With the backing of the government, farmers are producing more calories â€” some 500 more per person per day since the 1970s â€” but too many are unhealthy calories. Given that, it’s no surprise we’re so fat; it simply costs too much to be thin.
Evidence-based Medicine sounds like a good thing, until you realize that sometimes collecting the data required causes more problems than it solves. These guys took this argument to an extreme:
Conclusions As with many interventions intended to prevent ill health, the effectiveness of parachutes has not been subjected to rigorous evaluation by using randomised controlled trials. Advocates of evidence based medicine have criticised the adoption of interventions evaluated by using only observational data. We think that everyone might benefit if the most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine organised and participated in a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, crossover trial of the parachute.
I’m sure they’ll get lots of volunteers for the study… :-)
â€¦itâ€™s too early for men to blame their inability to commit on a single gene, although Lucas guesses itâ€™s an excuse thatâ€™s â€œcertainly going to be used.â€
(via Diane Duane)
Now all of the women I know can pee standing up like a man …
What will they think of next?
(In all seriousness, I can see a use for this; many public washrooms are truly disgusting places that I wouldn’t want to park my buttocks in…)
I finally tracked down an article I read months ago, on the difference between average and best in healthcare (specifically in Cystic Fibrosis clinics, since they collect enough data to measure the difference).
It’s a fascinating read.
Since I mentioned it last week, I should also mention documentation for child restraint use. The news page references a recent paper proving that child booster seats are 59% safer than seatbelts alone…
I guess as a parent the bottom line is: for $80, why take chances?
So it may not be as cut and dried as everyone thinks; car seats (over age 2) may not actually make any difference. Good luck finding a politician who is against car seat and booster seat legislation, though; that would be political suicide. Proving once again that government often doesn’t work in our best interests? (There have been other examples of dumb gov’t safety laws recently, based on zero real deaths or injuries; I’ll see if I can dig some of them out of my memory).
Perhaps the single most compelling statistic about car seats in the NHTSA manual was this one: ‘‘They are 54 percent effective in reducing deaths for children ages 1 to 4 in passenger cars.’‘
But 54 percent effective compared with what? The answer, it turns out, is this: Compared with a child’s riding completely unrestrained. There is another mode of restraint, meanwhile, that doesn’t cost $200 or require a four-day course to master: seat belts.
Even a quick look at the FARS data reveals a striking result: among children 2 and older, the death rate is no lower for those traveling in any kind of car seat than for those wearing seat belts. There are many reasons, of course, that this raw data might be misleading. Perhaps kids in car seats are, on average, in worse wrecks. Or maybe their parents drive smaller cars, which might provide less protection.
But no matter what you control for in the FARS data, the results don’t change. In recent crashes and old ones, in big vehicles and small, in one-car crashes and multiple-vehicle crashes, there is no evidence that car seats do a better job than seat belts in saving the lives of children older than 2. (In certain kinds of crashes — rear-enders, for instance — car seats actually perform worse.) The real answer to why child auto fatalities have been falling seems to be that more and more children are restrained in some way. Many of them happen to be restrained in car seats, since that is what the government mandates, but if the government instead mandated proper seat-belt use for children, they would likely do just as well / without the layers of expense, regulation and anxiety associated with car seats.
Followup material can be found at Freakonomics
Apparently, American Pizza Boxes are Teflon coated
The car turning left in front of me this morning had the license plate:
Good thing I was stopped…
It began when I started driving to work; I lost 20-40 minutes per day of walking (not to mention an hour per day of reading :-).
It accelerated when my mother died; for a while there, I just didn’t care.
The result: I’ve mangaged to regain 35 of the 50 pounds I lost in 2002/2003. It’s time to get rid of them. I think I’ll get through the holidays first (although I’m going to try for some restraint), and then get serious come January.
I land firmly on the “sex education good” side of the fence, so I like seeing study results like these :
Teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage have the same rates of sexually transmitted diseases as those who don’t pledge abstinence, according to a study that examined the sex lives of 12,000 adolescents.
Those who make a public pledge to abstain until marriage delay sex, have fewer sex partners and get married earlier, according to the data, gathered from adolescents ages 12 to 18 who were questioned again six years later. But the two groups’ STD rates were statistically similar.
And the kicker:
The problem, the study found, is that those virginity “pledgers” are much less likely to use condoms.
I’ll have to go dig up the other study I found that showed that self-described “abstainers” were, in fact, having lots of sexual contact (with multiple partners); they sidestepped their “vow” by redefining “sex” as “full penetration”. Well surprise, surprise; you can get STDs other ways :-)
From a nutritional standpoint, you should think of soy in two categories: soy that is non-fermented, and soy that is fermented. The troubles I’ve documented on this site are associated with using primarily processed, non-fermented soy foods such as soy milk, flour, nuts, baby formula and the many soy products that have been flooding the market recently.
However, studies have shown traditionally fermented soy—which is the form that is wildly popular in many Asian cultures—aids in preventing and reducing a variety of diseases including certain forms of heart disease and cancers.
A cup of coffee each morning may wake you up, but a new study suggests caffeine might hinder your short-term recall of certain words.
Caffeine made it harder for people to find a word that they already knew – the “tip-of-the-tongue” phenomenon.
The low-carb fad is apparently dead, or at least dying; woo hoo!
(via Teal Sunglasses apfn)
The authors suspect that black tea improved the dilation of the men’s blood vessel, allowing better blood flow [to the heart].
The research — conducted on mice — found that a diet containing 25 percent protein disrupted the normal genetic imprinting pattern in early embryos. It also had an impact on embryos that were transferred to other uteruses.
Embryos receive copies of most genes from both parents, and imprinting causes a gene from just one parent — and not the other — to be switched on. If both gene sets are switched on, development can go haywire. Imprinting flaws are widely blamed for foetal malformations and the extremely high rate of spontaneous abortions among cloned farm animals.
Watching too much television may distort the hormonal balance of adolescents and push many of them into early puberty, say researchers. Italian researchers found children denied access to television for just one week experienced a 30% jump in their melatonin levels. The hormone is thought to prevent the early onset of puberty.
(All via Teal Sunglasses, apparently my best source of filtered health news :-)
According to government surveys, 70 percent of girls and 60 percent of boys ages 6-11 do not meet current calcium recommendations. Likewise, about 90 percent of teenage girls and adult women and 70 percent of teenage boys and adult men don’t meet daily dietary recommendations for calcium. And for those of us over age 50, less than 15 percent meet our daily dietary calcium recommendations.
One reason of this poor showing is the relatively large amount of calcium recommended for teens and adults: 1,300 milligrams per day if you’re between the ages of 9 to 18, 1,000 milligrams per day if you’re between 20 and 50 years and 1,200 milligrams per day for those over age 50.
Those stats are higher than I expected, and I have to wonder if the RDIs are a little high? I can’t see how humans could have evolved to consume these levels of calcium, as they weren’t available before the advent of agriculture. On the other hand, we’re growing much larger humans than we used to, which requires higher mineral intakes…
Frank found that the average white male living in a community lined with shops and other businesses is expected to weigh 10 pounds less than a man living in a residential-only subdivision.
“Every additional 30 minutes spent in a car each day translates into a three per cent greater chance of being obese,” he said from his home in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood, which he proclaims the most walkable in the world.
“We also found that people who live in neighbourhoods with a mix of shops and businesses within easy walking distance are seven per cent less likely to be obese, lowering their relative risk of obesity by 35 per cent.”
I’ve gained 10 pounds since I started driving to work last December… ugh.
REGULAR doses of worms really do rid people of inflammatory bowel disease.
“A lot of researchers couldn’t believe this treatment was effective, but people are always sceptical when confronted with new ideas,” Weinstock says.
Weinstock’s theory is that our immune systems have evolved to cope with the presence of such parasites, and can become overactive without them.
Research into the biology of fat is turning up some surprising new insights about how obesity kills. The weight of the evidence: It’s the toxic mischief of the flesh itself.
Experts have realized for decades that large people die young, and the explanation long seemed obvious. Carrying around all those extra pounds must put a deadly strain on the heart and other organs.
Obvious but wrong, it turns out. While the physical burden contributes to arthritis and sleep apnea, among other things, it is a minor hazard compared with the complex and insidious damage wrought by the oily, yellowish globs of fat that cover human bodies like never before.
In March, California researchers reported that San Francisco-area women have three to 10 times as much chemical flame retardant in their breast tissue as European or Japanese women.
Indiana University researchers reported at the same time that levels in Indiana and California women and infants were 20 times higher than those in Sweden and Norway, which recently banned flame retardant.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news – web sites) earlier this year released data from 2,500 volunteers tested for 116 pollutants and found such chemicals as mercury, uranium and cotinine, a chemical broken down from nicotine.
Naturally the jury’s out on the effects of this crap in our bodies. I can’t see how anyone could claim that this stuff isn’t bad for us, but they’re trying anyway…
“Everyone’s exposed to substances and there’s no evidence that the low levels people are exposed to are harming anybody,” said Steven Milloy, author of “Junk Science Judo: Self Defense Against Health Scares and Scams.” “It’s a waste of time and money that only serves to scare people.”
Milloy noted that despite all the chemicals, the overall U.S. population is living longer and healthier.
I’d like to see those statistics, since the obesity crowd is currently claiming the opposite!