background preloader

Elder College

Facebook Twitter

The Story of Pasteurization and How It Changed the World. In the mid-19th century, French scientist Louis Pasteur made a discovery that has reverberated through the ages. Perhaps working at the behest of Emperor Napoleon to figure out why wine and beer sometimes soured during fermentation, he found out that this was due to unwanted microorganisms, or “germs,” converting the alcohol into acetic acid. This produced the sour or vinegary taste that we associate with “bad” beer and wine. So, never wanting to leave anyone with a bad drink, he performed a series of tests, including the gradual heating and rapid cooling of the liquids until the offending germs were neutralized.

This process eventually was named after its inventor, pasteurization. Today nearly every liquid sold in stores are pasteurized to prevent the growth of bacteria and the potential for illness due to these unwanted microorganisms. Sicknesses resulting from tainted food have a long history of being an equal opportunity killer. Expand for References. Foreign aid doctors want Canada to stop sending homeopaths to Honduras. MTHFR gene and vaccines – what are the facts and myths.

We call them zombie vaccine tropes, beliefs of the anti-vaccine world that keep reinventing themselves and come back alive, despite being dismembered by skeptics and scientists all of the world. One of the most annoying zombie tropes has been the MTHFR gene and vaccines – the trope states that it’s dangerous to vaccinate a child with the MTHFR gene mutation, which really isn’t supported by scientific evidence.

I never know what causes trope to start, and why it returns from the dead, but MTHFR gene and vaccines seem to be one of them. Let’s take a look at the MTHFR gene, and why there might be an issue with vaccines. What is this MTHFR gene? Time for a little science – more like a lot of science. As you can see in the chart above, the MTHFR gene has a central role in several complicated biochemical pathways. Accumulation of the methionine precursor, homocysteine, which can lead to several types of injury including DNA and vascular damage.

One last thing. Absolutely not. For example, Mr. Cleveland Clinic genetic experts call out functional medicine on worthless genetic testing and supplement prescribing. The MTHFR come-on. Years ago, the late syndicated Chicago Sun-Times columnist Sydney Harris had a regular column he called “Things I Learned En Route to Looking up Other Things.” He filled it with bits and bobs of interesting information he’d come across while doing research for his reporting, such as this, from “Don’t get grabbed by the Japanese spider crab:” the Japanese spider crab is the world’s largest crustacean, measuring up to 26 feet between the tips of its legs, with claws that may be 10 feet apart when in an offensive posture. Earlier this week, I experienced a similar serendipity, although the subject was not crustaceans. I was researching genetic testing and its misuse in prescribing dietary supplements, a topic I previously addressed in a 2015 post titled “Dubious MTHFR genetic mutation testing,” and will soon write about again.

(Stay tuned.) (Skeptical Raptor also did a post on MTHFR quackery in 2015, which has since been updated.) As she explained: Who said this? Dr. Pseudoscience invades Social Work. A recent article in the Journal of Evidence-Informed Social Work documents over 400 websites of social workers, most engaged in some form of mental health counseling, using questionable practices, from “Access Consciousness” to “Zero Balancing Practitioner.”

Given the pervasiveness of pseudoscience in healthcare, discussed countless times here on Science-Based Medicine, this should surprise no one. After all, if the venerable Cleveland Clinic can offer reiki, functional medicine, and Chinese herbs to its patients without sanction, what’s to keep Licensed Clinical Social Workers from practicing Angelic Channeling, Plant Spirit Medicine, and Theta Healing? This survey of websites does not purport to be systematic or to estimate the prevalence of these practices among social workers. Nor do the authors mean to indict the entire profession, recognizing “that there are social workers who conduct critically important work every day.” So, what did they find? And: Another fantastic benefit: So, Psmag.

Americans with low levels of science knowledge are more likely to mistrust food additives and genetically modified foods, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. This is one of a few major takeaways from the report, which surveys Americans' attitudes toward the risks certain foods pose. The researchers estimate that about half the country feels that food additives pose a serious risk to health over time (51 percent) and a similar number feels that genetically modified food is worse for health (49 percent).

Unsurprisingly, people's food ideologies—their feelings about what foods are good and bad and what food can do to or for a person—inform their feelings about genetically modified food and food additives, as well as their thoughts on diet and health. Across the board, however, women are slightly more likely to mistrust additives and genetic modification in food. White House admits Trump climate policies will cost Americans $500 billion a year. The 1,000-page climate report released by the White House Friday quantifies the staggering cost of President Trump’s climate science denial. The congressionally-mandated National Climate Assessment (NCA) by hundreds of the country’s top scientists warns that a do-nothing climate policy will end up costing Americans more than a half-trillion dollars per year in increased sickness and death, coastal property damages, loss of worker productivity, and other damages.

Building on a 600-page analysis of climate science from 2017, the NCA details just how dangerous Trump administration’s policy of climate inaction is to Americans. The White House oversaw the report’s review and clearance process — and tried to bury the findings by releasing it at 2 p.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving. But the reality of climate change cannot be buried. The choices we make today won’t just determine the degree of harm we do to our children and grandchildren, but to the next 50 generations and beyond. 1542203925_514487. The Socialist Party (PSOE) government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has put forward a plan to fight the rise of pseudo-therapies such as homeopathy, which promise to have a positive health impact but have no scientific evidence to support their claims. The proposal, unprecedented in the European Union, aims to eliminate so-called alternative therapies from health centers and universities.

The plan comes two months after 400 Spanish scientists signed an open letter calling for action against pseudo-science “Public and private establishments that include pseudo-therapies will not be able to call themselves health centers,” explained Health Minister Maria Luisa Carcedo, who presented the plan together with Science Minister Pedro Duque. “Their presence in these spaces gives the idea that they have a therapeutic use. The government considers that, besides not working, pseudo-therapies “negatively affect health by perpetuating illnesses, causing others or even increasing the risk of death.”

Organic fungicide copper sulfate poses dangers to humans, animals, insects—how does it compare to conventional pesticides? Skip to content The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our Annual Report. Organic fungicide copper sulfate poses dangers to humans, animals, insects—how does it compare to conventional pesticides? Andrew Porterfield | Genetic Literacy Project | November 16, 2018 Organic farming uses pesticides just as conventional farming does. The only difference is that (with a few exceptions) the pesticides used in organic agriculture have to be derived from “natural” sources. One such example is copper sulfate, which is used in temperate climes as a fungicide.

How does this ‘natural’ pesticide compare in toxicity to synthetic or other natural chemicals commonly used by conventional farmers? Many anti-GMO activists have pointed to pesticides used in conventional agriculture, such as the herbicides glyphosate and the highly toxic organic 2,4-D, as dangerous to people, animals and the environment. Consider Copper sulfate. Related article: Are bees in peril from neonicotinoids? Replaying the tape of life: Is it possible? Evolutionary biologists explore the role of history in evolution -- ScienceDaily. How predictable is evolution? The answer has long been debated by biologists grappling with the extent to which history affects the repeatability of evolution. A review published in the Nov. 9 issue of Science explores the complexity of evolution's predictability in extraordinary detail.

In it, researchers at Kenyon College, Michigan State University and Washington University in St. Louis closely examine evidence from a number of empirical studies of evolutionary repeatability and contingency in an effort to fully interrogate ideas about contingency's role in evolution. The question of evolution's predictability was notably raised by the late paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, who advocated the view that evolution is contingent and unrepeatable in his 1989 book Wonderful Life.

"Replay the tape a million times ... and I doubt that anything like Homo sapiens would ever evolve again," Gould mused, noting that being able to "replay the tape" and give history a do-over would be impossible. Sciencemag. The data include 64 newly sequenced ancient DNA samples from Alaska to Patagonia, spanning more than 10,000 years of genetic history. "The numbers [of samples] are just extraordinary," says Ben Potter, an archaeologist at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

Prior to these studies, only six genomes older than 6000 years from the Americas had been sequenced. As a result, says Jennifer Raff, an anthropological geneticist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, "The [genetic] models that we've been using to explain the peopling of the Americas have always been oversimplified. " Eske Willerslev, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Copenhagen who led the Science team, worked closely with the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe in Nevada to gain access to some of the new samples. The tribe had been fighting to repatriate 10,700-year-old remains found in Nevada's Spirit Cave and had resisted destructive genetic testing.

It did. Nearly Half of Americans Think Alternative Medicine Can Cure Cancer. It Can't. Many Americans hold the misguided view that alternative therapies alone can cure cancer, even though such methods are not proven to be effective in treating cancer, according to a new survey. The survey, known as the National Cancer Opinion Survey, was released today (Oct. 30) by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), a leading group of cancer doctors. The survey found that nearly 40 percent of Americans said they believed that cancer could be cured solely through alternative therapies, such as oxygen therapy, or use of certain diets, vitamins and minerals. However, experts stress that these therapies are not recommended as a sole treatment for cancer, as there is little evidence to support their benefit, and they may in fact be harmful if used to replace standard therapies.

"There's no question that evidence-based cancer therapy is necessary to effectively treat the disease," Dr. Richard Schilsky, chief medical officer for ASCO, said in a statement. Climate Maps for Forests | Climate Atlas of Canada. What's Really Warming the World? Climate deniers blame natural factors; NASA data proves otherwise. Climate scientists tend not to report climate results in whole temperatures. Instead, they talk about how the annual temperature departs from an average, or baseline. They call these departures "anomalies. " They do this because temperature anomalies are more consistent in an area than absolute temperatures are.

For example, the absolute temperature atop the Empire State Building may be different by several degrees than the absolute temperature at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. But the differences from their own averages are likely to be about the same. The simulation results are aligned to the observations using the 1880-1910 average. Ants, acorns and climate change: Biologists study swift evolutionary changes in city vs. country ants -- and what it might mean for other species as climate warms -- ScienceDaily. The relatively swift adaptability of tiny, acorn-dwelling ants to warmer environments could help scientists predict how other species might evolve in the crucible of global climate change.

That's a big-picture conclusion from research into the some of the world's smallest creatures, according to evolutionary biologists at Case Western Reserve University. More specifically, the scientists are comparing the adaptability of a certain species of ant raised in the "heat-island" microclimate of three U.S. cities to those in nearby cooler rural areas. "What we're finding is the potential for ants -- and other animals, perhaps -- to evolve in response to anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change," said lead researcher Sarah Diamond, who first began peering into acorns to study the ants in 2015.

The research so far has shown that the ants adapt to a hotter world in only about 20 generations, or about 100 years. Different cities, mixed results. Pointy eggs more likely to stay put in birds' cliffside nests, study finds -- ScienceDaily. Natural selection -- that merciless weeder-outer of biological designs that are out of step with the times -- also is a wily shaper of traits. Exhibit A is the pointy murre egg, according to new research published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Common murres and thick-billed murres tend to nest in tightly packed colonies on craggy seaside cliffs. The ledges on which they lay their eggs can be quite narrow, sometimes "as shallow as the egg is long," the authors of the new study wrote. "Very little is known about how the murre egg shape affects its stability and viability in this setting," said University of Illinois animal biology professor Mark Hauber, who conducted the study with former Hunter College graduate student Ian Hays.

To put the theory to the test, Hauber and Hays turned to a 3D printer that can manufacture fake eggs in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sciencemag. ATLANTA—In the molecular dance that gave birth to life on Earth, RNA appears to be a central player. But the origins of the molecule, which can store genetic information as DNA does and speed chemical reactions as proteins do, remain a mystery. Now, a team of researchers has shown for the first time that a set of simple starting materials, which were likely present on early Earth, can produce all four of RNA’s chemical building blocks.

Those building blocks—cytosine, uracil, adenine, and guanine—have previously been re-created in the lab from other starting materials. In 2009, chemists led by John Sutherland at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom devised a set of five compounds likely present on early Earth that could give rise to cytosine and uracil, collectively known as pyrimidines.

Now, Carell says he may have the answer. “It looks pretty good to me,” says Steven Benner, a chemist with the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Alachua, Florida. Consent Form. World's Most Powerful Wind Turbine: One Rotation 'Can Power the Average UK Home for a Day' Consent Form. 'A large grain of salt': Why journalists should avoid reporting on most food studies. Monsanto Is Going Organic in a Quest for the Perfect Veggie. In GOOP Health: Wellness Panem style. FanForce | Just One Drop – Caprice Duncan Cinema, BC, Canada. Popsci. Himalayan pink salt expiration. Why this vaxed v. unvaxed study is not valid | vaccinesworkblog. I’m a skeptic, and I love the flat-Earth movement. Bias. $30 Psychic Vampire Repellent and 6 other absurd products sold on Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP | Moneyish - Features, essays, videos and news about money. 5 fraudulent psychics that sceptics debunked brilliantly.

Trolling the antivaccine trolls. Wobbly Earth Means Your Horoscope Is Wrong. Kenya approves field trials for disease-resistant GMO bananas | Genetic Literacy Project. Correcting Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s vaccine 'facts' Nine 9/11 Conspiracy Theories (Arguments) – Debunked (Ft. Secular TeeJay) Bad Science Debunked | Debunking dangerous junk science found on the Internet. Non-scientist friendly! The Quack Doctor/Blogger Quiz. Vaccination 101: Here's Why You Should Vaccinate. Chiropractors are bullshit. The sickening business of wellness. The unbearable wrongness of Gwyneth Paltrow. Growing cancer drugs in chicken eggs could lower costs by 90% Torturing mice, data, and figures in the name of antivaccine pseudoscience. Cancer preventing vaccine safe for women – no excuses for HPV vaccine.

Conspiracy Thinking and Epistemology. Scientists aren’t stupid, and science deniers are arrogant | The Logic of Science. Judge in vaccine case faces threats, calls for 'painful death' Arctic golden delicious: Non-browning genetically engineered apples debut in Midwest grocery stores. The Rules of Logic Part 3: Logical Fallacies | The Logic of Science. You’ve probably been tricked by fake news and don’t know it. Chronic Lyme Disease. Glyphosate: WHO cancer agency edited out "non-carcinogenic" findings. Nobelists To Greenpeace: Drop Your Anti-Science Anti-GMO Campaign. Estimating Seasonal Influenza-Associated Deaths in the United States | Seasonal Influenza (Flu) GMOAnswers - Your Questions on Health and Safety of GM Food and Crops. Immediate Improvement in Balance & Muscle Function | NeuroReset Inc. Non-browning genetically engineered ‘Arctic apples’ now on sale--without GMO label.

Chiropractic and Spinal Manipulation Red Flags: A Comprehensive Review. Fooling Investors (CS07) Top Articles of 2017 - Chosen By You! | Office for Science and Society. OSS home page | Office for Science and Society. Why People Oppose GMOs Even Though Science Says They Are Safe. Visualizations & Data - Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. More Than Scientists - The people behind the science.

The Science and Politics of Global Warming. Vaccine Ingredients. Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena. Doubtful News. The Big Pharma Conspiracy. The Simple Proof of Man-Made Global Warming. Empirical evidence that humans are causing global warming. An Astronomy Professor Brilliantly Explains Climate Change In 14 Tweets. NASA: Climate Change and Global Warming. List of Worldwide Scientific Organizations - Office of Planning and Research.

The Monkey Business Illusion. Colour Changing Card Trick.