agent - a very specialized field in which a very high-stakes game is played - invalidation of drug company patents by other companies, usually generic manufacturers. This makes him uniquely qualified to explain the nuances in patents that can result in billions of dollars going to one company rather than another.

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Cholera in Canada, Eh?

Mar 28 2018 - 09:03

Four people have cholera in British Columbia - something that has never happened before in that area - creating quite a mystery as to how this could have happened.

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'Attn:' Video Spreads Lies About Processed Food in America, Europe

Mar 28 2018 - 01:03

A viral video by "Attn:" is spreading lies about food processing in the United States and Europe. Don't fall for it.

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Easter Candy A Meta-Analysis

Mar 27 2018 - 20:03

It is Easter, and all of our thoughts turn to candy as we spend roughly $28 a person or about 2.1 billion dollars. In keeping with our mandate to promote science and health, I thought I would share the typical numbers found in the lay press in a more ‘scientific’ format.


While we “know” with our minds that candy is not necessarily nutritious, we use our wallets to purchase candy for Easter. We undertook a meta-analysis of various online sources to quantify this behavior.


Categories: ACSH

Losing Sleep Makes it Harder to Lose Fat

Mar 27 2018 - 07:03

Of course, everyone knows that cutting back on calories is a key component to losing weight. But do you know what else plays an important role in the ability to slim down?


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Hippie Porridge: How Organic Foodies Killed the Magical Quinoa

Mar 26 2018 - 20:03

As every educated foodie knows, one of the world's best superfoods is quinoa. The only problem is that there's no such thing as a superfood, and there's nothing particularly unique about quinoa.

"Superfoods" are supposedly extremely healthy foods, and everyone from Dr. Oz to "Crazy Joe" Mercola has written articles about which ones you should be eating. That's a gigantic red flag. If snake oil salesmen are trying to make money by telling you which vegetables are especially magical, then the odds are that they are pushing hype rather than science.

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Top 5 Lessons I Learned As A Grant Reviewer for Komen

Mar 26 2018 - 17:03

I had the distinct pleasure of being a reviewer for the 2018-2019 Community Grants program for Komen this Fall. This is what I learned.

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How to Avoid Getting Sick on your Next Flight

Mar 26 2018 - 12:03

Just how easy is it to get sick on a plane? One research team from Emory University decided to look at that question, and what the factors are that could make the difference between walking off of the flight infected or not. Their findings are surprising, with a big factor being your assigned seat.

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New Technology For Food Borne Illness Has Pros And Cons

Mar 26 2018 - 12:03

Newer tests can substantially speed up the determination of the causative pathogens in outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. However, because they don't provide all the detail of older culturing methods, they could make it more difficult for clear epidemiological results. A combination of methods is likely the best way to go.

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The Uber Crash, Failing To Learn From History

Mar 26 2018 - 08:03

Reporting on the Uber fatality in Arizona continues to mislead us about our autonomous future. Aircraft's history of automation shows us the likely path forward. Why are we not listening?

Categories: ACSH


Mar 26 2018 - 08:03

It is impossible to disprove a negative, which also means that it is impossible to prove that something is safe. The best you can do is perform the best possible studies using the best possible protocols. Then you compile and publish the results and hope that sanity will prevail. You'd think that the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), one of the premier medical journals in the world, would come down on the side of sanity.

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The Press Gets It Wrong - The Iowa Family In Mexico Died From A NON-TOXIC Gas

Mar 25 2018 - 16:03

Recently I wrote about the state of Oklahoma's decision to switch from lethal injection to nitrogen asphyxiation. Although death penalty opponents (1) objected on grounds that this method was untested and could be a cruel method of execution, I noted that asphyxiation itself may not be cruel depending on the gas that was chosen.

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Are We Really At A Point Where A Child Walking To School Requires Legislation?

Mar 24 2018 - 16:03

Apparently, we are at a point where encouraging children to be independent requires legislation - a new Utah law modifies the definition of child neglect. Considered a win for free-range parenting, what does it mean that such an action was taken in the first place?

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