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.

Let Grad Students Teach Science to Kids

It is no secret that the U.S. spends more money per K-12 pupil than most other countries, yet American students consistently rank in the middle of the pack against their peers. In the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, measured against their counterparts in 34 developed nations, U.S. students ranked 27th in mathematics and 20th in science. Read the rest at USA Today.

Patent Judges Should Be Scientists, Too

Patents are the lifeblood of biotechnology, the force that motivates companies to develop innovative medical treatments and bring them to market. The trouble is that these patents must be enforced in a court system that isn’t set up to adjudicate highly technical matters—resulting in rulings that seem arbitrary or even scientifically suspect. Read the rest at the Wall Street Journal.

Founding Editor Alex Berezow Says Farewell

RealClearScience was launched in October 2010. The RealClear family, headed by founders John McIntyre and Tom Bevan, took a gamble and hired me, a freshly minted PhD in microbiology, to take the helm of a new science journalism website. I owe the beginning of my professional career to them, and I am happy to report that I believe their gamble paid off. Continue reading