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"
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"
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."
Are you one of the 10 percent of Americans who report being allergic to penicillin? Did you know that less than 1 percent of the population are truly allergic? Did you know that 80 percent of people with true IgE-mediated penicillin allergy lose their sensitivity after ten years? Did you realize… read more "Penicillin Allergy?"
If marketers want to persuade me to take a dietary supplement, they are going about it the wrong way. A typical recent email said I could fight aging, boost immunity, and feel energized with doctor-endorsed NMN supplement Elevant. They even offered to send me free samples. Probably worth the price!… read more "Supplements: Misguided Marketing"
Along with very talented British illustrator Kevin Howell, I recently published a children’s book called There’s No Such Thing as a Tooth Fairy. (If you’re interested, it’s available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and BookBaby.com.) That book idea had been percolating in my mind on and off for several years.… read more "A Germ of an Idea"
For years, we have been told that most adults should take a baby aspirin every day to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Now we are told not to do that because it doesn’t work. What is going on? Why can’t science make up its mind? The recommendations are not… read more "Does a Baby Aspirin a Day Keep the Doctor Away?"
A new book teaches young children about critical thinking and evidence. It’s not only educational but colorful and funny. Too many adults are like Henry, the little boy in the story who rejects clear evidence and persists in what he wants to believe. Back in 2006 I wrote an article for Skeptical… read more "Announcing a New Children’s Book that Promotes Critical Thinking"
Are you having trouble losing weight? So are a lot of other people. Have you tried intermittent fasting? Should you? According to a survey by the International Food Information Council, intermittent fasting was the most popular weight loss diet in 2018. Some have called it a fad whose adverse effects have… read more "Will Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?"