Public Health

Homeopathy, a belief from 200 years ago that if you took something that mimicked the symptoms of a disease you could prevent a disease, or that extremely diluted water with a molecule of something will be curative, has never been shown to work in any clinical trial.

Nonetheless, some people swear by it, much as people believe other placebos. What to do if your doctor recommends it? In the United States, a doctor is ethically forbidden from prescribing a placebo outside a clinical trial, but it is known some do. And lots of folk medicine/alternative medicine/integrative medicine people will claim it works if you believe it works. 

A few weeks ago the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) released the results of the largest study ever conducted on bisphenol A (BPA).  The CLARITY Core study was conducted by senior scientists with the U.S.

Vegetarians are not winning in the public consciousness but they are certainly winning in media and academia. The reason is simple: claiming something is harmful is a great call to action whereas telling people they are healthier in the modern world than ever before won't raise money at all.

The controversial group International Agency for Research on Cancer, which has been shown to have been hijacked by activists who didn't declare conflicts of interest, declared red and processed meat carcinogens on the same level as mustard gas, plutonium and cigarette smoking, and since California is required by law to automatically put IARC ingredients on its Proposition 65, there has been a rush to chase grants reaffirming why they are right. 
At a press conference Saturday, a team of scholars presented data that sent an icy chill through the hearts of activists against science and medicine, like Pete Myers of Environmental Health News and Fred vom Saal, who sell natural alternatives to modern products which they claim are all "endocrine disruptors."

They showed that regular exposure to lavender or tea tree oil was linked to abnormal breast growth in young boys - prepubertal gynecomastia - because the common plant-derived oils act as endocrine-disrupting chemicals.  

A few weeks ago, I came across a press release issued by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), a European-based  non-governmen

In the haze of smoke and mirrors about nutrition, it's easy to think that you will lose weight if you eliminate some scary chemicals (Endocrine Disruptors!™) or scary foods (Sugar! Dairy! Meat! High Fructose Corn Syrup! Grain! Gluten!) but the reality is much simpler: You just need fewer calories.

No, really. In 100 percent of studies, people who consumed fewer calories than they burned lost weight. Harvard Food Frequency Questionnaires, with their numerous outcomes and numerous foods, are guaranteed to come up with a food that will cause disease with a .05 p-value. That is how statistics work. It is probably why they chose so many foods for the first one and did even more later.
Between 2003 and 2014, consumption of sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages declined and yet obesity has continued to rise. Yet governments seeking new sources of revenue are looking for reasons to place sin taxes on soda are saying it's for public health.

When even Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says it's not so clear, you can bet it's not clear. They are usually on the front lines of scaremongering some food types and promoting new food fads. However, not all groups showed a decline. Kids still like soda, as do black and Hispanic groups, which lends weight to concern by free-market groups that soda taxes are inherently racist.
Too much caffeine is bad for you. It's very risk to buy powdered caffeine for that reason. But it's addictive and people do it. Likewise, too much nicotine is bad for you and you can't shouldn't buy undiluted optically pure nicotine and start inhaling it. 

But young people will do risky things. Some may smoke marijuana or cigarettes, some may get addicted to alcohol or drugs. Young people who take up vaping rather than opioids today are a lot better off than a generation ago.

My wife and I annually host Thanksgiving dinner for extended family and friends.  It’s a big affair and since we live in a fairly remote, albeit stunningly beautiful, part of northern Michigan, and our guests have to travel hundreds of miles to get here, the event stretches over multiple days.  One of my responsibilities is to ensure we have sufficient quantity and diversity of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to appeal to all of our guests who span four generations and have varied tastes.