Category Archives: Science

WHO: Red Meat, especially Processed Meat Causes Cancer

Although I believe the findings in the WHO report the conclusion of the WHO that eating processed meat, and even eating meat at all, causes cancer this information adds very little to my reasons not to eat meat.

Some of you may recall from a prior post that I chose to eat a plant based diet about the beginning of 2015.  So far I’m enjoying this choice, and finding I feel fine, like the food, and don’t feel deprived.  I believe that this dietary choice improves my odds of maintaining my health. I also feel good that I’m making a choice that supports my values on environmentalism.

My wife, my son and his girl friend made a date to watch a documentary called Cowspiracy tonight. It’s available on Netflix.   Making today an especially auspicious day I learned this morning listening to NPR about the WHO report stating their position that data concludes that eating processed meat (think bacon, pepperoni, sausage, hotdogs, etc) causes colorectal cancer, and that that red meat probably causes cancer. This is based primarily on a report of a comprehensive review of the world literature by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). This is an important conclusion because colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.

I’ve perused the comments of many friends, acquaintances  and others to this report.  Most are angrily defiant or defensive.  “Everything causes cancer.”  “God put animals on earth for us to eat.”  …  A few years ago I too would likely just buried my head in the sand and ignored this report.  Honestly in the large scheme of issues facing the worlds populace cancer caused by eating meat is not high on my list of concerns.  Unfortunately other issues related to eating meat are much nearer the top of my list.

The health consequences directly and indirectly related to animal husbandry really concern me.  About 1/3 of the ice free land on earth is dedicated to grazing or growing feed for livestock.  (per United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization).  Dead zones in our oceans are primarily caused by runoff from animal husbandry according to a Scientific American report.   Methane production from cattle may be a larger cause of global warming than energy production and use by humans.  Personally I find it much easier to eat a vegan diet than it would be to stop driving my car, heating my house and turning on my lights. I may be having a larger positive   environmental impact by a personal diet change than I could possibly have from limiting my energy consumption. For me this is a strong incentive to stay on a plant based diet.

I encourage readers to watch the documentary Cowspiracy on Netflix or whatever other source is convenient and leave comments here about how they feel after watching.

Bill Maher’s Illogical Thoughts on Vaccinations

I’m visiting my mother-in-law and so Friday night we watched Real Time with Bill Maher and I enjoyed watching satire of the news from the left side.  I recently visited my Dad and endured Fox Network’s Justice w/Judge Jeanine so Maher seemed like a Rhode’s Scholar in comparison to Ms. Pirro.  Much of what Mr. Maher… Continue Reading

Why Wait Until 60 for your Shingles Vaccine?

In 2011 Merck received FDA approval to administer Zostavax (Herpes Zoster/ shingles vaccine) in patients age 50-59.  Since 2006 Zostavax has been approved for patients age 60 and older.  So why should you wait until 60 to get shingles vaccine? I wondered this and on reading the ACIP update on Zoster Immunization released this August… Continue Reading

The Price of Success: A Hepatitis C Update

In the United States Hepatitis C recently passed HIV as a cause of death.  The USPSTF has recommended screening all baby boomers for Hepatitis C, i.e. those born between 1945 and 1965, with a category B strength of recommendation. This makes Hepatitis C screening a preventative service that is covered by all insurance policies without… Continue Reading

Real Costs of Apixaban vs. Warfarin for DVT

This is just a brief post to start a conversation on the cost of treatment of acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT)  with initial low molecular weight heparin plus warfarin vs the new and per-pill expensive apixaban (Eliquis®) recently approved by the FDA for this treatment of acute DVT and pulmonary embolism. Warfarin therapy has been the… Continue Reading

Water Fluoridation & IQ Reduction: Statistical vs. Clinical Significance

This really depends on what you mean by significance. Living in Washington, I have watched the political maneuvering in Portland, OR recently over the decision on fluoridation of the public water supply.  In Washington this topic has, over the 25 years that I’ve lived here, been among the more divisive and controversial topics.  If you… Continue Reading

Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences are Cool

Research we need even more is boring, uninteresting, and has little or no funding. I was pleased to read the news last week of the Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences, giving $3 million each to 11 actively working basic scientists in medical and biological research. This is a great idea and a way to promote… Continue Reading

Is There Finally An Effective Tennis Elbow Treatment?

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a problem that can be very difficult to treat and can try the patience of most patients.  Diagnosis is usually straightforward. If you have pain on the lateral side of the elbow, (the thumb side as you stand with your arms at your side, palms forward), over the bony… Continue Reading