Public Health

Diagnoses of allergies in humans and animals have risen as understanding and awareness have become more common. An allergic reaction may cause unpleasant symptoms like hay fever, food intolerance or skin rashes.

In more severe cases, allergic reactions may also cause acute and life-threatening symptoms, such as asthma or anaphylactic shock.  On the other extreme, modern awareness of allergies has led some to claim them where none exist. Studies have shown that 75 percent of people who claim a gluten sensitivity, for example, have no noticeable adverse reaction to gluten, but they think they do.

I am a postdoctoral fellow who is currently working on pain/drug abuse research. 

E-cigarettes are a potential smoking cessation aid and they may also be able to lower the risk of nicotine dependency in high-risk groups. A systematic literature search for data on e-cigarettes' mechanism of action, their emissions, how they are seen by groups of potential users, their efficacy in smoking cessation, and their addiction potential finds that more studies will have to be done to know for sure. 

Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California say that though fructose is naturally found in numerous fruits and other products, it is not only harmful, the public is being lied to about it on labels.

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has long been a target for food activists. Though we live in a world where over 90% of added sugar is sucrose (table sugar), some believe HFCS in soda is causing American obesity. But it can only be American obesity, since much of the world does not use it in soda. 

In 15 seconds, name as many drugs as you can. What did you come up with? Does the list include heroin, marijuana, and meth? Maybe you also thought of cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, alcohol, or the wide variety of prescription drugs.

Obesity often is associated with increased health related complications and death but some studies have found an 'obesity paradox' - people who are obese but otherwise healthy. Concern has been that may cause some to question striving for a normal weight.

Christian Dehlendorff, M.S., Ph.D., of the Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues sought to determine whether the obesity paradox in stroke was real or an artificial finding because of selection bias in studies. To overcome selection bias, authors only studied deaths caused by the index stroke using a Danish register of stroke and a registry of deaths.

Waterpipes - hookahs - create hazardous concentrations of indoor air pollution and poses increased risk from diminished air quality for both employees and patrons of waterpipe bars, according to a new paper from Johns Hopkins, which did an analysis of air quality in seven Baltimore waterpipe bars and found that airborne particulate matter and carbon monoxide exceeded concentrations common in public places that allowed cigarette smoking. Air nicotine was markedly higher than in smoke-free establishments. 

Not horrified by PETA's graphic images of food processing or titillated by their penchant for exploiting naked women enough to stop eating meat?

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have opened a new front in their culture war; they have declared that increased Autism Spectrum Diagnoses are due to milk.

2.1 billion people, nearly 30% of the world's population, are overweight, according to a new analysis of data from 188 countries. 

In 1980, the world was still worried about doomsday prophets and a population bomb that would lead to mass starvation, wars over food, and a world government to mandate abortion; instead, agricultural science has grown so much more food that many poor people can afford to eat like royalty and get fat.

Cheap, plentiful food is a win for the world but now we have a major public health epidemic in both the developed and the developing world. 

Professor Simon Capewell, professor at the University of Liverpoolthinks there should be health warning labels on sugary drinks. He seeks the political climate of California, which is effectively a one-party state so if a current bill to put warning labels on sugary drinks makes it out of committee, it will mean vending machines would have to carry warning labels. Capewell thinks that can happen in the UK as well.

He likens sugar to toxic chemicals and cigarettes – warning labels for those are "now agreed by almost everyone", he says, leaving out that studies showed those things cause direct harm while juice and soda in moderation do not. Capewell says UK public support for warnings is high, suggesting that labeling is feasible.