Category Archives: Health

The American Heart Association

continues to preach junk science:

The American Heart Association recommends a heart-healthy dietary pattern emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other nutritious foods and specifically that at least half of grain consumption should be whole grains. Whole grains provide many nutrients, such as fiber, B vitamins, and minerals, which are removed during the refining process.

No protein, no fat. This is the kind of diet that helped kill my father from his second heart attack decades ago, at age 55.


In light of the news earlier this week of the discovery of a resistant strain of E. coli, this looks like good news from Harvard:

Erythromycin, which was discovered in a soil sample from the Philippines in 1949, has been on the market as a drug by 1953. “For 60 years chemists have been very, very creative, finding clever ways to ‘decorate’ this molecule, making changes around its periphery to produce antibiotics that are safer, more effective, and overcome the resistance bacteria have developed,” says Dr. Myers, Amory Houghton Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. “That process is semisynthesis, modifying the naturally occurring substance.”

In contrast, the process described in the Nature study involves using “eight industrial chemicals, or substances derived from them,” according to Dr. Myers, and manipulating them in various combinations and then testing the products against panels of disease causing bacteria. This allows us to make new “new compounds in fewer steps than was previously possible.”

For a host of reasons, from the difficulty of developing antibiotics to the relatively low return on investment they offer, by 2013 the number of international pharmaceutical companies developing antibiotics had dwindled to four. And in each 5-year period from 1983 through 2007, the number of new antibiotics approved for use in the U.S. decreased, from 16 at the beginning of that period to only five by its end.

One thing that has complicated antibiotic development is a perceived reluctance by federal agencies to fund the research. In fact, Dr. Myers says, his new antibiotic development system would have been impossible without support from a Harvard alum and his wife who are interested in science and Harvard’s Blavatnik Accelerator Fund, which provided support for the initial creation of Myers’s company Macrolide Pharmaceuticals.

“I was making a presentation to a group of visiting alumns interested in science and one, Alastair Mactaggart, asked me about funding. I told him I had no funding because at that time we didn’t, and he followed me back to my office and said, ‘this is ridiculous: we have to do something about this’.”

Gee, it’s almost as though the government is completely incompetent at its core functions while busying itself with things that are none of its business.

Nutrition Labels

The guy who came up with the stupid idea says they don’t work:

If the nutrition label doesn’t work, how else can the government help consumers make more informed, healthier choices? For starters, the FDA should be more like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the people who created the Internet. Instead of just focusing on trying to fix the unfixable, the FDA could shift its focus toward thinking more creatively about viable solutions and give up on what isn’t working.

First, the FDA would need to honestly concede how little it knows about how different foods and food combinations actually affect individuals with distinct genetic and environmental factors, along with their personal preferences or capacity (or willingness) to exercise. The FDA would need to expand its base of knowledge and understanding within these areas and then consider how manufacturers and consumers would respond to any changes the FDA suggests as a result.

But that would involve having to do real science.

And of course, despite their failure, Michelle and the FDA commissioner continue to cheer lead for them.

[Update a while later]

Sorry, there’s nothing magical about breakfast.

I rarely eat breakfast, except on weekends, or vacation. I’ll generally go all day without eating if I’m just working at home. But when I do eat breakfast, I try to make it mostly protein and fat. Cereal is a dietary abomination, invented by a scientific whack job in Battle Creek.

Bill Nye

…the climate huckster guy:

Admittedly, climate science is complex. There might be perfectly reasonable scientific justifications for what’s happening on the tornado front. Although, surely, there are just as likely interesting scientific arguments that challenge The Science Guy’s chilling and reckless assertions meant only to scare you into adopting leftist economic policy, not to teach you anything. Nye’s “science” is, at the very least, arguable.

But that’s not the reason Nye is dishonest. Or, at least, not the only reason. His biggest lie—and he makes these sorts of claims all the time—is that people are increasingly suffering because of global warming, and thus by extension they are suffering because of the use of fossil fuels.

This is simply untrue. Life, by nearly any quantifiable measurement, is better today for more people than it has ever been. One of the externalities in the spike of comfort and health is that more people are emitting carbon into the air. Fewer people are suffering. On top of the huge, if inadvertent, moral benefits of oil, gas, and coal, we should add that far fewer people are dying from drastic weather events—or any weather, actually.

These charlatans shouldn’t be surprised that people don’t take them seriously.

John Roberts

How he gave us Donald Trump.

That was certainly a huge factor. That ObamaCare decision was a legal atrocity.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Trump has shown that conservatism doesn’t really matter to the GOP.

I think we sort of figured that out with the first President Bush (that Veep pick was probably one of Reagan’s most damaging decisions). This is just the natural culmination of the process.

I was noting this morning on Twitter that Rush Limbaugh must be kicking himself to realize how easy it is for a wealthy communicator to have taken over the party. I’d have happily supported him.