Tag Archives: science

Male Birth Control Is Here! It’s Safe, Cheap, and Lasts for a Decade

Male Birth Control Is Here! It’s Safe, Cheap, and Lasts for a Decade

100% effective? Takes minutes to administer? Long-lasting effects? Simple reversal? COME ON GUYS, SPREAD THE WORD!

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Remote-Controlled Contraceptive Implant That Lasts 16 Years

Remote-Controlled Contraceptive Implant That Lasts 16 Years 

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Science Reveals How the Brains of Social Justice Activists Are Different From Everyone Else’s

“…People who are more sensitive to the ideas of fairness and equity are driven by logic, not emotion, according to a recent University of Chicago study published in the Journal of Neuroscience…

The research suggests that human rights and environmentalist organizations could get more public support by appealing to people’s sense of logic and reason rather than to their emotions. Efforts to combat global warming, for example, saw a surge in public support after scientists and statisticians began publishing data about how much sea levels and temperatures would rise instead of sad polar bears on a floating iceberg.

Perhaps your activist alter-ego was more level-headed than you thought.”

 

FACTS PEOPLE.

 

 

(My bolds are applicable to those thoroughly depressing commercials about abused animals and hungry children.)

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by | June 26, 2014 · 9:20 pm

The Backfire Effect: The Psychology of Why We Have a Hard Time Changing Our Minds

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“How the disconnect between information and insight explains our dangerous self-righteousness.

On the internet, a giant filter bubble of our existing beliefs, this can run even more rampant — we see such horrible strains of misinformation as climate change denial and antivaccination activism gather momentum by selectively seeking out “evidence” while dismissing the fact that every reputable scientist in the world disagrees with such beliefs. (In fact, the epidemic of misinformation has reached such height that we’re now facing a resurgence of once-eradicated diseases.)

“In disputes upon moral or scientific points, ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”

McRaney traces the crushing psychological effect of trolling – something that takes an active effort to fight – back to its evolutionary roots:

Have you ever noticed the peculiar tendency you have to let praise pass through you, but to feel crushed by criticism? A thousand positive remarks can slip by unnoticed, but one “you suck” can linger in your head for days. One hypothesis as to why this and the backfire effect happen is that you spend much more time considering information you disagree with than you do information you accept. Information that lines up with what you already believe passes through the mind like a vapor, but when you come across something that threatens your beliefs, something that conflicts with your preconceived notions of how the world works, you seize up and take notice. Some psychologists speculate there is an evolutionary explanation. Your ancestors paid more attention and spent more time thinking about negative stimuli than positive because bad things required a response. Those who failed to address negative stimuli failed to keep breathing….”

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by | May 20, 2014 · 6:28 pm

Parenting In The Age Of Apps: Is That iPad Help Or Harm? : Shots – Health News : NPR

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/03/16/290110766/parenting-in-the-age-of-apps-is-that-ipad-help-or-harm?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=npr&utm_campaign=nprnews&utm_content=03162014

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‘Eating On The Wild Side:’ A Field Guide To Nutritious Food

July 10, 2013 2:27 PM

Eating on the Wild Side
 
Eating on the Wild Side

The Missing Link to Optimum Health

by Jo Robinson and Andie Styner

We like to think that if we eat our recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables, we’re doing right by our bodies. Think again, says health writer Jo Robinson.

In her new bookEating on the Wild Side, Robinson argues that our prehistoric ancestors picked and gathered wild plants that were in many ways far healthier than the stuff we buy today at farmers’ markets.

But this change, she says, isn’t the result of the much-bemoaned modern, industrial food system. It has been thousands of years in the making — ever since humans first took up farming (some 12,000 years ago, more or less) and decided to “cultivate the wild plants that were the most pleasurable to eat,” she writes. More pleasurable generally meant less bitter and higher in sugar, starch or oil.

“Basically,” Robinson tells Fresh Air‘s Dave Davies, “we looked around at all this wild food that we had been eating for millennia, forever, and we kind of said to each other, ‘We’re getting tired of eating this bitter, chewy, fibrous, low-sugar food, and we can do better than that!'”

But over the centuries, Robinson says, those choices in human agriculture led to a dramatic loss in the nutrient value of the plants we eat most commonly — something she says we had no way of knowing until recently, when modern technology made it possible to do so.

But Robinson isn’t arguing that we should all go back to foraging for our dinner. Rather, she calls her book “a field guide to nutritious food.” Drawing on hundreds of scientific studies, she uses her book to lay out which commonly available foods offer the best nutritional bang for the bite.

We learn, for example, that longer cooking can boost tomatoes’ health benefits. And that broccoli begins to lose cancer-fighting compounds within 24 hours of harvest — that’s why it’s one of the foods that Robinson suggests people eat “as fresh as possible.”

On prehistoric bananas

“To peel them you had to get a machete or something similar to that to take off the skins, so we looked around and one of our remote ancestors came upon a mutant banana. This was nature’s mutant — nature is making mutations all the time — and that’s how we get all of the varieties that we have in our fruits and vegetables. Well, this particular mutation did away with the seeds, so that the seeds had been diminished to tiny black dots, and if you look at the bananas in our supermarket, that’s what you’ll see: no viable seeds but just these little dots.”

On her focus on ‘phytonutrients’

“These are molecular nutrients; they’re not macronutrients, and the reason that I’m focusing on them is that we’re just beginning to realize that these plant compounds — the technical name for them is ‘polyphenols’ [but] I call them ‘phytonutrients’ — they play a role in every cell and system of our bodies, and every month, new information is published showing these phytonutrients are really essential for optimum health. … [T]hese are the things we’ve reduced more than any of the other nutrients.”

On why we should eat dandelions

For 15 years, author and journalist Jo Robinson has been researching the foods we eat and the nutritional losses they've undergone over thousands of years.

For 15 years, author and journalist Jo Robinson has been researching the foods we eat and the nutritional losses they’ve undergone over thousands of years.

Frances Robinson /Little Brown and Co.

“[G]o out and find a dandelion leaf, rinse it well, and take a bite, and pay attention to your senses. For the first 10 seconds you won’t sense much at all, except you’ll notice that the leaf is hairy, and quite dense, quite chewy. Then, this bloom of bitterness [will] come at the roof of your mouth and go down your throat, and it’s going to stay there for about 10 minutes. And many of the wild plants that we used to eat had levels of bitterness similar to that dandelion. … Compared to spinach, which we consider a superfood, [a dandelion] has twice as much calcium, and three times as much vitamin A, five times more vitamins K and E, and eight times more antioxidants.”

On maximizing the nutrients in lettuce

“If you take your lettuce right from the store and rinse it and dry it and then, if you rip it into bite-sized pieces before you store it, you’re going to increase the antioxidant activity … fourfold. The next time you eat it, it’s going to have four times as many antioxidants.”

On which produce you should eat as fresh as possible

“There [are] fruits and vegetables that also burn up their antioxidants and their sugar at a really rapid rate, and they happen to be those superstars of nutrition that we’re all encouraged to eat. So I’m just going to give you a list of things you should get as fresh as possible, perhaps from a farmers’ market, which … is going to be probably fresher than from the supermarket, and eat as soon as possible. So it would be artichokes, arugula, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, lettuce, parsley, mushrooms and spinach. …
I think you should have an ‘Eat Me First’ list on your refrigerator of those [foods] that you should eat the day you bring them home, or the next day. It could [make] a measurable difference in your health.””

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by | July 11, 2013 · 3:09 pm

Vaccine Against HPV Has Cut Infections In Teenage Girls

June 19, 2013 3:10 PM
A 13-year-old girl gets an HPV vaccination from Judith Schaechter, a pediatrician at the University of Miami, in 2011.

A 13-year-old girl gets an HPV vaccination from Judith Schaechter, a pediatrician at the University of Miami, in 2011.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

 

“A vaccine against human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection and the cause of almost all cervical cancer — is dramatically reducing the prevalence of HPV in teenage girls.

The first vaccine against HPV, Merck’s Gardasil, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006. Cerverix, from GlaxoSmithKline, was approved in 2009.

In the first four years of immunizations, infections from the four strains of human papillomavirus targeted by the vaccines plummeted by more than half among 14-to-19-year-olds in the United States.

Federal health officials say they were surprised by the number since only about 1 in 3 girls in this age group has received the full three-dose course of the vaccine. About half have received a single dose.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, acknowledges that the number of girls who have gotten the HPV vaccine is “very disappointing” and “certainly not good enough.”

Still, Frieden says, “The vaccine works and works very well.” The findings of the CDC study were released Wednesday in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The vaccine has been controversial, with some parents worried about possible health risks, and others worrying that vaccination could encourage earlier sexual activity.

The study didn’t find a decrease in the HPV strains covered by the vaccine in other age groups, a clue that the vaccine is responsible for the decrease among teenagers.

 

Researchers also didn’t find any decrease in sexual activity among girls in the target population that might explain why HPV prevalence is down, from nearly 12 percent to just over 5 percent.

 

The current recommendation is that girls get the HPV vaccine when they are 11 or 12, before the initiation of sexual activity, when the vaccine produces the best protection. Females up to age 26 are urged to get the three-shot course if they have not received the vaccine earlier.

The recommendation is similar for boys, in whom HPV can cause genital warts along with penile and anal cancers, except that the so-called catch-up vaccination is recommended for males only up to age 21.

The vaccine costs between $128 and $135 a dose, or around $400 for the full course, on the private market. Many insurers cover HPV vaccination, and the federally sponsored Vaccines for Children program provides it free of charge for qualified patients.

CDC officials say they intend to use the new results to press for wider use of HPV vaccines. The goal is to get 80 percent of adolescents fully vaccinated.

Frieden says the payoff will be tens of thousands of fewer cases of cervical cancers and deaths.

“Of girls alive today between the ages of zero and 13, there will be 50,000 more cases of cancer if we don’t increase the rates to 80 percent,” Frieden says. “And for every single year we delay in getting to 80 percent, another 4,400 women are going to develop cervical cancer in their lifetimes — even with good screening programs.”

CDC officials say that HPV vaccines have a very good track record for safety following distribution of 56 million doses in this country.

“We have a very clear idea of the safety,” Frieden says. “We’ve looked at all the adverse events that have been reported. Virtually all have not been serious. Among the serious events, the main issue has been fainting, redness and swelling at the injection site and other temporary symptoms.”

Last week Japanese health officials suspended their recommendation to vaccinate girls between 14 and 19 against HPV after some reports of pain and numbness following injection. Japanese officials say they want to investigate a possible link.

“The outcomes they were concerned about are things we have looked for in our data system here in the U.S.,” says the CDC’s Dr. Cindy Weinbaum. “We found a total of about a dozen reports that related to something like regional pain syndrome such as Japan was reporting.”

Weinbaum says the CDC found “really no consistency among them that would suggest anything specifically related to the vaccine.”

The CDC has investigated 42 reports of deaths among HPV vaccine recipients.

“The cause of these deaths has been very varied,” Weinbaum says. “It’s everything from cardiovascular to infectious, neurologic and hematologic. Again, there’s no consistent pattern of deaths that have occurred after vaccination that would give us any cause to be concerned” that the vaccine was responsible.”

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by | June 20, 2013 · 5:43 pm