Health threats, tooth decay, sunscreens, and more…

FSM Friends news & articles

WHO – Vaccine hesitancy top health threat: “Recent studies have shown that those with anti-vaccine views are particularly susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger effect: ‘More than a third of respondents in our sample thought that they knew as much or more than doctors (36%) and scientists (34%) about the causes of autism. Our analysis indicates that this overconfidence is highest among those with low levels of knowledge about the causes of autism and those with high levels of misinformation endorsement. Further, our results suggest that this overconfidence is associated with opposition to mandatory vaccination policy.’ People who hold anti-vaccine views think they know the most, even more than scientists, when in fact they know the least. What they have is an illusion of knowledge, created largely by the anti-vaccine social media echo chamber, but made possible by human psychology.”


Confronting campaign urges teens to cut down sugar to save their smiles: Rethink sugary drinks! The science on excess sugar consumption is pretty clear – high sugar intake increases caloric intake, which promotes diabetes, obesity, cancer and heart disease. Consumption of acidic sugary drinks is specifically linked to tooth decay. Cancer Council Victoria has released the Rethink Sugary Drinks campaign, which aims to target young people (mostly males) 12-24 to reduce consumption of fizzy drinks, sport drinks, flavoured milks, sugar-laden juices etc. The video advertisement contrasts modern music and ‘cool’ young people with disgusting decay-filled mouths. As it is notoriously difficult to get people in this age group to care about their long term health – young adults often feel invincible – the ad plays on their concern for image and outward appearance. Additional material for the campaign leads with more health-focused messaging, with particular ads aimed at indigenous people and families. What do you think about this campaign – do you think it is an effective way to target young people?

The facts behind the campaign can be found here:
Additional materials can be found here:

Slop on sunscreen: But how much sunscreen? Basically a bottle of perfume for an average sized adult, and every 2 hours!!! “Use a generous amount of sunscreen. The average-sized adult needs a teaspoon of sunscreen for their head and neck, each limb and for the front and the back of the body. That is about 35ml of sunscreen for one full body application. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside and re-apply again every two hours (whether or not the label tells you to do this). Remember to reapply after swimming or excessive sweating.”

The concept of a “chemical-free lifestyle” is absurd: Chemophobia is alive and well. It is difficult to get on the internet without celebrities, friends, and family members bombarding you with concerns about chemicals in your food, hygiene products, vaccines, etc. Indeed, being anti-chemical seems to be extremely fashionable at the moment, and you will often hear people talk about living a “chemical-free lifestyle” or trying to “avoid chemicals.”

Induced abortion and breast cancer risk – ACOG: This is yet another example of the improper use of scientific data to back up an agenda. An early study cited a connection between induced abortion and breast cancer incidence. This finding was arrived at through flawed methodology and more recent properly-conducted studies been proven the first study wrong. And yet, pro-life backers still contend that abortion causes breast cancer. It doesn’t matter which side of the pro-life/pro-choice fence you stand on, using flawed scientific findings to back your cause is unethical. This doesn’t stop pro-lifers from using this contention, but it really should give them pause.

Today’s Abused Health Concept

Brain support supplements: Beware “pseudomedicine” claims made to sell brain-health supplements, warn neurologists: “No known dietary supplement prevents cognitive decline or dementia,” Hellmuth’s team writes in the editorial, “yet supplements advertised as such are widely available and appear to gain legitimacy when sold by major retailers.” The industry pitching brain-health supplements is big and getting bigger – sitting on nearly $3.2 billion in sales, according to recent estimates, and expected to grow another 8% over the next four years. Those resources support “high-penetration consumer advertising through print media, radio, television, and the internet,” say the neurologists, for products that don’t undergo US FDA testing for “safety and review of efficacy.”

Great Moments in Health and Science

The first successful organ transplant – History of transplantation: This life-saving process has only been possible since 1954, thanks to modern science, medicine and surgery. Although it started with kidneys, many live or deceased-donor organs are able to be successfully transplanted.