Fentanyl 101- Let's Clean Up The Terminology

ACSH - Jul 02 2018 - 10:07

There is a fair amount of confusion about the terms "pharmaceutical fentanyl," "illicit fentanyl," and "fentanyl analogs." Read this and the confusion should go away. It is important to avoid inaccuracies here. Words can make a big difference. 

Categories: ACSH

Fad Diets Are Bad Diets

ACSH - Jul 02 2018 - 07:07

Who doesn't love the idea of quick and easy weight loss? Imagine being able to eat nothing but ice cream, and still losing 10 pounds. It sounds a little too good to be true, and that's because it is. Weight loss is a $66 billion dollar industry, and one of the most advertised, according to U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market.

Categories: ACSH

Lead Paint: Eliminate the Threat or Reduce the Risk?

ACSH - Jul 02 2018 - 07:07

Forty solid years after the Consumer Product Safety Commission implemented regulations for getting rid of lead-based paint, the US is still on the lead-based paint merry-go-round. This week, I attended a Congressional hearing entitled “Oversight of the Federal Government’s Approach to Lead-Based Paint and Mold Remediation in Public and Subsidized Housing”, which hoped to figure out how the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can finally be rid of the pesky threat of lead-based paint in federal housing.

Categories: ACSH

Vaping And Harm Reduction: Don't Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good

ACSH - Jul 02 2018 - 06:07

We all know that cigarettes increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, and early death, among other things. While the tobacco smoke of cigarettes contains thousands of chemicals, many of which are known carcinogens, nicotine itself, though highly addictive, is not a carcinogen. Tobacco harm reduction—the policies, programs, and practices that reduce the damage caused by smoking—must consist of viable alternative options to traditional cigarettes.

Categories: ACSH

Coffee, Mendel and Mortality

ACSH - Jul 02 2018 - 06:07

In the ongoing battle over the benefits or risk of drinking coffee, a study reported in JAMA Internal Medicine has enlisted a new variable into the fray, genetics. The study makes use of genotype data on 500,000 Brits contained in the UK Biobank.

Categories: ACSH

By Not Seeing The Same Doctor, You May Be Risking Your Life

ACSH - Jun 29 2018 - 14:06

If health care fixes continue to undermine the doctor-patient relationship, financial costs won't be the only price paid.

Categories: ACSH

An Identity Crisis for Bob the Tomato

ACSH - Jun 29 2018 - 11:06

Round. Red. Good in salads and great on a BLT. Tomatoes are a typical find in the kitchens of families in the United States, so popular we are the world’s third largest producer of them.

Though some people like to engage in the “tuh-MAY-toh” versus “tuh-MAH-toh” debate, the more popular question when it comes to tomatoes has to do with their classification. Are the circular plants vegetables or fruits?

We're going to answer that once and for all. Maybe. Because science, history, and law create a lot of confusion.

Categories: ACSH

The Problem With P-Values

ACSH - Jun 29 2018 - 10:06

In science and health, we are often looking for results that are considered to be “statistically significant.” The golden rule is if the p-value is less than 0.05, then the result is statistically significant, or “publishable.” However, the interpretation and use of p-values is often misconstrued.

What is a p-value?

Categories: ACSH

CMS Wants To Drop "Hospital Compare's" Safety Measurements - Does It Matter ?

ACSH - Jun 28 2018 - 20:06

Here is the headline, Trump administration rule could stop public reporting of hospital infections despite death toll, taken from the online version of USA today. The article goes on to report that CMS is proposing to remove six measures of “patient safety” from its ratings of hospitals. Those measures are all hospital-acquired conditions so that they do reflect in part how hospitals perform and they include:


Categories: ACSH

Phages May Be The Answer to the Antibiotic Apocalypse

ACSH - Jun 28 2018 - 13:06

A recent study presented at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting in Boston may have raised hopes about a new way to combat the Antibiotic Apocalypse. As bacteria become more resistant to our current medications, there is a real risk that soon we not be able to treat infections.

Categories: ACSH

Herpes From Double Dipping - An Outbreak Of Terrible Science

ACSH - Jun 28 2018 - 12:06

Can you catch herpes from double dippers? Unlikely, but it's hard to tell because what passes for science in reporting this story clearly flunks science. 

Categories: ACSH

“GMO” Is a Meaningless, Misleading Term

ACSH - Jun 28 2018 - 09:06

Many people believe that a so-called “genetically modified organism” (GMO) is a term that has some significance for interpreting the safety of food. Most life scientists -- geneticists, biologists, ecologists, and agronomists -- are pretty sure that the opposite is true.

First, we should distinguish between two points:

(1) A theoretical keystone of agri-food biotechnologies and the related safety issues; and

(2) socioeconomic considerations.

In both cases, “GMO” appears to be a detrimental meme and a misleading compass.

Categories: ACSH

If Our Science Tribe Was A D&D Game

ACSH - Jun 28 2018 - 07:06

I've never been much for the word "tribe." It sounds too insular in 2018, the kind of term (see also "zeitgeist", "heteronormative", and "schadenfreude") thrown around by barely literate postmodernists with their heads in the clouds believing what they tell each other as the real world passes by.

That's not to say it isn't an accurate description of science media.

Categories: ACSH

Revisiting the Impact of Breast Density On Diagnosing Breast Cancer

ACSH - Jun 27 2018 - 20:06

Breast cancer is more difficult to detect in women whose breasts are dense. It is unclear whether there is also underlying behavioral differences in their cancers. Should we treat them as a separate population?

Categories: ACSH

Is Refusal To Treat Vaccine-Hesitant Families The Sanders-Red Hen of Medical Practice?

ACSH - Jun 27 2018 - 15:06

If the goal is guaranteeing the safety of children and the general population being protected from infectious disease, then why is shaming playing any role in vaccine compliance?

Categories: ACSH

Assessing Marine Life, 8 Yrs. After Massive Gulf-of-Mexico Oil Spill

ACSH - Jun 27 2018 - 13:06

A seven-year study of all Gulf coastal regions maps where fish and other aquatic life live, and in what amounts. This was done in order to give marine biologists a better understanding of the ecological damage that occurred following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, and to help them better prepare for future spills. 

Categories: ACSH

The Madness Continues - FDA Opioids Advisory Panels Must Be Stoned

ACSH - Jun 27 2018 - 12:06

Two FDA expert panels rejected a new extended-release oxycodone pill. Some of their findings are reasonable, even if you don't agree with them. But one reason is very far beyond stupid. Especially since they refused to learn from history. 

Categories: ACSH

Could Herpes Cause Alzheimer's? Maybe

ACSH - Jun 27 2018 - 09:06

A group at Mount Sinai Medical School has made a rather startling discovery. People who died from Alzheimer's Disease (AD) had brains that contained more of two herpes viruses than controls. Could we have been looking in the wrong direction for therapies for AD? A potentially huge discovery. 

Categories: ACSH

For Care After Hospitalization, It is Location, Location, Location

ACSH - Jun 26 2018 - 20:06

Because Medicare Advantage programs are paid in part, by the value their care-partners provide, they choose their partners carefully. And when incentives are aligned, patient outcomes seem to improve. 

Categories: ACSH

ACSH Explains: What's The Story On Methylene Chloride (DCM)?

ACSH - Jun 26 2018 - 12:06

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and was signed into law June 22, 2016. It created a mandatory requirement for EPA to evaluate existing chemicals with clear and enforceable deadlines, to do so in a transparent fashion, and to do so using risk-based chemical assessments rather than rely on simple epidemiological correlations. 

Categories: ACSH