Fat, cancer, fraud, and more…

FSM Friends news & articles

Israel vaccine law proposal – seeking balance to improve vaccination ratesA new law has been proposed in Israel to counter the number of people refusing vaccination. Interestingly, a cooercive approach has been rejected as unhelpful. However the proposed measures include a number of moves that avoid forcing a parents hand but still make them responsible for their choice. A highlight is the way the Health Ministry would have the right to overrule inappropriate “medical exemptions”, something that is often abused by anti-vax friendly doctors.

Belly fat is the most dangerous, but losing it from anywhere helps: Excess fat around the tummy is subcutaneous fat – which you can pinch – as well as visceral fat, which is in and around the organs in the abdominal cavity and only visible using medical scans. Researchers have found excess visceral fat storage is a significant risk factor for metabolic health complications of obesity such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver and heart disease. Fat cells in a healthy person are able to grow, recruit inflammatory cells to help reduce inflammation, and remodel themselves in order to allow for healthy body growth. But if there is excess fat tissue, these mechanisms don’t function as well. And with excess fat, the body can become resistant to the hormone insulin – which maintains our blood sugar levels.

Visceral (belly) fat secretes greater levels of adipokines – chemicals that trigger inflammation – and releases more fatty acids into the bloodstream. Whereas the fat cells in the leg region, and the pinchable, subcutaneous layers of fat around the middle, store fatty acids within themselves, rather than pushing them into the circulation. The fat around the hips and legs is more passive, meaning it releases fewer chemicals into the body.”


Kiwi academics help expose scientific fraud around vitamins: They discovered dozens of clinical trials covering topics such as bone fractures and Alzheimer’s published in international journals included fake data… The trials had large groups of participants, low dropout numbers with reported very large effects of almost any treatment tested.

Bottled water and why Aussies still drink it:With one of the most stringent governances of tap water in the world, you would think developing a booming bottled water market in Australia is akin to selling ice to Eskimos.

Does cannabis cure cancer? We asked an expert: “Contrary to what most people believe, medical uses of cannabis have been widely studied. A 2017 review by the National Academy of Science looked at over 10,000 studies. They found evidence for some applications of cannabis, including managing chronic pain and spasms associated with multiple sclerosis. There was also good evidence that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, can reduce the nausea caused by chemotherapy. But, crucially, there is zero evidence that cannabis has any curative or even helpful impact on cancer, despite enthusiastic claims to the contrary.” That would be an emphatic “no”.

John McCain did not ‘lose’ his battle with glioblastoma — because cancer is not a war: When we hear of a well-loved personality (or family member or friend) diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness the rhetoric that the person is ‘fighting’ their disease is often repeated. These battle terminologies (‘fight cancer’, ‘beat cancer’ or ‘lose to cancer’) imply that those that accept their illness are ‘giving up’ or that non-survivors ‘did not fight hard enough’ or are ‘weak’, when the reality is that some illnesses are survivable and others not, and there are many different ways to cope with a terminal diagnosis.

However, studies have shown that for many people (especially those with conditions considered terminal) this use of win/lose battle terminology does not give the person the appropriate space to deal with their feelings of loss, grief and fear surrounding their disease. Someone who refuses treatment – instead opting for the best quality of life rather than undergoing draining treatments that will likely fail – may in fact be making a mentally healthy choice towards accepting their fate and making the most of the rest of their life. This should be seen as a decision of great strength, not ‘giving up’ or ‘weakness’.

Personally, I believe that these sentiments stem from a very human need for control – we like to believe that we can influence our illness through willpower, and do not like to accept things that are out of our control. While these strategies may be helpful to some to emotionally cope, they can be equally damaging. This may also indicate our current medical system may be failing to provide emotional support for many patients and allow them to emotionally cope and/or accept their illness – a common reason many patients turn to CAM treatments.

A study relating to coping styles and cancer survival can be found here:

Great moments in Health and Science

Pool fence regulations: What does a safe fence look like? Since effective legislation on mandatory pool fencing in Australia, pool drowning deaths have been reduced to a third of their 1960’s rates.

Today’s Abused Health Concept

HRT fear mongering – Estrogen matters:  Estrogen replacement is an important and uniquely effective therapy, with numerous benefits including significant reductions in cancer, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and others. However fear was developed following the 2002 WHI study which stated risks associated with HRT, and minimised benefits. Despite being ‘a gold standard, double blind RCT’, numerous problems have been found with this study including 
    – biased researchers
    – insignificant contradictory results 
    – population samples that were inappropriate or very small

Bluming and Tavris tell estrogen’s story in a way that is both accessible to the general public and appropriate for professionals. What’s more, they provide valuable insights into understanding research and how even the best randomized controlled studies can lead to unjustified public fears and injudicious clinical recommendations. Very enlightening!