American Council on Science and Health The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) is a consumer education consortium concerned with issues related to food, nutrition, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, lifestyle, the environment and health. ACSH is one of the few fearless voices of reason on these matters.
Christopher Whalen One guy who really understands the financial crisis. Brilliant insights. Links to his other sites.
The Coach's Team Coach Kevin Collins has an impressive resume, and uses all of his talents to demolish the Left. Site includes some guest columnists, as well.
Discussions In Infection Control This blog, designed and written exclusively by Lawrence F Muscarella, PhD, gives you the most comprehensive discussion of healthcare-associated (hospital) infections (or, “HAIs”), infection control, and both instrument and endoscope reprocessing in the world.
Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Provides much-needed balance to the increasingly strident health care lobby that seems intent on scaring everyone about almost everything.
Formaldehyde Facts Your antidote to formaldehyde phobia in the media, from ACC's formaldehyde panel.
Health Care Renewal Expert analysis of what's wrong with American health care. Advocating for accountability, integrity, transparency, honesty, and ethics in leadership and governance of health care.
Health News Digest One of the best and biggest health sites on the web. New content on a daily basis, geared to the professional and informed lay audience.
Interscan Corporation The independent pros in gas detection, known for taking on the tough applications. Site has much technical material, way beyond mere product touts.
Jewish World Review One of the original news/opinion aggregate sites. Founder/Editor-in-Chief/Publisher Binyamin L. Jolkovsky calls it "The intersection of faith, culture and politics." Loaded with content tending toward politically conservative. An oasis for energetic Judaism.
JunkScience.com Steven Milloy and company do a great job in exposing junk science, which he defines as: Faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special and, often, hidden agendas. Lots of good content.
Loren Feldman Feldman does videos, marketing, commentary and...puppets. He also understands tech and art.
Overlawyered Chronicling the high cost of our legal system. Water Olson and company explore an American legal system that too often turns litigation into a weapon against guilty and innocent alike, erodes individual responsibility, rewards sharp practice, enriches its participants at the public’s expense, and resists even modest efforts at reform and accountability.
Paradigms and Demographics Ohio-based "bug guy" Rich Kozlovich dishes on junk science, junk politics, and many other matters. Rich is also on the prowl 24/7 for supplemental content written by Others. And he still has time to kill pests!
Quiet Music Nick Francis is a superb music programmer. Of course, it helps that he has an encyclopedic knowledge of music. Stream, subscribe, enjoy.
Selwyn Duke Hard-hitting and well-written conservative commentary, from a modern day renaissance man. The Duke is not afraid to ruffle some feathers, or invoke his Catholic faith, either.
SenSoft International Expert assistance on GSA, VA, DOD, and other federal contracts. Yes, there really can be great customer service in such an esoteric space.
The Excel Addict Most of us use Excel. Some of us use it a lot, and are constantly looking for easier ways to do things. Francis Hayes--the Excel Addict--offers plenty of free tips, a regular newsletter, and an inexpensive book to download.
The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics Everything you know about cholesterol causing heart disease is wrong, and this website is run by eminent doctors who are trying to set the record straight. But, with billions of dollars in drug sales at stake, it won't be easy.
The Nutrition Experts The name says it all. Jo-Ann Heslin and Karen Nolan have sold millions of books, and have re-launched their information-packed website. What's more, they encourage website visitors to submit questions.
Weasel Zippers Conservative commentary from all over the Web. Updated constantly.
Zero Hedge Works to...
Widen the scope of financial, economic and political information available to the professional investing public; provide analysis uninhibited by political constraint; liberate oppressed knowledge
This HND piece focuses on our largest organ—the skin. We discuss its profound reaction to the turmoil that may be going on inside you, referencing Ted Grossbart's breakthrough book, as well as the interesting research from Japan's Hajime Kimata, in which laughter is shown to be great medicine for those with skin conditions.
We also spotlight topical abdominal toning creams, including a new product from Aviator Skin and Hair.
This week's HND piece examines the physical therapy and training method called "Whole Body Vibration." I take you through the history, which includes Swedish fitness pioneer Dr. Gustav Zander, and full-on health nut Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, brother of the corn flakes magnate.
Yeah, I'd call someone a "nut," who thought sex was bad for you, and bragged that he and his wife had not partaken in 40 years.
Proponents of WBV, as it is usually abbreviated, make some extravagant claims, but so far the clinical data does not quite match up with them.
While the main focus of the article is on proper cleaning techniques for the now-ubiquitous LCD screens—including a great product originally developed for NASA and the military—we speculate on when "clean" jumped from a macro to a micro phenomenon. Thus, I discuss Germ theory, as well as describe one of the first homicide cases solved by trace evidence.
For those who want more sordid details on this 1936 murder in NYC, grab the particulars, and then Google the case.
Late last year, Pfizer started running a print campaign on Lipitor® with the unintentionally paradoxical headline "Are You Kidding Yourself?"
Let's examine the copy...
"Did you know, more than 80% of people who have had heart attacks have high cholesterol?"
Try as I might, I cannot find a source for this assertion, which is also made on the product's website.
Interestingly, this flies in the face of conclusions from the famed Framingham study, which found that as many as one third of all coronary heart disease (CHD) events occurred in individuals with total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dL.
Considering that the average U.S. cholesterol level is approximately 210 to 220 mg/dL, almost half of all heart attack events and all stroke events that will occur in the United States in 1997 will in fact occur among individuals with below-average lipid levels.1
I did find an "80 percent" quote, but it doesn't exactly support Pfizer's assertions, either:
Framingham researchers reported that “80 percent of heart attack patients had similar lipid levels [i.e., fat levels in the blood] to those who did not have heart attacks.”2
"For 2 out of 3 people with high cholesterol, diet and exercise may not be enough."
I'm not sure where they got that one, but it's pretty vague, isn't it? For one thing, they are not defining "high cholesterol," and "may not" be enough is hardly a scientific fact.
After all, it "may" or "may not" be enough, according to that logic. Besides, what's "enough" supposed to signify?
Along with diet, Lipitor has been shown to lower bad cholesterol 39-60% (average effect depending on dose).
Well, no one is disputing that the drug lowers bad cholesterol, and, indeed, that's what the FDA approved. However, Lipitor is not very effective in preventing heart attacks, and that's surely why people are taking it!
Pifzer once claimed that the drug reduces heart attacks by 36 percent, but when you read the fine print you discover what that really means.
In a large clinical study, 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2% of patients taking Lipitor.
Or, put another way: For every 100 people who took the drug over 3.3 years, three people on placebos, and two people on Lipitor, had heart attacks. That means that taking Lipitor resulted in just one fewer heart attack per 100 people.
What dietary changes did these subjects undergo? What about other lifestyle factors? Were they all normalized?
The display ad is accompanied by "Important Facts," which address some of the side effects of the drug. Any drug that messes with how your liver processes cholesterol is going to have plenty of side effects, and some of them are quite nasty.
The tag line of the ad is "Don't kid yourself." That's one thing that Pfizer and I can agree on.
2 Gordon, T., Castelli, W.P., Hjortland, M.C., et al, “High density lipoprotein as a positive factor against coronary heart disease,” The Framingham Study, American Journal of Medicine May 1977;707-714
My latest HND entry includes a brief look at water ionizers. These devices apply electrolysis to tap water, yielding so-called alkaline and acidic water. Many health claims are proffered for alkaline water, although they seem to run contrary to basic human biochemistry. Ultimately, the choice is up to the individual. Good uses are also promoted for the acidic water, although it is normally not taken internally.
Bear in mind that within conventional allopathic medicine, the exact mechanism of action of perhaps the majority of pharmaceutical drugs is not well understood. And, substances which should have no effect or sometimes even harmful effects can become well-accepted as legitimate therapies. Indeed, the deadly botulism toxin, was reborn as Botox.
It should also be noted that several drugs—including some of the most popular such as statins—do not actually make any true therapeutic claims, per se. Rather, they are FDA approved because they "optimize" the concentrations of certain blood components. The optimum concentrations are widely assumed to offer health benefits, but in point of fact, this has hardly ever been proven.
As you can see, this "logic" is not terribly different from individuals claiming therapeutic benefits for water treated in a particular manner.
The piece gives some coverage to one company in the ionizer space that really tries to do things right, and has compiled more test results on more ionizers than just about anyone else.
Interscan was the first company to realize the importance of data logging in the field of gas detection, coming out with its dosimeters way back in the early 1980s. This was followed by a complete data acquisition/archiving/reporting package called Arc-Max®, introduced a few years later.
When Windows arrived on the scene, Interscan revamped Arc-Max to be based on a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) engine—for enhanced reliability and compatibility with sensors besides its own.
This latest version of Arc-Max is more user-friendly, and lends itself better to customization. Process and environmental sensors can be mixed and matched more readily, and the reporting features can be tweaked to give you exactly what you want.
Virtually all common communication protocols are supported, and the new system is easier to network.
The Interscan team took on the challenge that the big boys ran away from: A big CO monitoring system with plenty of oddball special features required by the customer.
Not only did they take up the challenge, they delivered an honest-to-God bravura system, with plenty of fancy control and all touchscreen operator interface. The dual-purpose unit will maintain detailed records of employee exposure, and--in conjunction with a building management system--will also be used to control ventilation in the structure.
As such, the amount of outside air brought in will be sufficient to maintain a healthy environment, without needlessly taxing the heating and air conditioning. Thus, energy is being saved. As one of the guys noted, "Green heavy equipment is being perfected inside a green building that is energy efficient."
All user control of the gas detection system is via touchscreen, and a remote annunciator panel provides additional indication of potentially dangerous carbon monoxide levels in the facility. In all, 32 sampling points are continuously monitoring the air in the testing center.
"There were numerous design challenges in this application," says Scott Richards, Interscan's systems manager. "The size of the equipment being tested in the building, with vehicles as tall as 30 feet (9m), along with the requirement that air sample be drawn from high up, precluded the use of diffusion head sensors."
"Moreover, even with a sample-draw approach (utilizing a diaphragm pump bringing sample back to the analyzer enclosure), conventional end-of-line sample filters could not be employed. Who would want to change them 40 feet (12 m) up in the air?"
"Instead, we chose to use in-line filtration at ground level, along with an automatic sample line backflush feature. Remember, many of these vehicles are diesel-powered, and in test mode they could be putting some particulate into the air," added Richards.
Another factor to be overcome was RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) caused by the omnipresent two-way radios. Special packaging was utilized to combat the effects of RFI on the system electronics.
The monitoring system includes Interscan's popular Arc-Max® data acquisition/archiving package, which will keep track of employee exposure to carbon monoxide, in accordance with OSHA guidelines.
Richards concludes, "As far as we know, this system represents the most extensive use of automation controls ever seen, in a gas detection system."
Kudos to Scott Richards and Omer Gokcen--engineers extraordinaire.
To understand pollution and toxic exposure, you've got to measure it. AND, as you measure it, you need to record it. That's where data logging and data acquisition come in.
Interscan's Nomad data loggers have long been employed in survey applications, and now boast some great new features, including being able to accept several types of inputs, as well as a greatly expanded storage capacity.