60 Is The New 16!

What shapes a man’s life? To begin: Mom, dad, little Jenny Harrison in the 3rd grade, adolescence...

Low T? Welcome To Their World, Brother!

Middle-aged women the world over are now...chuckling.At least I imagine they are, given the news...

User picture.
picture for Mark Changizi
Greg CritserRSS Feed of this column.

Greg Critser is a longtime science and medical journalist whose work appears in the LA Times, the Times of London and the New York Times. He is the author of California (National Geographic 2000)... Read More »

In the great debate over genetically modified organisms - GMOs - few institutional nods have been sought so keenly as that of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

A “no” from the influential organization’s food policy committee would strike a blow at Big Gene’s attempt to cow the regulatory system and institutionalize today’s GMO-oriented commodity farming.  A “yes” by the committee would speed Monsanto’s progress and stymie attempts to limit GMO foods.
Sugar is irresistible to humans, and apparently to writers.

There was no better example than this week’s vaygeshray over Mark Bittman’s column in the New York Times. Bittman, the paper’s former food columnist who rose to fame with his fast and easy recipes for modern life, got caught up in one of the biggest food battles on the planet: the sugar wars.

Is sucrose good? Bad? Toxic? Addictive? Causal of illness?
And the obesity wars drone on: it’s the sugar, it’s the fat, it’s the paucity of playgrounds, it’s the prevalence of too-thin models and TV and gaming and chips and texting. It’s the lack of parental discipline and self-restraint.

But wait: what if we accepted that “the environment”--the catch-all phrase for the above--just can’t be changed, or at least not fast enough to make a difference? And what if we just accepted that people will, by and large, continue to do as their genetic backgrounds direct them: eat as much as they can, and move as little as they must?
Excuse my use of the personal pronoun in this short article, but I am writing to get input as much as I am to simply observe a phenomenon.

I am increasingly drawn to the connection between bench science and the companies that provide them with their tools - from commercial assays, probes, and imaging chambers to engineered animals and so-called "experiment in a box" products.

As a journalist I am drawn to the subject for many reasons: it is an industry that is almost completely uncovered and one that supports, via advertisements and sponsorships, a growing number of science magazines and science venues. 

And there seem to be a growing number of 'artifactual' findings due to reliance on them.
Looking at the latest statistics, it’s hard to miss one compelling trend: The over-prescription of painkillers is slowly but surely eclipsing the problem of illegal drugs.

There are, of course, the usual culprits in this disturbing trend - from HMOs and their dependence on pills to keep patients out of doctors’ offices to our culture of quick-fixes and slick marketing by drug companies.

But the history of opioids’ medico-socio evolution also tells us the opioid has older sources as well.
If we had a prize for Most Celebrated Business Hero in America, it would have to be Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple.

The agile doge of Silicon Valley had a “death stare” you couldn’t escape.
He had a up-from-orphan back story you couldn’t resist.
And he had the vision of ten of his fellow technology executives.

That’s why--we’re told--Apple was so good at making the things we love. All things “I”, that is--from iPads and iPhones, to iPods and iTunes.

Lately, it also seems that Jobs and the company he left behind were also awfully good at all things Me.