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American Council on Science and Health

SCOTUS Weighs In On Paying for Dialysis

Today, nearly 15% of the population has some degree of chronic kidney (renal) disease and 750,000 have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), with 70% requiring dialysis. Medicare provides health coverage to patients with ESRD irrespective of age. These Medicare payments were the first attempt at “Medicare for All,” which was signed into law by President Nixon one week before his re-election in 1972. For individuals not old enough to qualify for Medicare, there is a 30-month period during which they must use their funds or commercial (private) health insurance to cover the dialysis costs. The latest Supreme Court decision continues an ugly game played by private insurers and dialysis companies over how much is to be charged for that care. This is wrong in so many ways.
CONGRESS & COURTS
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Biopharmaceutical Innovation Should be Championed

One thing we have learned during the pandemic is that medical innovation cannot rest on its laurels. We should expect relentless commitment toward future innovation from the private and public sectors that fund such endeavors, the regulatory bodies that review and approve new treatments, and institutions such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that provide swift and straightforward recommendations.
MEDICAL & BIOTECH

Every Picture Tells A Story - Numbers over Words

“When you use a word to describe the likelihood of a probabilistic outcome, you have a lot of wiggle room to make yourself look good after the fact. If a predicted event happens, one might declare: “I told you it would probably happen.” If it doesn’t happen, the fallback might be: “I only said it would probably happen.” – Harvard Business Review.
SCIENCE

The Ethics of Head Transplants and Other Stories of Angels Dancing on Pins (Part II)

Need to catch up? My first article on this topic can be found here. Many questions presented in the Journal were thought-podiums for philosophical meanderings having little to do with reality, science, or medicine. However, the issues are presented as real and pressing conundrums. Besides the scientific difficulties of connecting two spinal cords, and their nervous and vascular connections, there are issues of host-graft rejection and immunosuppression, which are never even raised. Further, the value.
SCIENCE

Podcast: Blame Your Genes For Type 2 Diabetes? Go Vegan To Lose Weight?

Join ACSH directors of bio-sciences and medicine, Cameron English and Dr. Chuck Dinerstein, as they break down these stories:. Good genes and a good diet should spare most of us from developing type II diabetes. The popular nutritional thought suggests that it is predominantly a bad diet, perhaps woven with a genetic “propensity” that gets the rest of us in trouble. A new observational study pulls at the threads of that argument.
WEIGHT LOSS

Let's Talk About Nicotine

The decision by the FDA to require lower nicotine levels in cigarettes is predicated on the idea that by lowering the dose sufficiently, a non-addictive cigarette could be created. What scientific evidence do we have on what that nicotine dosage might be? To find an answer, I looked at a nicotine review from 2012. Here is what I found.
HEALTH

The FDA Is On A Quest to Snuff Out Tobacco Harm‐​Reduction

The Food and Drug Administration has dealt two deadly blows to tobacco harm reduction in the past two days. Yesterday the Biden Administration announced that the FDA will publish a proposed rule next year requiring tobacco companies to gradually eliminate practically all of the nicotine in cigarettes. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports the FDA plans to order all Juul menthol and tobacco-flavored e‑cigarettes off the market in the U.S.
U.S. POLITICS

Standing On One Foot

Among the many changes as we age are a loss of flexibility, muscle mass and strength, balance, and weight gain. All these factors are found among the frail and not-so-frail in varying measures. Tests of muscle strength, a walking test, and hand grip have been successfully used to predict frailty, mortality, and perhaps just as important, the likelihood of falling. (Falling remains a significant cause of accidental death amongst the oldsters)
FITNESS

Vaping Prohibition: FDA Bans JUUL E-Cigarettes

Let's say you wanted to keep as many people smoking as possible. How would you do it? Your best move would be to restrict consumer access to the most popular and effective smoking cessation tool we know of. You could fund low-grade research attacking the product and deny you did so; you could enforce pointless regulations that effectively ban the most popular versions of the product while exempting combustible cigarettes from the same oversight.
PHARMACEUTICALS

Meat, Milk From Gene-Edited Cows Safe to Eat? New Study Says 'Yes'

Scientists have known for many years that genetically engineered (GE) crops pose no greater risk to human health or the environment than their conventional counterparts. A similar case has been made for GE animals as evidence accumulates that we can safely apply the tools of biotechnology to achieve all sorts of useful ends, such as engineering disease-resistant pigs and hornless dairy cattle. The authors of a study recently published in GEN Biotechnology have gathered additional data that tells a similar story.
AGRICULTURE

A Science Lesson for NYC Shoplifters

Trip report: Josh goes into a Manhattan CVS to buy some Tylenol and then steals a piano with a little help from ACSH colleagues. Well, this was sure eye-opening. Very little surprises even former New Yorkers, but let's just say that the city has seen better days (1) and I avoid it when possible. Picture a scene from The Walking Dead with most of them sitting around, not walking.
NEW YORK CITY, NY

Interpreting Food Certification Labels

Food certification labels do not indicate better nutrition or quality. These labels cannot guarantee better human nutrition or health; they are marketing devices using a set of standards concerned with one or more of the following. social issues. environmental impacts. dietary restrictions. animal welfare. fair trade. Some promote ‘sustainability,’ a...
FOOD SAFETY

What I Am Reading June 23rd

“Humans, it seems, have far fewer genes than had been expected — in fact, only a third more than the lowly roundworm. How can this be? And what does it mean? Are we really so similar to, and so little more than, mere worms? … For the answer to this question, it seems that we will have to look to the regulatory dynamics that determine how the sequence information of the DNA is to be used by the cell. Here, in the complex regulation of genetic transcription, of translation, of protein structure and function, is where we will find what makes us human beings rather than worms, flies or mice. Knowledge of the sequence of our DNA can tell us an enormous amount, but it can almost certainly not tell us who we are.”
PROVINCETOWN, MA

Podcast: Paxlovid's Waning Efficacy? Epoch Times' Anti-Glyphosate Hysteria Debunked

Join ACSH directors of bio-sciences and chemistry, Cameron English and Dr. Josh Bloom, as they break down these stories:. A recent study showed that Pfizer's Paxlovid, the most effective Covid drug, failed to prevent infection when given to people who were exposed to the virus but had not yet become infected. Bad news, right? Actually, no - it's quite the opposite. Here's why.
SCIENCE

Thinking Out Loud: The Texas Two-Step

It's not the Macarena or a line dance but a Texas law involving the creation of a corporate entity. You know there will be a problem when a law that “creates” a new corporation is designed to take an old corporation apart. Like three-card Monte, a street con, it involves a bit of diversion and sleight of hand.
TEXAS STATE