Sports fads, food intolerance, probiotics, and more…

FSM Friends news and articles

Acute flaccid myelitis – enterovirus to blame according to new CDC report: Not the Polio Vaccine. The anti-vaccine community has wasted no time in attributing the recent outbreak of accute flaccid myelitis – AFM – to the polio vaccine. True, AFM does resemble polio in causing limb weakness or paralysis but there the resemblance stops. There is no respiratory paralysis and is not fatal, as polio all too often is. You may not wish to plough through this article (it is rather long), preferring to rest assured with the take-home message: polio vaccine does not cause AFM. In fact the polio vaccine has saved many lives and spared children from life-long disability. Why would anyone want to oppose that?

The influence of kinesiology tape color on athletic performance: an actual published study… Seriously… A popular fad with sports people looking for an edge. Yet it cannot be shown to have any reliable effect (except in the most crappy of studies) and it’s not clear how it even COULD have an effect. “Nothing mattered. Tape colour didn’t matter. Colour preference didn’t matter. “Proper” placement of KT with tension didn’t matter. No effect on performance, strength, or function was found in any experimental round compared to the control round for any of the subjects. It was a solidly negative … showing that KT doesn’t have any specific benefit or much of a non-specific benefit either.”

IgG food intolerance tests continue to mislead consumers into unnecessary dietary restrictions: While food intolerances are non-immune by definition, IgG testing continues to be widely promoted as a diagnostic tool, and to guide dietary choices. There is no credible evidence to support IgG testing by consumer laboratories to identify food intolerances. The CBC Marketplace episode highlighted how IgG testing has the potential to harm, not help consumers. It’s not surprising, then, that major allergy and immunology organizations worldwide advise against IgG testing.

Hierarchy of scientific evidence – keys to scientific scepticism: “Science is hard. It’s difficult. Sorry about that, but if it were so easy, everyone on the internet would be doing science. Unfortunately, there are too many people writing on the internet who think they are talking science, but they fail to differentiate between good and bad evidence.”


Malaria cases on the rise as international funding falls: “It’s really a shared challenge, and although we need Australia to maintain its support, we also need other big players in the region to come in and it’s great to see that China is also stepping in to help achieve malaria elimination in the region.”

Health Check: should you take probiotics when you’re on antibiotics?: There is currently some evidence that taking probiotics can prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. This effect is relatively small, with 13 people needing to take probiotics for one episode of diarrhoea to be averted. The assumption that there is little downside to taking probiotics was challenged in a recent Israeli study. The participants were given antibiotics and split into two groups: the first group was given an 11-strain probiotic preparation for four weeks; the second was given a placebo, or dummy pill. The researchers found the antibiotic damage to the gut bacteria of those in the first group allowed the probiotic strains to effectively colonise the gut. But this colonisation delayed the normal recovery of the microbiota, which remained perturbed for the entire six month study period. In contrast, the microbiota of the second group returned to normal within three weeks of finishing antibiotics.

Abused Health Concept

Herbal remedies are drugs:  She drank kratom tea while pregnant. Then her newborn went into withdrawal… Hint, they ARE, whatever the naturalistic fallacy tells you. Many people, often perfectly well intentioned, think that drinking teas and taking herbs is automatically safe. Worse they will often not report such use to their doctors when getting medical advice. This is a mistake.

Great moments in Health and Science

The banning of leaded petrol: Why did we use leaded petrol for so long? Whilst the eventual and hard-fought ban is a great achievement, the development of leaded gasoline serves as a dire warning against industry-driven decisions that put profit before health.