Joe Schwarcz’s new book Quack Quack is an informative and entertaining look at quackery and pseudoscience past and present. A delightful read. Dr. Joe Schwarcz, the Director of McGill University’s Office of Science and Society, has written many books (seventeen by my count) mostly explaining the chemistry of everyday life.… read more "Quack Quack"
Motivation to Exercise in Mice
A new study in mice shows a connection between gut microbiome and willingness to exercise. Could this discovery lead to improved motivation to exercise in humans? Possibly, but we don’t yet know if humans share the same pathway. A study from the University of Pennsylvania, published in Nature on December 14, 2022 reported… read more "Motivation to Exercise in Mice"
Antioxidants: The Hype and the Reality
Everyone is talking about antioxidants, but misconceptions abound. For example, I just received an email that described antioxidants as “the ability to soak up toxins in the body.” One dictionary definition of an antioxidant is (1) “a substance that inhibits oxidation, especially one used to counteract the deterioration of stored… read more "Antioxidants: The Hype and the Reality"
An Explanation for Gulf War Illness
When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, a coalition of 39 countries responded. 382 US troops died. Those who survived deployments to the 1990-91 Gulf War theater of operations and returned to the U.S. were “safe” from combat but were not “safe and sound.” 37% of them were suffering from a… read more "An Explanation for Gulf War Illness"
Until a few years ago, few people had even heard of gluten. Now going on a gluten-free diet has become a popular fad. People who have been diagnosed with celiac disease must avoid gluten to prevent symptoms; but others are avoiding gluten for questionable reasons, or for no reason at… read more "Understanding Gluten"
I Don’t Know What’s in It.
A woman who was interviewed on the news explained why she refuses to accept a vaccine for COVID-19: “I don’t know what’s in it.” At first glance, that sounds like a very reasonable stance. Surely it is foolish to ingest or inject something when you don’t know what you’re getting.… read more "I Don’t Know What’s in It."
Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements?
Recent research found that supplemental vitamin D doesn’t prevent fractures or have any effect on the diseases it has been claimed to help, and blood tests for vitamin D are useless. Half of all postmenopausal women will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. Hip fractures are common in the… read more "Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements?"
Treating Nightmares with a Smart Watch
Preliminary evidence suggests a watch may help people with severe nightmares. Of course, more research is needed. Nightmare Disorder is a diagnosis defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as: …repeated awakenings with recollection of terrifying dreams, usually involving threats to survival, safety or physical integrity According… read more "Treating Nightmares with a Smart Watch"
Is Meat Poison? Is Fat the Antidote?
Is a diet comprised solely of meat good for you? I think you know the answer. I have been watching the National Geographic series of documentaries Life Below Zero, which features individuals who live (often alone) in harsh conditions in the Alaskan wilderness. They are self-sufficient, providing their own water, heat,… read more "Is Meat Poison? Is Fat the Antidote?"
Balm of Gilead
Balm of Gilead was mentioned in the Bible, but we don’t know what was in it. It is supposed to relieve pain, but we don’t know if it is effective; there are no controlled studies. I have been watching the National Geographic series Life Below Zero which profiles people who live off… read more "Balm of Gilead"