Public Health

You might think that after the November elections, the last group anyone will listen to for guidance on the American public are partisan pundits. But they are still lobbying for an alternative result, now saying that if President Trump wants to honor his commitment to repealing the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) while allowing more coverage, better benefits, and lower costs, the only choice is a Single Payer system; socialized medicine.

They list now-famous pretend money, the same optimistic estimates that led to the Obamacare system being financially viable, savings of $504 billion annually on health care bureaucracy and profits.

It’s not hard these days to find stories in the popular media about the presence of various chemical contaminants in our environment.  Included in this genre are stories about trace levels of chemicals in common consumer products, in the air we breathe, and in the water we drink.  Almost inevitably the stories suggest that even minor exposures are harming our health. 

 shutterstock.comSitting has been branded the “new smoking” for its supposed public health risks, especially for people with sit-down office jobs.

Over the past 15 years or so sitting has been linked with cancer, heart disease and diabetes and even

Women who received a health scare in the form of a false positive result from a screening mammogram were more likely to delay or even forgo the next mammogram than women who had a correct negative result.

A false positive result from a screening mammogram often leads to emotional, physical, and economic stress, though false positives are an expected part of proper medical care. For this study, the authors obtained data for women who received mammography screening through a large health care organization with multiple facilities in the greater metropolitan Chicago area. Among the 741,150 screening mammograms from 261,767 women included in the analysis were 12.3 percent that yielded a false positive result; the remaining 87.7 percent yielded true negative results.
If you sip a beer when you are a teenager, are you going to become a raging alcoholic? You are according to the logic of anti-smoking activists who won the war on cigarettes and need a one place to use their army - and their funding.

Cigarette smoking has plummeted, which is what we have all wanted, and part of the reason for that is smoking cessation tools, like gums, patches, smokeless tobacco and things like e-cigarettes. Those are also used for harm reduction; smoking is as uncool as can be these days, so from a health point of view every cigarette not smoked is a win. They work because nicotine is addictive, like caffeine and alcohol, so providing that stimulus without the toxins is good.
Between 2012 and 2015, the number of chemical burns to the eye associated with laundry detergent pods increased more than 30-fold among preschool-aged children in the US, according to a new analysis, but don't fall prey to the scaremongering that will be done by CNN and PBS.

Detergent pods are dissolvable pouches containing enough laundry detergent for a single use - they lead to less waste because  the amount used is precise. That's good for the environment. But harried parents are being given one more thing to be terrified about, and academics are blaming "candy-like appearance."
A new analysis has found that if you are on Medicare, it's better to get a female internist than a male. Female internists have lower rates of 30-day mortality and hospital readmission than those patients treated by men.

Obviously it could be a variety of other factors - modern medicine, and its government control, has created a "teach to the protocol environment", and women are more likely to adhere to guidelines -but the authors postulate that female physicians more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines and provide preventive care more often, meaning that even if their careers are interrupted by child-bearing they should be paid more than men.

On November 29, an op-ed article, co-signed by 94 scientists, and entitled “Let’s Stop the Manipulation of Science” was published in Le Monde.  It makes numerous allegations, most prominent among them that industry is “manufacturing doubt” about the science on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).  But as anyone who has followed the issue of endocrine disruptors knows, it is highly controversial and polarized with serious questions

In the United States, legalization of marijuana is happening at a record pace, thanks to governments hoping for new tax streams and public health claims giving it a free pass that literally no other product has ever gotten. However, a few experts and some users agree that package warnings stating the health risks are needed, yet what marijuana smokers think is needed is different from what the medical community believes should be required. 

Given the craze, it is no surprise journal publishers are scrambling to push out new places to lend marijuana a veneer of scientific authenticity. One new one, Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research