The Verge: Gut feelings - the future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach.
“Probiotics’ potential to treat human behavior is increasingly apparent, but will manufacturers one day toss an anxiety-fighting blend into their probiotic brews? It’s a distinct possibility …” Science should map the gut biome before manufacturers start pushing out ‘beneficial’ blends.
SF New Mexican: Patients hit with fees amid health care consolidation.
Representatives of several of the state agencies that were contacted said consumers would be best served by asking whether out-of-pocket hospital-based service charges apply under their insurance plans before setting an appointment at a specialty clinic. Caveat emptor, never moreso than with health care.
MetaFilter: Tamiflu, Roche and the Cochrane Collaboration.
Having worked many drug rollouts as an A/V tech, I can tell you this sort of thing is true for just about every drug out there.
NPR: Measles At A Rock Concert Goes Viral In A Bad Way.
“The reason we’re doing this is that it’s so highly contagious. [snip] It can stay in the air for hours after the contagious person has left. If we don’t treat these people, the chain of transmission can continue.”
UCL.UK: UCL study finds new evidence linking fruit and veg consumption with lower mortality.
BrandeisNOW: Don’t beat yourself up, you’ll live longer.
“The research illustrates how easy it is for stress to build over time and how a seemingly small daily stressor, such as traffic, can impact a person’s health if they don’t have the right strategies to deal with it.” Find your chill pill and take it regularly.
ShortFormBlog: This drug cures most cases of hepatitis C, but there’s a problem.
Slate: Electroconvulsive therapy for autism.
[Puts me in mind of the old ‘cures’ for stuttering. Scalding the tongue with a hot iron. Trimming the sides of the tongue. Searing the lips. Putting spiked objects in the mouth to prevent the tongue from ‘resting’. And other whacked-out concepts that work for a day, a week, then stop. When I came of age, I appreciated Francis Bacon’s cure all the more: copious amounts of warm wine laved on the back of the tongue. That works every time!]
BBC: Ketamine ‘exciting’ depression therapy.
Only 28 people in the study. Eight showed results (about a third). I wouldn’t get too excited. And I wouldn’t have put it in the news yet, really, if I were the BBC.
FrancisWade: Agent Orange 40 Years On - Heartbreaking Photos inside Vietnam Orphanages.
“I think there’s a lack of understanding about how damaging the effects of Agent Orange continue to be. Remember that the spraying of the dioxin stopped more than 40 years ago, so you’d think it was confined to history, but that’s not the case at all—thousands of children are being born each year with severe deformities that are likely linked to ongoing Agent Orange contamination of the soil and water.”
NHS: No proof Earl Grey can fight heart disease.
“… this study tested a pure extract rather than tea containing the extract, the effects of which may be different. For instance it is unclear how much Earl Grey you would need to be exposed to a comparable level of HGMF; it may take gallons of the stuff.” I’ve seen more than one outfit touting this study as a reason to drop statins and start chugging Earl Grey. Beware such studies, do your research first - and be aware that bergamot can have a similar drug interaction effect as grapefruit (contraindicated for several drugs).
DiscoverMag: Study proves cat bacon just as tasty as pig bacon.
“The high cost of swine production has caused producers of processed meat products to seek alternative sources of bulk meat. The objective of this study was to compare the nutritional values and taste acceptance of processed cured bacon produced from readily-available feline sources to that of traditional porcine bacon.” Some are going to hate me for posting that. [It is a joke, people.]
ProPublica: In Fracking Fight, a Worry About How Best to Measure Health Threats.
Of note. UK, pay attention.
BBC News: Altitude sickness ‘two illnesses’ says Edinburgh University study.
“For more than two decades we have thought of altitude sickness as a single disease. We have now shown that it is at least two separate syndromes that happen to occur in the same people at a similar time.”
Observer.UK: Black death was not spread by rat fleas, say researchers.
“According to scientists working at Public Health England in Porton Down, for any plague to spread at such a pace it must have got into the lungs of victims who were malnourished and then been spread by coughs and sneezes. It was therefore a pneumonic plague rather than a bubonic plague.”
Discover: Damaged Mitochondria May Be to Blame for Gulf War Syndrome.
Finally, a diagnosis?
SciAm: Misleading Mouse Studies Waste Medical Resources.
“But work to discover how relevant animal models are to human disease — such as Perrin’s studies on TDP43 mice — is expensive and unrewarding for researchers and their teams.” Sounds like a perfect job for Nate Silver + co.
Wired.UK: Homeopathic remedies recalled for containing real medicine.
“Terra-Medica creates a range of homeopathic capsules, suppositories and ointments under clinical-sounding brand names including Pleo-Fort, Pleo-Quent and Pleo-EX. The FDA has found that 56 lots of the drugs may contain penicillin or derivatives of penicillin, which may have been produced during fermentation.”
Discover Magazine: What’s In Your Gut?
“I signed up online, paid $99 and received a kit in the mail with a small tube and two swabs to take my choice of a stool, skin or saliva sample. I logged my diet for a week, entered the data on the project’s website and then mailed off my stool sample. Eight months later, I got my results: A single page of candy-colored graphs compared my guts with those of the average participant. Like all participants’ results, my data, minus identifying information, will be added to an open-source database as part of the Earth Microbiome Project ”
NPR/Interview: Lance Dodes, Author Of ‘The Sober Truth’.
“There is a large body of evidence now looking at AA success rate, and the success rate of AA is between 5 and 10 percent. Most people don’t seem to know that because it’s not widely publicized. There are some studies that have claimed to show scientifically that AA is useful. These studies are riddled with scientific errors and they say no more than what we knew to begin with, which is that AA has probably the worst success rate in all of medicine.” I suspect most people believe it’s a guaranteed success, unless the participant drops out of the program. I’ll have to recalibrate my own perceptions of AA.
KurzweilAI: How to explode brain-cancer cells.
NY Times: Fukushima’s Shameful Cleanup.
“It is long past time that the government take direct control of the disaster site.” What’ve I been saying for a year or so?
SciAm: New Mexico Cancels Permit to Expand Leaky Nuclear Waste Site.
“New Mexico on Friday withdrew a temporary permit allowing two new disposal vaults at a U.S. government nuclear waste dump grappling with a release of radiation in February, state regulators said.” Remember, the Feds really wanted to widen the scope of WIPP to detritus with higher radioactive levels. Now they find they can’t even handle the low-grade stuff properly.
Observer.UK: Scientists to classify gut bacteria to prevent the side-effects of radiotherapy.
“There is 1.4kg of bacteria in the average human gut. That is roughly the same weight as the human brain. Indeed, you can think of your microbiome as an extra organ inside your body and its behaviour can have distinct consequences.”
ooomf Blog: Tips and other good things.
Perhaps my usual “Italian F1 driver” working posture ain’t so bad after all ...