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Columnist ‘discovers’ special studies: Duh! and Huh?

For your weekend entertainment, I offer you Melinda Beck’s funny and provocative Wall Street Journal column of last Tuesday in which she muses about starting two of her own scholarly medical journals: Duh!

Donating umbilical cord blood is easier said than done in Minnesota

Almost immediately after my grandson was born earlier this month, my daughter’s ob-gyn went to work preparing the umbilical cord so that its blood stem cells could be donated for either life-saving medical treatments or research.
The ob-gyn struggle

‘Red wine’ pills: Caveat emptor

“The marketing frenzy surrounding resveratrol is a prime example of how science can be distorted when it is mingled with hope, amplified for buzz and spun for profit,” says a new article exploring what we know (and don’t) about “red wine” pills.

Calorie counting: a delusion?

Most weight-loss diets encourage people to count calories. And our packaged foods dutifully list calories on their labels.
But where did those numbers actually come from?

A chilling look at phthalates’ effects on health

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has written another chilling column on the health dangers of endocrine disruptors, which are such a prevalent, if hidden, part of our everyday lives.

The myth of early detection

It takes a long time for a paradigm shift to occur in the medical world. And there’s always a lot of shouting and kicking while the fault lines rearrange themselves.

Study: One in three breast cancers overdiagnosed

The continuing controversy regarding mammography screening for breast cancer surfaced again last week with a new study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that found “one in three breast cancers detected in a population offered organized screening i

Of birthing and the bizarre: freeze-dried placenta

As I write this, I’m on baby watch, ready to go into action as my daughter’s unofficial doula at the birth of her first child.
It’s also Friday, the day of the week when I prefer to post on health topics that are out-of-the-ordinary or perhaps even

More doubts about prostate cancer screening

On Father’s Day last month, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and radio shock jock Don Imus co-authored an op-ed for the Boston Globe in which they argued that men needed to be sure they received regular preventive screening check-ups for prostate cancer.

Vegetarianism linked to lower cancer risk

Need an incentive to join Sir Paul McCartney’s “Meat Free Monday” campaign?Here’s one: A British study has found that vegetarians have a lower risk of developing cancer than their carnivore colleagues.The study, published in the British Journal of

Can heavy-duty cycling affect male fertility?

Does cycling damage men’s sperm?Yes, suggests the findings of a study presented Monday at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Amsterdam.

The games scientists must play

I’ve heard scientists grumble about the time, effort and frustration involved in applying for research grants, but I wasn’t aware how the process can stymie innovative thinking — and hold back breakthrough treatments for disease — until I read repor

Shocking! Woman’s hair turns white overnight (well, almost overnight)

Canities subita — the sudden, seemingly “overnight” onset of white hair — is a medical condition that is 1) non-life-threatening and 2) extremely unlikely to happen to you.But the condition is also odd and fascinating — one that has, as the physicia