Science & Society

Imagine if Big Ag industry lobbyists created a special section inside the US Department of Agriculture, where they got to define what artificial additives would go into their products and who could check their food for accuracy in labeling, all while claiming a special "health halo" for their products. Most people would object.

The $100 Big Organic industry doesn't object, though. 
Dr. Chuck Benbrook is an economist who may be an adjunct at Washington State University but calls himself a research professor and tells the public he is an expert in biology. Why so many organic food proponents believe a guy about something as complex as genetic modification when he can't even get his own title correct is a mystery we can't solve today but we know his credibility sure won't be bolstered up by an op-ed he just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  
Though it is the common metric, hospice use is not really an indicator of quality of end-of-life care.

Instead, when researchers in the U.S. studied variations in patterns of hospice use between states, they found troubling trends.  Shi-Yi Wang, MD, PhD, Yale University School of Public Health and coauthors discuss the variations in the timing and duration of hospice enrollment and their implications in an article published in Journal of Palliative Medicine (doi:full/10.1089/jpm.2014.0425). They performed a retrospective analysis of Medicare patients who used hospice services during the last 6 months of their lives.
Recently we were treated to a repeat of a three part series,
A decade ago, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) cared little about science. They were run by a staffer from the Democratic party who was put in the place to mobilize soft-money donations from friendly foundations and political committees. Republicans were in power - times were good for them.

Academic scientists barely noticed their partisan skew because Republicans Were Anti-Science. They accepted evolution by 9 percentage points less than Democrats, President Bush funded human embryonic stem cell research for the first time in the NIH but limited it to existing lines as a compromise, so UCS claimed he banned it. And there was that global warming thing.
As reporter Keith Kloor noted in his recent Nature story on the targeting of biotech professors and science advocates,U.S. Right to Know has issued yet a new Freedom of Information Act demand to Washington State University for the email records of Associate Professor of Nutrition Michelle McGuire. The FOIA has resulted in 12,000 documents (not pages) needing to now be reviewed by university lawyers and McGuire.

Pregnancy Close-upFemale fertility begins to decline at an accelerated rate after the age of 35—however, more and more women are delaying having children for several reasons, including pursuing careers, having not found the right partner, and simply not being ready to have children. The age of first birth for women in developed countries is now near 28 and the birth rate in the USA is at an all time low.

Male doctors have nearly a 250 percent greater chance of having medico-legal action taken against them than their female counterparts.

The latest dubious tactic of global soft-drink giant Coca-Cola has now been revealed for what it is - a move by an industry with a threatened financial future to confuse science, policy and the public, in order to buy time, and protect profits.

US Right to Know of Oakland, California, is using Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to suppress and harass scientists and imply they have unethical links to the agricultural biotechnology industry - in short, the group insists scientists are being bought off.

What was wrong when opposition groups did it to climate scientists, according to supporters of anti-science agendas like Union of Concerned Scientists and Natural Resources Defense Council, is suddenly just fine when it is being used against every other evidence-based position, but especially when it comes to helping their wealthy donors in the $100 billion Big Organic industry.