Beware of Possible Cuisine-Drug Interactions

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Taking drugs, whether legal or illegal, creates problems. One of them is that drugs can interact with each other, often in bad ways. Frustratingly, some drugs are known to interact even with the various foods we like to eat. From the viewpoint of food-drug interactions, the most problematic food may be the humble grapefruit, which is known to interact with about 85 drugs, ranging from antidepressants and statins to clot-busters and Viagra. Continue reading

What the Gases You Emit Say About You

This article was originally published on RealClearScience.

You emit gas. The most obvious and offensive comes from your posterior, but that’s not the only gas you emit. Your body is constantly oozing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) — small molecules that easily enter a gaseous state due to their high vapor pressure — in breath, sweat, urine, feces, and even saliva. VOCs are responsible, for instance, for the similar aromas that emanate from dairy farms and men’s restrooms. Continue reading

Literature Review Links Coffee & Bladder Cancer

This article was originally published on RealClearScience.

The most interesting man in the world has nothing on coffee, which is the most interesting beverage in the world. Coffee continues to be the subject of countless studies, some more serious than others. Thanks both to science and intrepid entrepreneurs, for instance, we have learned the chemistry of perfect coffee, thebest time of day to partake, and why drip coffee is likelier to spill than a latte. You may think that coffee and pooping have nothing in common, but you would be wrong. Again, thanks to science, we know why it is worthwhile to pluck beans out of elephant dung, why coffee makes you poop, and why coffee should go in your mouth, not your butt. If all of that isn’t enough, you can now take coffee classes at some universities. Continue reading

Anti-Vax Parents Face Jail in Europe, Africa

This article was originally posted at RealClearScience.

In late January, I wrote a controversial op-ed for USA Today on how jail should be an option for parents who endanger their children and society at large by refusing vaccines. I received plenty of hate mail for that — mostly in the form of four-letter words, Nazi comparisons, and vague death threats. However, before you turn your keyboard into an instrument of revenge, I would like to further elaborate on what I feel is a very, very important issue — perhaps the most important issue we have ever discussed at RealClearScience. Continue reading

Tilapia: A Fish that Will Heal Your Wounds

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience. [NOTE: THE RESEARCH PAPER UPON WHICH THIS ARTICLE WAS BASED WAS RETRACTED ON AUGUST 27, 2015]

The other use for tilapia.

Tilapia is best served with a side of French fries and cabbage, but scientists from Shanghai believe they have discovered an even better use: Collagen extracted from tilapia can be applied as a wound dressing that helps accelerate healing. Continue reading

Transplants: First Facial, Now Anorectal

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

“Defecation is a major activity of daily living.” Thus begins a new paper in the journal Scientific Reports, and truer words have rarely been written.

Most humans who are physically unable to drop a deuce, perhaps from cancer or an anatomical anomaly, must undergo a colostomy. In this medical procedure, the large intestine is diverted via a surgically created opening (called a stoma) to an external bag that collects feces, which must be emptied regularly. Many people who wear such devices suffer from psychological problems and a lower quality of life. An alternative — any alternative — is preferable. Continue reading

New Test Could Eliminate Allergy Skin Pricks

This article was originally published on RealClearScience.

When I was a kid, I remember going to the allergist’s office and having him stick me in the back with several dozen tiny needles, each filled with a common allergen such as cat hair. After a few minutes, my back became itchy, and patterns of bright red bumps emerged like this, indicating an allergic reaction. My doctor, along with my parents, stood over my back, pointing at all the pretty colors. He informed us that I was mildly allergic to dogs and terribly allergic to cats, but not at all allergic to goats. (We ended up getting a dog, anyway, and I spent the next several years getting allergy shots, too.) Continue reading

Avoid Night Owls on Your Morning Commute

This article was originally posted at RealClearScience.

There are certain types of drivers that we should always strive to avoid. The speeders, the chronic lane changers, the texters, and the elderly — who spend most of their time driving 40 mph in the fast lane with their left turn signal flashing — are easy enough to identify. But, there’s another group of drivers that also poses a threat, but is much harder to recognize: Night owls on the morning commute. Continue reading