By Jorge Zárate, Co-Editor-In-Chief
Here’s your bi-weekly allotment of science and health news.
Medicine is at its core a profession about people. However, somewhere in between the paperwork and the long hours on call, some doctors lose sight of the humanity of the patients they treat. Read this doctor’s encounter with a morbidly obese patient:
This is another piece by a doctor, who is disappointed in the healthcare system. He focuses on the fact that no health reforms seem to address how business-like modern medicine has become: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/22/obamacare-reform-doctors-lost-sense-of-purpose?CMP=fb_gu
High-Protein Diets As Bad As Smoking (?)
Earlier this week, my Facebook feed was full of people sharing a Huffington Post article about a study from University of Southern California that allegedly showed a correlation between meat-heavy diets and increased cancer mortality. Concerns have been raised about the validity of the paper, but its an interesting read nonetheless. Below are the links to the Huffington article, the actual paper from Cell, and some criticism of the paper via the UK’s NHS.
The jury may still be out on red meat, but in the meantime there’s always chocolate:
The State of the World
Opponents to increasing minimum wage often argue that doing so will only change the lives of a negligible percentage of the people facing poverty. A study by the Center for American Progress, however, suggests that increasing the minimum wage will decrease the need for food stamps and cut government expenditure.
A health survey from the CDC showed – quite unexpectedly – that we might be making progress in reducing childhood obesity. The reasons for this decline are still unclear and more data is necessary before we start popping champagne.
Viruses and Bacteria
Washing your hands, I’m told, is the single greatest thing you can do to stop the spread of germs inside a hospital. Some doctors have also told me they no longer wear ties because they’re excellent petri dishes. What about the stethoscope?
The rhetoric around climate change usually centers around the melting of the poles and what that means for coastal settlements. A scientist from a university in Marseilles, France, thinks we should also be worried about pathogens lying dormant in the melting ice.
Science and Education
A lengthy yet incredibly important article on the culture in scientific research today – “How Academia and Publishing are Destroying Scientific Innovation: A Conversation with Sydney Brenner” (professor at Cambridge and Nobel Laureate). The author’s original intention was to pay homage to Frederick Sanger (twice Nobel winner), but the interview with Brenner quickly devolved into a critique of the system, “Today the Americans have developed a new culture in science based on the slavery of graduate students”.
PLOS, the Public Library of Science, makes changes to their data policy requiring now public access to data: http://blogs.plos.org/everyone/2014/02/24/plos-new-data-policy-public-access-data/