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.

Hot Water Causes Cancer? Don’t Believe It

If nanny state critics want a fine example of regulation gone wild, they should look to the World Health Organization. The group’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has given us a reason to fire up our espresso machines by declaring that coffee does not cause cancer. But don’t celebrate too hard. The IARC also says that any very hot drink probably causes cancer, including hot water. Read the rest at USA Today.

Cachexia: Why Cancer Patients Waste Away

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

One of the most pernicious conditions that arises as a consequence of cancer is a sort of wasting syndrome. More formally known as cachexia, it causes patients to lose body mass (including both muscle and fat) and to grow weak and fatigued. Whether or not a patient develops cachexia largely depends on the type of cancer he has. Those with pancreatic cancer, for instance, have an 80% chance of suffering from it, while those with breast cancer have a 40% chance. The syndrome takes such a physical toll on the patient that it is largely to blame for a fifth of all cancer deaths. Cachexia, therefore, remains one of the most heartbreaking and puzzling aspects of cancer. Continue reading

Scratched Moles Could Lead to Cancer

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

“Keep an eye on that mole,” doctors are fond of reminding us. Any changes in size, shape, or color might indicate that skin cancer, specifically a melanoma, is forming. Now, a new review article in Trends in Immunology suggests that doctors may also want to tell us, “Don’t scratch that mole, either.” 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

From Which Cancer Will You Die?

This article was originally published on RealClearScience.

Despite our best efforts, the cumulative mortality rate remains 100%. Though biomedical scientists have not made any progress in lowering that number, they have helped change how we die. In 1900, for instance, the top three causes of death were due to infectious disease: pneumonia/influenza, tuberculosis, and gastrointestinal infection. But thanks to medical advances, today, the top three causes of death are due to lifestyle and genetics: heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease.

Many Americans pessimistically believe that we are losing the so-called “War on Cancer.” That is patently untrue. Still, about 25% of Americans will end up with “cancer” written on their death certificates. Continue reading

Vitamin C: Maybe Linus Pauling Wasn’t Entirely Crazy

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

After winning a Nobel Prize in chemistry — and yet another Nobel Prize for peace — Linus Pauling’s distinguished career took a decidedly undistinguished turn. He began promoting the idea that large doses of vitamin C could greatly reduce colds, cure cancer and improve overall health. To this day, people all over the world start popping vitamin C tablets when they get the sniffles, sadly to no effect. (One study demonstrated, however, that a daily dose of vitamin C could reduce the frequency of colds, but not the duration or severity.)

Yet, despite the general lack of credible scientific evidence to support the idea that people should take daily vitamin supplements, an entire industry has blossomed promoting just that. Unfortunately, the industry is wholeheartedly embraced by practioners of alternative medicine, pseudoscientific quacks who have enormous influence over people’s health choices. It is for these reasons that the scientific and medical communities are generally skeptical of (if not outright hostile to) new claims about the benefits of vitamin C or other supplements.  Continue reading