Archive | July 2011
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Being a parent these days is anxious business, with an onslaught of news reports telling you what might be good or bad for your child’s health and development. In many cases, these claims are based on scientific evidence that is preliminary at best, studied only in small subject pools or retrospectively. To comprehensively confirm a […]
In evolutionary biology today, it’s the ugly guys who get famous. But that hasn’t always been the case. When paleontologists were assembling a library of prehistoric life in the 19th century, they wanted to find the fossils they could easily categorize. The freaks, the weirdos, and the oddities were less well received, square pegs that […]
The odds of acquiring a disease are often portrayed as a tug of war between two foes: genes and environment. The battle is not always evenly matched. A disease such as cystic fibrosis is entirely genetic – if a child inherits the mutated CFTR gene from both parents, no environment will prevent the condition. On […]
Salt is bad for you. According to a 2010 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, lowering dietary salt intake by 3 grams per day could “reduce the annual number of deaths from any cause by 44,000 to 92,000.” Or maybe not. A 2011 meta-analysis of seven clinical studies of salt reduction, published this […]
A patient in the hospital receives a long line of visitors, from physicians to nurses to medical students to other staff members. The conversations with most of these personnel tends to be mostly business – answering clinical questions or following instructions, with maybe a little bit of small talk squeezed in between temperature measurements and […]