Dirty Secrets: Are Laboratory Mice Too Clean?

The hygiene hypothesis may also apply to animal experiments.

THE hygiene hypothesis posits that certain diseases—notably asthma, eczema and type-1 diabetes—which are becoming more common than they once were, are caused in part by modern environments being too clean. The diseases in question result from misfunctions of the immune system. The hygiene hypothesis suggests such misfunctions are the result of children’s immune systems being unable to learn, by appropriate exposure to viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasitic worms, how to respond properly. Read the rest at The Economist.

Recommendation to Limit Md. School Wi-Fi Based on ‘Junk Science’

The Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council (CEHPAC), an agency within Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, has recommended that schools reduce or eliminate students’ exposure to Wi-Fi because it believes wireless signals might cause cancer. This is pure, unadulterated junk science. Read the rest at Baltimore Sun.

Why We Are Hoarding Our Opioid Pills

To curb the ongoing tidal wave of opioid addiction and overdose deaths, state and federal governments have put in place policies that restrict doctors’ ability to prescribe opioids such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet. Although well-meaning, these policies are unleashing several unintended — yet entirely predictable — consequences. Read the rest at Stat News.

Ignore Anti-Vaccine Hysteria, Mr. Trump

The environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a vaccine skeptic, told reporters Tuesday in the lobby of Trump Tower that the president-elect has asked him to lead a commission “to make sure we have scientific integrity in the vaccine process for efficacy and safety effects.” Mr. Kennedy also suggested that Donald Trump “has some doubts about the current vaccine policies” and that “we ought to be debating the science.” This is insane. Read the rest at The Wall Street Journal.

Junk Science Is No Way to Win a Jackpot

A jury in St. Louis awarded a woman over $70 million last month because her lawyers convinced a jury that talcum (baby) powder caused her ovarian cancer. This is the third jackpot verdict issued by a jury in that city against Johnson & Johnson. Since sharks are smelling blood in the water, surely more lawsuits will follow. Read the rest at USA Today.

Replace Annual Physicals with Real-Time Biomarker Monitoring

The annual physical exam is under fire. Increasingly, physicians believe that the yearly ritual of having our bodies poked and prodded is completely useless, save for the fraction of patients who have a chronic illness or predisposition to disease. Worse, the annual physical is estimated to cost our healthcare system approximately $8 billion for arguably little benefit. Read the rest at Scientific American.