News and Views

Since writing about the increasing numbers of vaccinations earlier this month, it has been easy to feel like the score is tipping in public health's direction. More vaccinations mean fewer people are getting preventable diseases - and that is something that we at ACSH can celebrate. 

However, this is not the time to get complacent about the controversies surrounding vaccination. 2016 was a year filled with the fervor of the anti-vaxxer movement and their zeal for stopping this public health measure from saving the lives of their children looks like it is ramping up as we head into 2017. 

This year saw the release of Andrew Wakefield's movie VAXXED (thankfully...

There is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek, though still quite real, phenomenon known as "Nobel Disease." For some reason, many people who have won a Nobel Prize went on to become infamous for saying and believing incredibly stupid things, some of which are quite delusional.

Two explanations seem most likely. First, a person who wins a Nobel Prize may begin to think that all of his ideas are prize-worthy. As a result, like being intoxicated with alcohol, a Nobel laureate may feel less inhibited to blurt out whatever is on his mind. Second, it's possible that Nobel laureates are a bit kooky to begin with; earth-shattering ideas often don't come from pedestrian minds. 

The newest inductee into this dubious club is Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and columnist for...

Check it out: the latest sleep device from Apple — the Sleep Pill for Sense, sits on your nightstand, helps you fall asleep, and helps you wake up at consistent times each day. The device has a mini-device that clips onto your pillow and it tracks your REM sleep, sleeplessness, and overall sleep health. The idea behind the device — and hundreds of others like it — is that it monitors your sleep...

Homeopathic products can be found in the aisles of almost every pharmacy. However, this past year, one group of these products - homeopathic teething remedies for babies - found itself more and more in the news and less and less on the shelves.

It started in September, when the FDA warned to stay away from homeopathic teething remedies. With that announcement, CVS pulled a subset of this type of product made by Baby Oragel, Hyland's and CVS, off of their shelves with other stores following suit. Soon after, Hyland's stated in an open letter on their website that they...

You are an adult in good overall health. And when it comes to your teeth and gums, they are in good shape, as well. You've avoided cavities, you brush frequently and effectively and you're about to walk into your dentist's office for a checkup.

You climb into the chair; it starts reclining. Then comes the question. 

"It's been a year since we took X-rays," your dentist says. "We'll do them now, OK?"

On the spot, prone, stretched out, your response is likely a product of the following, in no particular order: trust in your chosen professional; concerns over radiation, personal health awareness; your ease/unease in disagreeing; and cost. And after performing five seconds of this advanced calculus, if you're like legions of indecisive patients you simply default to...

When submitting a scientific manuscript to a journal for review, it is safe to say that the worst possible outcome imaginable for most scientists is that it will be rejected.

However, a far worse outcome is indeed possible - and it happened to Dr. Michael Dansinger. 

Like any other physician or scientist who is trying to publish their results, Dr. Dansinger submitted his manuscript (entitled “One-Year Effectiveness of the Atkins, Zone, Weight Watchers, and Ornish Diets for Increasing Large High-Density Lipoprotein Particle Levels: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Trial”) to the Annals of Internal Medicine to undergo the peer-review process. (If you would like a refresher on how the peer-review process works, please read a description of it...

It is nothing short of amazing that we are still alive, or at the very least, don't all have cancer.

Because if even a fraction of the phony chemical scares that we write about almost every day were real, there'd be no one left alive to read what our dead writers didn't write. Whatever the hell that means.

An oldie, but goody refuses to go away. It is called acrylamide, which is formed during baking or frying of bread, chips, cookies, cereal, and — most notoriously — French fries

The chemical also occurs naturally (no—this does *not* matter) in a variety of vegetables,...

Sometimes, things just don't make sense. Recommendations on what causes cancer should not be one of them. However, most major news outlets ran headlines this past June claiming that "hot drinks probably cause cancer" based on a letter that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published in the Lancet.

But, when you take a minute, (before we all start drinking our coffee lukewarm) and take a look into the letter, it becomes apparent that there is no science that supports this statement.

The majority of the letter is concerned with whether coffee causes cancer or not (it doesn't.) The last time that coffee was reviewed by IARC was in 1991, when it was classified as “...

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) gets so many things wrong that finding one of them is as difficult as looking for corn in Iowa, genetically modified or otherwise. Here are a few of many examples. 

  • The group used cheesy, but effective tactics to try to make the herbicide 2,4-D look highly toxic. It isn't. Not even close. In particular, it equated 2,4-D with Agent Orange, the defoliant that was used in the Vietnam War. The problem with their otherwise-stellar science is that not only does 2,3,7,8-TCCD (commonly called dioxin) not exist in 2,4-D, but it is impossible for it to be there. This is because dioxin was a contaminant that was formed in the manufacture of a...

Cancer deaths are falling in the United States, and that's great to see. On the other hand, fatalities caused by heart disease are on the rise and there's a significant increase in deaths attributed to Alzheimer's disease. 

These are some of the top developments from 2015 included in the latest national report on life expectancy, recently released by National Center for Health Statistics, a department of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

But the most significant and sobering news generated from the analysis shows that for the first time in 22 years, life expectancy for the average American has dropped. Last year it was 78.8 years, down from 78.9 years in 2014. Broken down by gender, men could expect to live 76.3 years (down from 76.5), while for women "life...