Public Health

A diet of junk food not only makes rats fat, but also reduces their appetite for novel foods, a preference that normally drives them to seek a balanced diet, according to a study in Frontiers in Psychology which helps to explain how excessive consumption of junk food can change behavior, weaken self-control and lead to overeating and obesity.


In the culture war on cigarette smoking that lingered long after the science and health issues were settled, nothing spoke to the fuzzy, non-evidence-based nature of arguments than claims that second-hand smoke would give someone lung cancer.

Cigarette smoking is annoying and smelly, to be sure, and asthmatics can't be happy in a smoke-filled room any more than non-smokers are, but there are no instances where second-hand smoke has caused cancer. The American Heart Association recently went to war on electronic-cigarettes, a nicotine vapor device, after embracing nicotine patches and lozenges, and some of the claims they made in their policy recommendation defied belief, like that second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes could be just as harmful.


Why do so many people in Ontario have inflammatory bowel disease? One in every 200 Ontarians has been diagnosed with IBD, an increase by 64 percent between 1999 and 2008, according to a study by researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

That puts Ontario in the 90th percentile for IBD prevalence in the world.

The study in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases is the first and largest Canadian study of IBD – including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis ─ to demonstrate trends in incidence over time, and the first to review the rate of IBD in different age groups.


It has been almost 400 years since the publication of Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus ("On The Motion Of The Heart And Blood In Animals") by the British physician William Harvey, which accurately described the circulation of the blood around the body, and we are still discovering the secrets of the circulatory system and its contents. 

This is especially relevant when leveraging the circulatory system’s contents for clinical applications, such as prenatal testing.

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You know, medicine is not an exact science, but we are learning all the time. Why, just fifty years ago, they thought a disease like your daughter's was caused by demonic possession or witchcraft. But nowadays we know that Isabelle is suffering from an imbalance of bodily humors, perhaps caused by a toad or a small dwarf living in her stomach. - Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber (Saturday Night Live)
While we do not share our bodies with small dwarfs, toads, or (literal) demons, we are not alone.

Long before wheat and sugar, a popular craze against salt swept America. The salt in this case was the popular flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG), common in Chinese food, soups and meats.  Glutamic acid is also naturally present in our bodies.

It was used as an additive starting in 1908, it gives food  its savory umami flavor, but once it got public attention, anecdotes began to pour in about lots of non-specific symptoms that must be caused by it, despite the fact that hundreds of millions of Chinese people did not report headaches. 


Cancer screening is one of the controversial aspects of health care; America has long had a 'defensive medicine' problem, where in some cases doctors and hospitals run many unnecessary tests to check off the boxes so that if something does go wrong, lawyers won't be shedding tears in court about how the greedy or incompetent medical community ruins lives.

Then in other cases doctors may be running tests with little value because the effect on patients is psychological or it won't be meaningful, such as in cancer screening for the elderly

Then there is the issue where it's good business. 

Chest pain, breathing difficulties, fainting. Each year approximately 25 percent of patients admitted to medical departments with symptoms of serious illness are sent home again without receiving a diagnosis of the severe symptoms that led to their hospitalization, find Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital scholars. 

And that is in Denmark, where health care is free for citizens.


According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 16 million people have used ecstasy at some point in their life, and during the 2012 year, 869,000 people used ecstasy for the first time, far higher than the number of new LSD and PCP users combined.