Assorted Links

7 Replies to “Assorted Links”

  1. the BBC story on guts biome and brain function is interesting but is also somewhat — to me anyway — exasperating in that way that mainstream media reports frequently are: “here’s this exciting possibility that researchers are working on, but you are just going to have to wait for big pharma to turn this into a product” that you can buy. In the meantime, the article cautions us to be VERY skeptical of these “probiotic supplements” — “take it with a pinch of salt” that these actually work. Because heaven forbid that they list the bacteria that seem to work so that people could, gasp, actually spend $23 on a bottle of supplements and, I don’t know, TRY it for themselves.

    Seth, I don’t mean to be snarky — thanks for posting the link, it’s just frustrating that, for a variety of reasons, I see lots of these articles in the main stream press that are interesting but only cover 90% of the practical information and then stop short.

  2. “fake Nobel Laureates”: everyone who claims to have a Nobel Prize in Economics.

    Seth: Sometimes appreciation of economics reminds me of appreciation of art.

  3. Adam: I thought the same thing. Some of that article sounded like it was boiler-plate “leave it to the scientists” stuff that I’m so used to reading.

  4. Some articles on the topic of gut bacteria populations (e.g. the “gut bugs and brain function” article on, linked to above) say that a diverse diet fosters a diverse gut bacteria population.

    Other articles (e.g. Art Ayers’s CooingInflammation blog) say that a simple, non-diverse diet fosters a diverse gut bacteria population.

    I wonder who is right.

  5. Another cancer diagnosis not to worry about

    We have repeatedly discussed the problem of over-diagnosis and the consequences: treatment of cancers that would not harm the person in which they are found — some breast and prostate cancers definitely fall into this category. A new study just published in JAMA Otolaryngology now extends this finding to thyroid cancer.

    They examined the data on thyroid cancer incidence, type, tumor size and mortality, and found that the incidence (new cases) of thyroid cancer nearly tripled (from 4.9 to 14.3 cases per 100,000 persons) between those dates.

    While that certainly sounds like a frightening statistic, the authors also found that most of this increase was due to an increase in papillary thyroid cancer — a type that is not deadly. Further, many of the tumors were too small to ever become life-threatening.

    In addition, they found that the mortality rate from thyroid cancer had not increased between 1975 and 2009, which also suggests that the increased incidence was not due to deadly forms of disease.

    In their discussion, the authors note that the apparent epidemic of thyroid cancer in the United States does not “seem to be an epidemic of disease.” Instead, their data indicate that the problem is over-diagnosis.

  6. Seth

    Thanks for the mammogram article. I’ve always refused the test, despite attempted coercion from many quarters. This strengthens my resolve. I’ve also come across people who get benign cysts and go through cycles of alarm and distress each time they are tested and she gets the all clear.

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