shutterstock_207548383 Manny Alvarez is a 23-year-old college student with the misfortune of having not just a devastating cancer -- but the wrong devastating cancer. The chemotherapeutic agents shown to be highly active against his specific tumor cells are FDA approved for the treatment of leukemia, but not for the stunningly rare kind of sarcoma with which Manny has been diagnosed. Nothing is ...

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dr oz Enough already about Dr. Oz. Whichever side you happen to be on, we might collectively acknowledge that much of the noise being made about what is, at worst, a symptom, is itself an indication of a culture-wide disease. The fate of Ozymandias comes to mind. Science is Ozymandias. Soundbites are the ruin of it. In the case of the Oz ...

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We received the report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee some weeks ago. Some months from now, that science-based report, politics, and a whole lot of pestering will come together, and we will get the actual Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015. That's how it works, which I presume most people in this country at least already know. We have Marion Nestle to ...

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The ink hadn't yet dried on the report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee before the assaults began. I guess in this day and age, that's not much of a big, fat surprise. Despite all the over-heated rhetoric I've seen about not trusting this report because the "government" can't be trusted, this report is not from the government. While we may, indeed, need to worry about what the political authorities will ...

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Recently in the New York Times, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel suggested that this year's resolution might be to abandon the ritual of your annual physical. The title of his column, perhaps chosen by an editor to maximize glibness and thus provocation was: "Skip Your Annual Physical." But permit me to suggest you don't commit to that just yet. The annual physical exam warrants some more examination, a defense to follow its prosecution. Dr. ...

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The big medical news recently was that sitting hours a day is taking years from our lives, whether we exercise or not. We have heard similar things before, so the now reiterated message is: Yes, we are sitting on a major health risk. Sitting is the major health risk! The new study, a meta-analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine, purportedly adds precision to the estimate of risk. There ...

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new study about physical activity, obesity, and mortality has been propagating so many headlines and so much commentary, it's pretty much a given that if you are seeing this, you have seen something like: "Inactivity kills more than obesity." As is generally true in such cases, few of the people opining about the study seem to have actually read it. I suppose that's understandable -- once you get to particulars ...

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The Lumberjack World Championships, coming up for those interested in Hayward, Wisconsin in late July 2015, appear to be very impressive. Contestants are judged on a diverse array of aptitudes, from chopping and sawing to pole climbing and log rolling. One presumes the criteria for winning each of these are clear and as objective as possible. There is a panel of master lumberjacks to help oversee the judging. In short, as a ...

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shutterstock_154769528 This year's flu vaccine, as you likely know, is taking a drubbing. The contention is that CDC flubbed, and didn't get quite the right flu strains in the mix. That is apparently true, although more the "fault" of the influenza virus and its natively wily ways, than of the CDC. Either way, the drubbing is disproportionate to any flubbing. The drubbing occurs ...

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McKinsey & Company recently issued a report on effective means of fighting hyper-endemic obesity in the modern world. Among other things, they concluded that "implementing an obesity-abatement program on the required scale will not be easy." I presume that is intended to be somber, but the magnitude of understatement makes it almost funny. And sad. No, it will not be easy -- not in the world as it is. In the ...

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If a foreign government took the United States surgeon general hostage, I’m confident we’d be pretty upset. I think we would be working on reprisals, and maybe even prepping a SEAL team. I don’t know if it’s better or worse that we need no help from a foreign power to take our surgeon general hostage. Our own political system manages, all on its own. Admittedly, it’s not quite the surgeon general who ...

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Remember when we were trying not to panic about Ebola? Seems like that was only yesterday. Oh wait -- it was only yesterday. But it already seems as if we are trying to remember that we were trying not to panic. I listened to my favorite news radio station out of New York City while driving to the office recently. They address all of the major news stories in the first eight ...

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shutterstock_210544051 As you no doubt know, Ebola has been brought to the U.S. Predictably, this has resulted in a media feeding frenzy, rumination, recrimination, and the familiar blend of hyberbole and hysteria that tends to populate those infamous 15 minutes during which any given crisis holds our attention. No, we are not suddenly at risk. As the media coverage spells out, the ...

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To the inevitable backdrop of John Philip Souza marches and presidential photo-ops, big soda has announced that it will do some vague kind of something about the excesses they contribute to our intake of calories and sugars over something like ten years. (Unless, of course, they don't.) Cue the 21-gun salute! Release the confetti! Folks, that this is heralded as "huge" news -- and by our former head of state, no ...

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shutterstock_209618260 We are, I trust, all but universally familiar with the knee-jerk, or patellar, reflex. A doctor taps the patellar tendon with a rubber mallet, and our leg kicks forward in response. The reaction is famously unthinking. In fact, it is literally so. What makes a reflex a reflex is that the brain is substantially uninvolved. The stretch of a tendon by the mallet ...

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I was shocked and deeply saddened when my daughter announced at the dinner table that Robin Williams had died of an apparent suicide. My wife and I and the three of our children home at the time all pretty much gasped audibly in unison, and then for a moment after, you could have heard a pin drop. For a bit after that, we talked about our shock and sorrow. And then after that, ...

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To be quite blunt about it, Ebola is a very scary disease. Among those infected, the mortality rate is, as is perhaps now widely known, an appallingly high 90%. That would seem a very good reason to keep our borders closed to this scourge -- and the consequences to the poor souls who already have it be damned. That, apparently, was just the kind of thinking behind at least 
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A recent meta-analysis by an accomplished international team of researchers, published in a prestigious medical journal, shows that high intake of saturated fat is exactly as bad for health as a high intake of sugar and refined starch. The study also suggests there is something far worse. The study, which pooled data from prior research and in the process aggregated findings for over 500,000 people, compared the rates ...

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shutterstock_195624278 Go ahead, eat more meat, butter and cheese. Let me know how it turns out for you. I certainly won't be joining you, despite the current popularity of the proposition. For one thing, there is no case -- none -- that eating more meat, butter and cheese would be good for us. Rather, the case is advanced these days -- 
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The prevailing sentiment in pop-culture nutrition -- propagated in books, blogs, and blather; documentaries and diatribes -- is that everything we thought we knew about diet and health until yesterday is wrong. Actually, we have a much bigger problem than that. To one degree or another, everything we thought we knew about nutrition is right -- and we are obligated to do something about it, or stay fat and sick. That's ...

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