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Palliative Hospice Care Lacking Among Dying Cancer Patients

Medical societies recommend that patients with advanced cancer receive palliative care soon after...

Voluntary Birth Control To Stop Climate Change - Or Else

In the 1970s, current Obama administration science czar Dr. John Holdren wrote a book advocating...

Arctic Ocean Methane Does Not Reach The Atmosphere

250 methane flares release the climate gas methane from the seabed and into the Arctic Ocean....

Moving Beyond Race-based Drugs

DURHAM, N.C. -- Prescribing certain medications on the basis of a patient's race has long come...

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To religious fundamentalists, atheists in science are engaged in an insidious campaign to undercut morality and replace it with God-less relativism and moral equivalence.  To militant atheists, religious people are intellectually immature, anti-science busybodies telling people how to live.

Social projection, where we believe that others agree with us, helps us validate our beliefs. Psychologists say that we tend to believe people who are similar to us in an important way, religion or lifestyle, will act as we do and even vote as we do.

And we exaggerate differences between ourselves and those who are explicitly unlike us, another form of rationalization.

A new plant species is appropriately named Spigelia genuflexa because after fruits are formed, the fruiting branches 'bend down' and deposit  the capsules with seeds on the ground and sometimes burying them in the soft cover of moss, a phenomenon called geocarpy.

Geocarpy ensures that the seeds end up as close to the mother plant as possible, facilitating its propagation the following season. A famous example of geocarpy, a rare adaptation to growing in harsh or ephemeral environments, is the well-known peanut, which is from from the legume family and buries its fruits in the ground.

Edward Calabrese, an environmental toxicologist at University of Massachusetts Amherst,  says he has evidence that oNobel Prize winner Hermann Muller knowingly lied when he claimed in 1946 that there is no safe level of radiation exposure.

We've often defended Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.  Publishing 50 years before Darwin, he can be forgiven for not having 'the greatest idea anyone ever had' and in the last few years,  geneticists have gotten on board as well and no longer dismiss out of hand his belief that acquired traits can be passed on to offspring.

Much of the pre-Darwin thinking was teleological and that is why natural selection in evolution met so much resistance.  But science quickly won and Lamarck's theory of transformation went onto the ash heap of biological history. Yet in the last decade, we have learned that the environment can leave traces in the genomes of animals and plants, in the form of epigenetic modifications.

Cancer patients quickly find themselves learning a new language and, keen to trust in science and medicine, they sometimes don't take time to fully understand their treatment options, and the risks and benefits of each choice, because they know doctors are busy. 

A commentary in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute outlines 10 things health care professionals can do to improve the way they communicate information about treatment risks to patients and that means patients can keep these in mind when talking with their doctors.