Contamination, fakes, bans, and more…

Friend’s News and Articles

Secret ingredients in herbal medicines – toxins, pharmaceuticals, allergens:Despite current monitoring approaches, contaminated and adulterated products are still reaching the consumer. We suggest that a better solution is stronger pre-market evaluation.”

SB 276 is now law, and antivaxers are not the “new civil rights movement”: An update on the passing of bills to clamp down on fake vaccine exemptions in California. This is interesting particularly in the way that the anti-vaccine movement styles itself as the ‘New Civil Rights Movement’. Despite this, the anti-vaxxers tend to use the phases from opposition to the civil rights movement, ie “All lives matter.” In the words of Orac, “it wouldn’t surprise me if antivaxers crank up the rhetoric into dangerous, violent territory”

Australian Pharmacies selling contaminated supplements: “The researchers from Murdoch University and Curtin University in WA, and the University of Adelaide in SA, were able to confirm at least one of the listed ingredients for only 21% (n = 29) of the 137 samples”


Google bans ads for experimental medical treatments: This can only be a good thing. Removing ads for dodgy stem cell therapies and other treatments that have no evidentiary basis will cut off one avenue of procuring customers for unscrupulous operators. Legitimate care providers should not be unduly inconvenienced. People should be getting advice on healthcare and treatment from doctors, not from Google ads or Facebook pages.

There’s no evidence caesarean sections cause autism or ADHD: First, we can’t rule out that a third factor may be influencing this association. We know, for example, that caesarean sections are more common for pregnant women who are obese and older, and who have a history of immune conditions such as asthma. All of these factors have also been linked with an increased chance of having a child with autism, and it is entirely possible – and some would argue, probable – that it is more likely these factors underlie the relationship between caesarean section and neurodevelopmental disorders. The link might be due to other factors such as the mother’s age or weight. The second reason is that these kind of epidemiological studies are unable to provide what scientists call “a mechanism” – that is, a biological explanation as to why this association may exist. A mechanism study in this area may be to explore biological differences in newborns either born via vaginal or caesarean delivery, and understand how these differences may lead to atypical behavioural development. Without a strong body of evidence from these kinds of studies, there is simply no scientific basis for concluding a causal link between caesarean section and neurodevelopmental disorder.

Great Moments in Health and Science

Breathe easy – The history behind the invention of gas masks: An important protection for humans required to work in environments containing chemicals dangerous to the lungs, some of the earliest respirators were, unsurprisingly, invented for firemen.

Today’s Abused Health Concept

Junk Food – A British teenager is blind, but not because of junk food or “fussy eating”: The ‘Clean Eating’ movement has many people convinced that most health problems can be solved by simply improving one’s diet, and avoiding processed ‘junk food’. In fact, focus on the ‘junk food’ narrative can be deceiving and generally lacks nuance. Stories have reported that a teenager was “blinded by junk food”. In fact the child suffered from “Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder”, and systematically avoided a wide range food necessary for health. This wasn’t simply a case of “poor nutrition”. The child was avoiding a wide variety of foods necessary for complete nutrition because he was suffering from untreated severe anxiety. This could have happened even if the foods he could eat weren’t classic junk foods.” Conversely, this outcome would not have occurred with a more complete diet, even WITH the consumption of large quantities of junk food. An unbalanced diet will lead to health risks, but In this case the junk food was merely a tangential issue. If less focus was given to blaming the junk food, perhaps this child could have been helped before he suffered a permanent disability.