Category Archives: Science

Top Science Stories of 2007

Every year Discover Magazine puts out a list of the top 100 science stories of the year. As I did last year, I want to relate those which relate to issues I deal with on my blog. Please pick up a copy of the January 2008 issue to read the full article.

#1 – China’s Syndrome – From tainted products to their terrible pollution problem, this story ranked first is one that will be with us for many years.

#4 – Artic Thaw – Climatologists are deeply concerned about the melting ice caps in the Arctic and its effects on global warming.

#5 – Rx for the FDA – If there was a governmental agency that needed fixing, it is this one. It needs to be overhauled with no industry say or influence.

#6 – Conservation Gets A Green Light – Switching from incandescent bulbs to the newer generation fluorescents would be a big boost in protecting our environment. Yes, they have a little bit of mercury in them but the reduction of pollution, and the release of mercury from coal-burning power plants makes up for that in buckets.

#8 – Can Vitamin D Save Your Life – You know how I feel about this nutrient, now the world is finding out how much we need it. Get your 2,000 IUs a day and your body will be happier and healthier.

#11 – Hormone Replacement Therapy Linked to Breast Cancer – We’ve known this for years but the drug companies were reticent to let this one out. HRT’s are bad for you, period.

#17 – Is Pollution Weeding Out Male Babies? – Worldwide we are seeing a serious threat to human survival from our insistence on polluting without regard. If we don’t do something soon, this topic will unfortunately become #1.

#21 – Quantifying Global Warming – Denialists need not go any further, we don’t want to hear the nonsense. Global warming is a reality and humans are a major part of the problem.

#22 – Pesticide Effects on Sex Last Generations in Rats – Yes, the epigenetic effect is upon us. Toxins don’t just cause health disruptions now, they seem to follow us for generations to follow. This is one of the scariest stories of the year.

Tomorrow I will go through #s 26-50

Sacramento NANP Meeting PowerPoint

Sacramento NANP Presentation in PDF format

Sacramento NANP Powerpoint

Day one of my multi-city tour is over and I would like to thank my hosts from the NANP (National Association of Nutritional Professionals) especially Trudy Scott, Certified Nutritionist. As promised, here is my PowerPoint Presentation for all of you to read and enjoy.

The Bush Administration Pulls Another Fast One

President Bush and his cronies wouldn’t know what the the idea of independent science meant if they were forced to sit in on a lecture about it for a week. Instead of allowing Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Atlanta-based CDC, freedom to tell the truth about global climate change, they “eviserated” the report forcing her to leave out much of what we need to know about the consequences of global warming.

This is why the denialists have pulpits with which to hoist their “don’t worry, be happy” nonsense. This administration refuses to allow the CDC or the Surgeon General the independence they need to protect the public. They hide the truth and feed the media conflicting data to protect the polluters who fund their campaigns.

Read more about this abomination here at President Bush is the most “anti-science” President in our nation’s history. He needs to be replaced.

Antioxidants Are Not Always a Good Thing

You’ve all heard the comment “you can get too much of a good thing” well it does come up with antioxidant use. Scientists from the University of Utah found that mice who had the gene mutation known as alpha-B crystalline produced too much glutathione in response to abnormal clumps of protein in the heart which led to heart failure. The over use of antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids are also known to be a problem with people with congestive heart failure as they need more oxidation around the heart and not less.

What this study suggests is that some people can overdose themselves with antioxidants under the impression that all oxidation is bad, it isn’t. To live we need a good amount of oxidation. It is part of how our immune system works, how we create new cells, hormones, neurotransmitters and a whole array of biochemical actions.

The key here is the way and the types of antioxidants you take. Because of the stressful and toxic world we live in, we need to be taking a variety of antioxidants daily. Things like freeze-dried Acai, Coenzyme Q10, and Vitamin C should be in everyone’s daily routine. A whey protein drink  is another good idea. What is a bad idea is the overuse of IV glutathione, something that should only be used rarely in my opinion and not for every disease and syndrome like some people who claim to be scientists do.

Doing IVs is a pharmacologic intervention that should only be used when a person is in clear and present danger from excessive oxidative stress. Oral co factors like the ones I mention above is a way to get your own body to produce the needed antioxidants like glutathione in a natural and safe manner. Train your body to be more efficient, don’t intervene and cover up a problem. It’s the smart thing to do.

Interested in the Planet Earth – Try This Informative Website

I just found a fascinating website today, Earth Portal. Instead of having a Wikipedia like system where anyone with a computer can edit and add to articles, Earth Portal has 150 authors whose credentials have been verified (along with a editor conversant within the field in question) writing articles about all things related to our planet and ourselves.

Find out how the body expels toxins, what a “dust budget” is, or the latest news about our planet. An excellent website with great information written by reliable scientists. It also has a well attended discussion forum as well.

Take some time today and visit.

Truths, Half-Truths and Myths Surrounding Global Warming

One of my favorite weekly reads is the British magazine – The New Scientist.  In their May 19-25, 2007 issue, their main article is about laying out some truths and dispelling myths about the issue of global warming. Here are some of their major points:

  • Myth – “Carbon dioxide levels only rose after the start of warm periods, so CO2 does not cause warming.” Anti-warmists claim that the evidence does not show that CO2 levels were causative factors in global warming in the past, which is true. The problem is that never in history did humans add carbon dioxide into the atmosphere above and beyond what nature has.
  • Half-truth – “It has been warmer in the past, so what’s the big deal?” Just because it has been warmer in the past doesn’t mean that getting warmer now does not have a potential for disaster.
  • Half-truth – “Human carbon dioxide emissions are tiny compared with natural sources.” True but the average CO2 levels over the past half-million years have been between 180 – 300 parts per million. Only in recent time, since the start of the Industrial Revolution, has it gone to 380 ppm. Due to carbon dating and the levels of carbon-14 in ice cores, we are pretty sure that it is human caused.
  • Myth – “…volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities.” That is simply not true. Volcanoes emit .3 gigatons of CO2 annually which is about one hundreth of the amount humans emit.
  • Myth – “It’s too cold where I live. A bit of warming will be great.” What a myopic attitude. This issue is not about weather (which is local), it is about global climate. If your area gets better, others who are too warm already, will get worse eventually affecting you. Current predictions claim that agricultural yields in most of the world will halve by 2100. Yeah but we’re warmer up north than before?  Ugh.
  • Myth – “It’s all down to cosmic rays.” Measurements of cosmic ray intensity has only started in the late 20th century and no data model has shown any relationship long-term.
  • Half-truth – “Antarctica is getting cooler and the ice sheets are getting thicker.” Yes they are but it is in part due to air circulation because of the hole in the ozone layer. As that repairs itself, the circulation is expected to change and the ice is expected to rapidly melt.
  • Myth – “It was warmer during the Middle Ages than it is now, with vineyards in England.” Actually, this seems to be a regional phenomena (local weather versus global climate).

One other issue is that it is not just how warm it is now but how much warmer it is going to get. Anti-warmists love to point out that science claimed that the planet was heading towards an ice age back in the 70’s so ha ha, why should we believe them now?  Boy is that a silly way of thinking. Hey, we thought that most ulcers were caused by stress and stomach acid back in the 70’s but now they say it is caused by heliobactor pylori so why should we believe doctors?  Hey guys, we have better science and computers than back in the 70’s. If you don’t believe it go to and check the project they are doing that could not have been done 30 years ago.

Top 100 Science Stories of 2006 – My Opinion

Discover Magazine, one of my favorites, recently (January 2007) published its annual top 100 list of science stories in 2006.  Here is a selection on my top science stories based on their list.

  1. The World Melts the Masses Mobilize (their #4) – To me, global warming is one of the most important issues of the day. The evidence is growing, but action by the world’s governments is nowhere near where it has to be to avoid disaster.
  2. Alternative Energy (their #1) – This issue dovetails into my #1 as we need to lower our dependence on fossil fuels as fast as possible. That would be both good for the environment as for our economy.
  3. RNA Flouts Rules of Heredity – (their #5) – Epigenetics, a topic I have blogged about in the past, shows us that while our DNA is important, our environment may be more critical when it comes to developing disease. This understanding may very well change the face of medicine and health in the coming decades.
  4. Fast-Food Fats Prove Health Hazard (their #14) – The tidal wave of pressure to remove trans fats from our food supply is certainly welcome to those of us concerned with health issues. To quote Dr. Walter Willet, “Trans fats are clearly toxic to humans and have no place in human diets.” Fake science Fox News? I think not.
  5. Global Warming Leaves Its Marks (their #20) – Yes, two global warming stories in my top 10. This one shows many of the real devastating consequences of our environmental disaster. To those who deny its existence, please open your eyes and reflect on what is happening. If you are right, we waste some money, if you are wrong, our world is headed for a magnitude of disaster not seen since the last mass extinction 60 million years ago.
  6. New Tests Help Chemotherapy Hit the Mark (their #34) – As many of you know, I work in the lab interpretation business so this intrigues me to no end. Imagine that instead of just guessing which chemotherapy drug to use for a person, there could be a test to determine which would be best for them. Wow, the concept of biochemical individuality being used in medicine. What a shame its taken so long.
  7. Low-Fat Diet A Bust? (their #53) – Low-fat diets may not be as beneficial as was once thought. It is more important to eat the right fats than to eliminate fats. Stop eating trans and lower the intake of saturated fats is the way to go. Thank God medicine is realizing something many of us in the nutritional field have known for a long time.
  8. Polio’s Return Traced to Lapses in India (their #60) – Being a Rotarian, polio eradication has long been one of our organizations goal. This devastating disease must be stopped at all costs. Continually monitoring the outbreaks and educating the populous about the availability of a vaccine against polio is critical into making this disease a thing of the past.
  9. Tissue Engineering Triumph: Lab-Grown Bladders (their #2) – Being able to grow organs outside the body will have dramatic ramifications. While the initial success was based on a small trial, this form of research may save millions of lives in the future.
  10. Stem Cell Setbacks Inspire New Methods (their #15) – Despite not achieving much success with stem cells in the past, these failures did not dispel the belief in continuing research. No, it has spawned new techniques and more public funding which now seems to be paying off. There seems to be ways of harvesting stem cells without using embryos, something which should please many of the opponents of this type of research.

Well, I hope you were interested in my list.  I really suggest you get Discover this month. It is well worth it.

Increased Spending on Science Needed

While I am always a little hesitant for our government to open its purse strings and spend our money, a bill proposed by a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators needs our support.  Called the PACE Act (Protecting America’s Competitive Edge) it is a first step towards increasing spending in the field of science and math. Instead of spending money on pork barrel projects like bridges in Alaska that no one will use, we need to help stimulate an improvement in our worldwide standing in science, math and engineering.

By improving our educational system, not with the failing rhetoric that is “No Child Left Behind”, but with better funding for education (note I didn’t say more, I said better) especially in fields of science and math.