Category Archives: Health

The Dangers Of Mars

The movie understates them. I vehemently disagree with this, though:

Martian gravity is roughly one-third the gravity on Earth. Experiments on the International Space Station show that plants, animals and humans all suffer in weightlessness, but no one knows how living creatures will fare in reduced gravity.

“Maybe plants will be happy, maybe animals will be happy, maybe humans will be happy,” McKay says. “Or maybe not.” The effect of reduced gravity isn’t easily tested ahead of time and though probably not a huge problem, it could be a “showstopper,” McKay says.

It is easily tested ahead of time. Stop wasting money on a giant rocket and build a gravity lab. The fact that we’re not is one of the strongest indicators that neither NASA or Congress are serious about Mars.

[Update a few minutes later]

Barriers to colonizing Mars. I don’t buy this number for a minute, though:

NASA’s current Mars mission concept would set us back about $50 billion over the course of a decade, or about twice as much as the moon program cost between 1962 and 1972.

First, in current-year dollars, we spent more like a hundred billion on Apollo (the $25B is in sixties dollars). But they’re probably going to spend that much just on SLS/Orion, without any actual Mars hardware.

[Late-morning update]

Don’t worry, Matt Damon won’t get stranded on Mars, because NASA can’t get him there.

More Junk Nutrition Science

This is appalling:

While eliminating saturated fats can improve heart health, a new study shows that it makes a difference which foods are used in their place. A study shows that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats and high-quality carbohydrates has the most impact on reducing the risk of heart disease. When saturated fats were replaced with highly processed foods, there was no benefit.

You don’t say.

In other words, you’re replacing good stuff with bad stuff, but when you replace the good stuff with less-terrible stuff, your results aren’t as bad. Pro tip to cardiologists: There is zero scientific evidence that eliminating saturated fat improves heart health.

And here’s a chef who’s an idiot.

Yes, restaurants are making you fat, but not because they’re serving you fat.

Ending The War On Dietary Fat

More and more people are figuring out that the low-fat diet recommendations have been making things worse:

Now when we hold our annual sixteen-week Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge, the longest-running event of its kind in the country that draws over hundreds of people each year, we tell participants that they won’t see any significant weight loss unless they also make substantial changes in what they eat. A low-carb information and support group follows each weekly hour-long work-out, and our cooking demonstrations show people how they can switch to a low-carb lifestyle and lose weight without going hungry as they used to with low-fat, calorie-restricted diets.

Diabetic and overweight patients in a local hospital are already getting terrific results following a low-carb, high-fat approach. While it’s too soon to see measurable changes in overall obesity rates in our city with our new approach, we think we are now on the right track in advising our residents to stay away from low-fat products and diets and to incorporate healthy fats while limiting sugars and refined grains. For those who are already following this advice, we are seeing terrific results.

Interesting that they’re also backing off on the recommendation to exercise, at least with regard to weight loss.

Anyway, someone should tell Michelle Obama, on the slight hope that she’ll end her nationwide industrial-grade low-fat child abuse in the schools.

[Update late morning]

CSPI strikes back. Stupidly (as usual).

In a just world, CSPI would be sued for all of the premature deaths it has helped cause through its long-time promotion of junk science.

Heart-Attack Tissue Damage

Could it be repaired with a protein patch?

Let’s hope.

[Update a while later]

Growing new nerves with 3-D printing.

I think if I can hang in for a few more years, I’ll have an opportunity to live a long time.

[Friday-morning update]

Kidneys have been grown from stem cells that are fully functional in pigs. No obvious reason it won’t work in humans as well. This will save and improve millions of lives, and money for dialysis.


Dear Hillary

A debate over a law is never “over”:

As this debate moves forward toward the next election I would hope that Republicans and conservatives take the opportunity to remind voters that our entire system of government is, to varying degrees, a flexible and constantly shifting beast. Obamacare is, beyond question, the law of the land as it stands today. It’s also true that a couple of aspects of it have been challenged through the proper rules of order and have survived the test all the way to the highest court. But absolutely none of that has magically transformed this piece of legislation into some sort of natural law, essential human right or sacred text brought down on stone tablets from Mount Sinai.

The law of the land is as permanent as the voters decide it should be. Its expiration date may never come or it may be swept way with the next meeting of the legislature. There is no debate over the law which ever truly ends as long as there are those left who wish to debate it.

It’s almost as thought they want to silence dissent.