Public Health

India's sterilization program focuses on women. EPA/STR

By Sabu S Padmadas, University of Southampton

If you like coffee, here is a delightful taste of confirmation bias. If you usually make fun of epidemiology, put your skepticism back in the pot, because coffee reduces diabetes.

As many as 380 million people worldwide have diabetes, with an economic estimate of up to $548 billion, making it one of the most significant global health problems in terms of pretend money no one earned. 
The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) has brewed up its annual diabetes report outlining the latest research on coffee and type 2 diabetes and its delicious news. 

The research round up report concludes that regular, moderate consumption of coffee may decrease an individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Key research findings include:

Trans fats are bad, they damage metabolic health in kids, according to experts and policy makers. So they were banned. Happy Meals too. And drinks with sugar.

It's fashionable in nutritional circles to demonize sodas but they also embrace a lot of unsubstantiated food fads. How much real prospective fact-finding has gone into their beliefs?
Not much, it is instead epidemiology putting two curves next to each other and declaring causation. 

Opioid-involved overdoses in the United States have dramatically increased in the last 15 years, largely due to a rise in prescription opioid (PO) use. Emerging evidence suggests the increase is linked to unintentiona lPO misuse that easily turns into addiction. 

Individuals who regularly use opioid analgesic medications do not often recognize that they are using a medication that can be a gateway to heroin use. 

 Another American election season has come and gone.  In San Francisco, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the House, campaigned only modestly, even in a year when voters turned on Democrats nationwide she was sure to get 80 percent of the vote, and once again she talked about abortion, saying that if Democrats were not in charge, they would be banned.

It is hard to imagine that 1 person out of 435 would cause a 40-year-old abortion law to be overturned but the implication has always been that the federal government must control it because of the dangers of 'back alley abortions' that were unsafe.

It is just about impossible to find any written entity that is essentially 100% incorrect. Yet, Vani Hari, formerly known "The Food Babe," (and henceforth as "The Food Boob") manages to come pretty damn close. It was a Herculean effort, and should be acknowledged as such.

Measles is one of the most contagious of vaccine-preventable diseases, with the average person with measles capable of infecting 12-18 people if susceptible, and the contagiousness of measles infection highlights gaps in vaccination in the United States that have appeared over the last decade, because of skepticism about childhood vaccination in coastal states like California and Oregon and Washington. In those states, otherwise educated people worry that vaccines may cause autism and would prefer that other children provide herd immunity for theirs.

It's great to insist that people should just accept science and medicine but it isn't really practical. The nature of coastal California is that they don't trust vaccines the way religious people in the American south do, Asians are going to believe in acupucture, and the French will think they can be allergic to Bt genetically modified plants but not Bt organic pesticide spray.

Historically, culture has been considered an impediment to health rather than a central determining feature of it. However, a new paper in

Regular meditation along with a mindful lifestyle path can help individuals control and recover from many mental health disorders. Meditation is a practice of training the mind to induce another state of consciousness or bring attention to a particular point.