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11 months

Saturated Fat: Weighed, Measured, and Found Wanting

A stunningly good, extraordinarily comprehensive paper on the health effects of saturated fat in our diets has weighed them in every relevant way, measured them with every pertinent metric, and found them wanting. There are no saturated fatty acids shown to be better than “harmless at best,” and those we consume most often and abundantly in fatty meats, processed meats, fast foods, dairy and processed dairy products are decisively worse than that. They are bad for us.

11 months

Medicine and Metaphor

I am an equal opportunity doubter. I doubt the teachings of my own conventional medicine, knowing how readily we succumb to the transgression of close-mindedness, welcoming only news ensconced within the confines of our native comforts and conventions. I doubt the teachings of so-called Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) as well, having seen them wander into the realm known pejoratively as “woo,” and perpetrate the opposing transgression: a mind so open that brains flop out.

11 months

The Vegan Argument

Can we say whether or not a well balanced, vegan diet is best for human health? I will tell you the answer momentarily, but first- reasons for posing the question now.

11 months

Medicine for Another Day

A “new era” in medicine does not come along very often. We had one, perhaps, in 1854 when John Snow effectively invented the practical applications of epidemiology by removing the handle from London’s Broad Street water pump. We had one about 50 years prior when Edward Jenner discovered the prevention of smallpox with vaccination. We had one when the value to public health of basic sanitation was first sorted out; we had one when micronutrients were discovered to cure and prevent various deficiency syndromes; and we had one when Alexander Fleming and a bit of serendipity combined to discover penicillin, and usher in the antibiotic age. 

11 months

Zip Codes of Medical Destiny

When the PURE diet study papers roiled headlines around the world recently, I wrote an admittedly lengthy analysis. I didn’t feel I had much choice; the publications encompassed three distinct research papers, reams of data, and a whole lot of what proved to be mostly misguided interpretation of the findings by the media, and the investigators themselves. Getting the story sorted out reliably involved some heavy lifting, and considerable verbiage.

11 months

Personalise Patient Decision Support Systems

A clinical decision support system (CDSS) is a health information technology system that is designed to provide physicians and other health professionals with clinical decision support (CDS), that is, assistance with clinical decision-making tasks. A working definition has been proposed by Robert Hayward of the Centre for Health Evidence: "Clinical decision support systems link health observations with health knowledge to influence health choices by clinicians for improved health care". CDSSs constitute a major topic in artificial intelligence in medicine.

11 months

Personalizing Medicine, Past Reductionism

Personalizing medicine is among the salient themes of modern advance, and clearly among the more widely captivating. President Obama emphasized “precision medicine,” effectively the same thing, as a priority for the nation in the context of the cancer moonshot he endorsed in his State of the Union Address in 2016. In the past year, two radical cancer treatment advances have been announced, one for leukemia, one for lymphoma, both involving the genetic re-engineering of a patient’s own cells into customized chemotherapy.

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