Cancer, climate change, sweeteners, and more…

Friends’ News and Articles

Contrary to what we are frequently told, we are not “losing the war on cancer” (2020 edition): With improved cancer prevention, cancer detection, and improved cancer treatment, the mortality rate has been dropping steadily for decades. However with both the medical community and the public having a heightened awareness of cancer and cancer risk factors, some people are given the incorrect perception that the risks of cancer are worsening. This view is often promoted by quacks as it supports naturalistic biases.


Matching DNA to a diet does not work: “DNA testing won’t guide dieters to the weight-loss regimen most likely to work for them, scientists reported on Tuesday. Despite some earlier studies claiming that genetic variants predict whether someone has a better chance of shedding pounds on a low-carbohydrate or a low-fat diet, and despite a growing industry premised on that notion, the most rigorous study so far found no difference in weight loss between overweight people on diets that “matched” their genotype and those on diets that didn’t. The findings make it less likely that genetics might explain why only some people manage to lose weight on a low-carb diet like Atkins and why others succeed with a low-fat one (even though the vast majority of dieters don’t keep off whatever pounds they lose). Unlike cancer treatments, diets can’t be matched to genotype, the new study shows.”

Flu leaves 4-year-old Iowa girl blind: Very sad (albeit rare) complication of influenza.

Facebook is still running anti-vaccination ads despite ban: “It doesn’t take much for an ad to avoid Facebook’s ban on anti-vaccination ads, even when it’s clearly violating the spirit of that ban.”

4½ myths about sunscreen and why they’re wrong: Many Australians are concerned using sunscreen might lead to vitamin D deficiency. The idea is that sunscreen would block the UV light the skin needs to make vitamin D, critical for bone health.
However, you need far less UV than you think to make the vitamin D you need: only one-third of the UV that causes a sunburn, and less than you need to tan. Tests on humans going about their daily business generally show no vitamin D differences between people who use sunscreen and those who don’t.

The 2019 report of the MJA–Lancet Countdown on health and climate change a turbulent year with mixed progress: In a year marked by an Australian federal election in which climate change featured prominently, we find mixed progress on health and climate change in this country. There has been progress in renewable energy generation, including substantial employment increases in this sector. There has also been some progress at state and local government level. However, there continues to be no engagement on health and climate change in the Australian federal Parliament, and Australia performs poorly across many of the indicators in comparison to other developed countries. We also find significant increasing exposure of Australians to heatwaves and, in most states and territories, greatly elevated suicide rates at higher temperatures.

The lack of Australian national policy to address threats of climate change to health — and the consequent failure to realise the enormous opportunities that doing so would afford our nation — is disappointing to say the least. This work is urgent and should be undertaken within a complex systems thinking framework. As a direct result of this failure, we conclude that Australia remains at significant risk of declines in health due to climate change, and that substantial and sustained national action is urgently required in order to prevent this.

Great Moments in Health and Science

Evolution of cancer treatments – chemotherapy: One of the first great breakthroughs in cancer treatment, chemotherapy even today is an important tool in treating many cancers. In fact, several cancers respond so well to chemotherapy that they are usually cured.

Today’s Abused Health Concept

Fear of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). High fructose corn syrup – myths and claims debunked by real science: “High fructose corn syrup is just two simple sugars connected together in a solution. All of its components are the same carbons, hydrogens, and oxygen atoms that are found everywhere in nature. The fructose and glucose components of HFCS are exactly the same as all other fructose and glucose in nature. Despite poorly designed research studies, there is no substantive evidence that HFCS causes excessive weight gain. HFCS probably has no effect on metabolic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, no more than any other sugar or foods.”