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Posts

April 24, 2014

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3:41 PM | New Labor Department rules to improve broken system for black lung prevention
The Labor Department announced new regulations to better protect coal miners from developing coal mine dust lung diseases. The are a step in the right direction, but not as stringent as proposed.
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3:09 PM | Grant Review Site Visits
...need to be ended. They represent a huge risk for bias dependent on the personal characteristics of the investigators to rule the day. Are you an older, white-haired, heteronormative appearanced, able-bodied picture of "Scientist and Professor"? Great! Are you overweight? Do you stutter? Express unexpected gender presentation? Nonwhite? Female? Are your language skills less than […]
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2:56 PM | Effective Presentation in Medical Education and Research
On March 13, I gave a two-hour faculty development workshop, “How to Talk the Talk: Presenting to Diverse Audiences.” The audience: an interesting mix that included clinical faculty, faculty with research programs, senior M.D. and Ph.D. postdoctoral fellows and principal investigators in basic science laboratories. Ironically, the diversity of the attendees (aka the “audience”) made [...]
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1:34 PM | Does the Latest Vitamin D Meta-Analysis Cast Doubt on Vitamin D Recommendations?
Headlines today are picking up on latest meta-analysis from Bolland and co-workers, which contains the bold conclusion “there is little justification for prescribing vitamin D supplements to prevent falls”. This is strange, since recent meta-analyses from other groups, such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and from the rigorous Cochrane Collaboration recommend vitamin D to prevent fractures in institutionalized adults. Has something changed recently in the […]
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12:00 PM | Electronic Diaries and PTSD
Intrusive memories are common following traumatic events and among the hallmark symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most studies assess summarized accounts of intrusions retrospectively. A study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology used an ecological momentary approach to...            Related StoriesDid You Know I Have a Book Coming Out?Teaching Suicide Prevention Skills to Health ProfessionalsIn Praise of
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3:28 AM | Don’t kiss that turtle, stop touching that bearded dragon and stop touching yourself: CDC reports 132 sick in multistate outbreak of human Salmonella Cotham
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is collaborating with public health, veterinary, and agriculture officials in many states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella Cotham infections linked … Continue reading →

April 23, 2014

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10:25 PM | Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford
Stanford just announced a new center, named the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS). The press release says that it will focus on ways to transform research practices to improve the reproducibility, efficiency, and quality of scientific investigations.I absolutely applaud this venture by Stanford and one of my personal science idols John Ioannidis, MD, DSc who I recently wrote about here.As biomedical research presses on both in difficult and […]
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10:18 PM | From the duh files: should food workers be vaccinated against Hepatitis A?
JoNel Aleccia of NBC News writes the question of whether hepatitis A inoculations should be mandatory for food workers — or whether the cost to business isn’t worth the wider benefit — is gaining renewed attention from federal regulators, health … Continue reading →
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9:50 PM | How to have fewer people barfing from food? Inspections and government are only one tool
It’s an easy story for beleaguered journalists: a belligerent government versus a belligerent union, with both making wild claims about food safety. Lost in the rhetoric is any concern about the people who eat – pretty much all of us … Continue reading →
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9:28 PM | EU vs. North America uses of risk analysis
Maybe this is why Europe is somewhat messed up over food. The European Food Safety Authority says “the decision to separate the tasks of risk assessment and risk management just over a decade ago has transformed the safety of Europe’s … Continue reading →
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8:36 PM | Florida resident says restaurant inspection reports should be openly displayed
Frances Green of Lake Worth writes that as a Florida resident who often travels to other states to visit family, I’m disappointed Florida doesn’t require restaurants to display their sanitation inspection scores. Many other states require this practice, which allows … Continue reading →
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8:15 PM | It was peas: Staph strikes Spanish Assembly
Peas served in the cafeteria of the Madrid Assembly on April 3, 2014, are believed to be the source of a Staphylococcus aureus that struck down dozens of people, including MPs. At least six cafeteria workers were removed after testing … Continue reading →
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7:48 PM | That’s a lot of poop: nearly 179 million cases of acute diarrhea occur each year in US
Washing produce is never enough, but that’s what a researcher says in a review of causes of foodborne illness. A better suggestion would be rigorous on-farm food safety programs. In the United States, approximately 179 million cases of acute diarrhea … Continue reading →
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7:32 PM | Norovirus in UK food outlets to be mapped for first time
The University of Liverpool is leading a £2 million Food Standards Agency (FSA) project to map the occurrence of norovirus in food premises and industry workers. Norovirus outbreaks can rapidly affect large numbers of people. In 2012 a batch of … Continue reading →
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5:43 PM | A chance to support research on Parkinson's Disease
The scientist known as @parklifensci (Parklife blog) on the Internet will be walking in the Parkinson's Unity Walk. The donation page says: Why I'm walking: Every walker and donor makes a difference by taking the Walk one step closer to finding the cause and cure for Parkinson’s. By joining together with thousands of others, we'll […]
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3:53 PM | Vitamin D, Inflammation, Biomarkers and Weight Loss
Inflammation, especially chronic inflammation, has been linked with cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome-associated disorders (obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and hepatic steatosis). Maternal inflammation during pregnancy can even affect the health of a child. Elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations are a marker of inflammation. CRP concentrations increase in response to infections, inflammation, and oxidative stress.  Eating a diet lacking adequate amounts […]
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2:07 PM | Fitting In Just as I am and Passing That On
Like most kids, my kids like to go work with me. Yesterday, the college had its first Wrangler Day on the Abilene campus (we have two campuses), a day of games and food and fun. We put on our matching special tees for the day and off we went.We visited with people, wandered around and watched students try to ride the mechanical bull, ate hamburgers, and then while I helped serve those wonderfully greasy burgers, the kids sat under the big tent and watched the people and kept themselves […]
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1:38 PM | Tennessee’s Jekyll and Hyde Moment: Should Pregnant Women Who Use Drugs Be Treated as Criminals?
Should pregnant women who use drugs be charged as criminals or given help? From a public health perspective the choice is clear: provide treatment to help women quit drugs before their use harms their child. Less than a year ago, Tennessee adopted a progressive policy to provide such treatment, but now is on the brink of taking a big step back.
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8:11 AM | They had one of those, the New Zealand Food Safety Authority; government reinvents wheel
The New Zealand government is to set up an independent food safety advice group to recommend regulatory changes in the wake of last year’s global recall of dairy products over a false botulism scare. The Food Safety and Assurance Advisory … Continue reading →
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4:46 AM | Universities blinded by rankings and scientific gobbledygook
It’s bad enough that public institutions like Kansas State University use public funds to promote crap. As a parent of four university daughters, I’ve seen the debt they’ve accumulated and the crap they’ve been sold. But it’s bigger than public … Continue reading →
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3:39 AM | Tuberculosis at the Zoo
Happy 52nd birthday to Packy, the oldest Asian elephant in North America. The celebration was held at the Oregon Zoo on 14 Apr 2014. The 40 lb cake that Packy enjoyed was made with whole wheat, fruits, vegetables, and about four pounds of butter.Packy the elephant on his first birthday at the Oregon Zoo on April 14, 1963. Photo by Christina Christensen, courtesy of the Oregon ZooMore importantly, for our purposes, it was announced by the zoo that Packy is currently battling latent […]
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2:57 AM | Make Sure You’re Eating a Healthy Diet – Healthy for the Earth, That Is
by Mo McNulty, PhD Student The health of the planet affects the health of the people living on it. We depend on the Earth for sustenance even as we damage it. As noted in a summary by Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, “The eminent Harvard biology Professor Edward O. Wilson once said […]
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1:00 AM | Who are you gonna call….
…when active surveillance cultures reveal MRSA colonization to be rampant in your doll collection?Contact Precautions Barbie!h/t to @FoxyContinRN and to Neil Fishman for passing the link along.

April 22, 2014

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7:27 PM | China establishes food safety risk communication branch
I’ll always go content over style by about 60-40, but getting the facts right is only one part of effective food safety risk communication. Tell that to the Chinese. Chen Junshi, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering at … Continue reading →
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7:14 PM | Mushroom safety
It’s a question many home and food service cooks deal with: what’s up with mushrooms? Should they be washed, what with that crud on them, and does washing turn fresh mushrooms into mush? I cook mushrooms. Kathie T. Hodge, an … Continue reading →
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4:54 PM | "These forces are real and I had to survive them"
Neil DeGrasse Tyson on "The Larry Summers question: What's up with chicks in science?": From a panel discussion hosted by the Center for Inquiry. Starts at 1:02:30 of the video.
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4:11 PM | B Vitamins, Child Health and the Nutrition Problem
Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke. It is characterized by elevated blood pressure, large waist circumference, and low HDL-cholesterol levels. As societies transform and develop, the incidence of metabolic syndrome increases. For example, 40% of women and 29% of men living in Nairobi have metabolic syndrome. People can still be malnourished, missing essential vitamins and minerals, even when they are overweight. Because metabolic syndrome […]
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4:03 PM | Disclosing inspection results: Voluntary or mandatory?
My philosophy on disclosing restaurant inspection information hasn’t wavered much in the past 10 years: Make inspection results public and communicate them meaningfully to help patrons make decisions. There’s a patchwork approach to disclosure throughout the world: happy faces, letter … Continue reading →
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3:22 PM | Obama’s regulatory czar, Yoda and black lung disease
The US Department of Labor has a plan to eliminate coal mine dust lung disease (a.k.a. black lung.) It's been stuck in White House review for eight months, under the watch of a reg czar who promised timeliness of reviews.
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12:14 PM | Living with disability
Watching David Toole dance on his hands at the opening ceremony of the paralympic games was a challenge for able-bodied people to transform misconceptions about disabled persons. The 48 year old Toole had both legs amputated after he was born and because he found prosthetics frustrating, learnt how to move about without artificial legs. He […]
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