Thursday, January 31, 2008

You, me and Mercury

A quick look at my limited data set. An obvious ploy to avoid either a new entry, or working up an old one. Yes, I am a lazy sumbitch today. But after wasting a minute reading this almost useless dreck,
take a look at new image of the planet mercury.

United States52 (88.14%)
Germany2 (3.39%)
United Kingdom2 (3.39%)
Austria1 (1.69%)
Canada1 (1.69%)
Romania1 (1.69%)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Observational Science and you

Some will try to tell you that science is based on theory and experimentation. Yet vast amounts of scientific knowledge and conclusion is based on observation alone. Of course to be scientific observation is combined with record keeping, logical analysis of data gathered, efforts to refine and objectify the observation, sharing information with other scientist, and repeated observation. This is critical for observation to be considered scientific.

To be scientific, others must be able to repeat the observation, or view records that have been made of observed events. Weather, (Meteorology), Astronomy, Oceanography, Geology, the list is long of observable nature and branches of science that study nature. Experiments are limited, so science will focus on better ways to observe and record what is occurring, to gain understanding of the nature of our Universe.

Oh, but what about you? The reader of these words, that would be you, right now, at this very moment, a scientific event is happening. You, or more precisely, the computer you are using, as well as other factors, is being recorded. Your attention has become a matter of science, a record is being made. The time, the place, the type of computer, the browser, all are being added to a scientific database of information about this page.

Don't worry, your privacy isn't being violated, no personal data is being recorded, your Internet number (IP address) isn't recorded, or available to myself, or anyone else reading here.

This data is only being studied by myself. It is most interesting because I have made no effort to publicize or announce these humble efforts. And unless you say something, I don't have any scientific knowledge of how you came to be spending your time reading here.

And due to the limited amount of data that is actually recorded, it is possible that nobody has read anything, that the page loaded onto your computer, but was not viewed. To the mindless server that is gathering the traffic data, it is the same event.

One way I can learn more is to have you input information, by adding a comment, where you become part of the science, rather than just an observer. That nobody has, is understandable. I wouldn't either, if this was somebody else's blog.

Because you are, at this point in time, a small part of a data set, you will know more than most if I do a scientific thing, and share information with you. At this exact moment, according to the best information I can gather, here is what I know about you, the anonymous eyeballs out there in the world.

Where you are (at this moment)
United States47 (92.16%)
United Kingdom2 (3.92%)
Austria1 (1.96%)
Germany1 (1.96%)

What Browser you are using:
Firefox (80.39%)
Internet Explorer 7.08 (15.69%)
Internet Explorer 6.01 (1.96%)
Safari 523.12.21 (1.96%)

OS Count
WinXP50 (98.04%)
MacOSX1 (1.96%)

So, in regards to observational science and you, by looking at this information, somebody can make conclusions, based on the evidence presented.

The most obvious is that one person using a Mac (I envy you) viewed a page. Because I have data from the past, I know that same viewer used Safari 523.12.2 to load a page. I suspect you are in England, based on other data.

None of this is proof. It is a conclusion based on observation, drawing on limited data. The data could be flawed, my interpretation could be flawed. To know with certainty, in a scientific sense, all factors that might distort the information have to be corrected, or accounted for.

This doesn't mean it isn't a scientific conclusion, conclusions based on available knowledge are often wrong. As more data is gathered, our understanding will increase, and at some point, in regards to some things, we can reach a level of surety, where the matter will not be "do we know", but more along the lines of "how do we know", "why did it happen", "can we predict future events", and other questions. Science marches on.

And that is it for this Wednesday morning. If you have slogged all the way down here reading this, thank you. I don't know who you are, and you may not know who I am, but you certainly seem interested. That is a wonderful quality in a human being.

That you are a human being, I would say with 100% certainty. Some things we know to be true. Of course I could be wrong, and you are an alien from another planet, which means I was 100% wrong. But if that is the case, I don't care! It means that an alien is reading my blog, and understands written English, and that scientific discovery is so huge nobody will care that I was wrong about saying you were human.

Do you think there is even the slightest chance of that?

Based on my knowledge, I would say no. But I could be wrong.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Healing Power of Placebos

This one is huge. No time to flesh it out. If you are reading this somehow (I have no idea how you found this blog), keep in mind this is more like a Wiki than a blog. I am updating and linking all entries over time.

Table of Contents
FDA Consumer magazine
January-February 2000

picture of U.S. Food  and Drug Administration logo

The Healing Power of Placebos

by Tamar Nordenberg

One patient stands out in the memory of Stephen Straus, M.D., for her remarkable recovery, more than 10 years ago, from chronic fatigue syndrome. The woman, then in her 30s, was "very significantly impaired," says Straus, chief of the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "She had no energy, couldn't work, and spent most of her time at home." But her strength was restored during a study to test the effectiveness of an experimental chronic fatigue drug.

"She and her parents were so thrilled with her recovery that they were blessing me and my colleagues," recalls Straus, the principal investigator on that study.

Like many drug studies, the chronic fatigue medication trial was a "placebo-controlled" study, meaning that a portion of the patients took the experimental drug, while others took look-alike pills with no active ingredient, with neither researchers nor patients knowing which patients were getting which.

It's human nature, Straus explains, for patients and investigators alike to try and guess in each case: Is it the real drug or a dummy pill? But people shouldn't kid themselves, he says, that they can consistently tell the actual drug from the sham by seeking out tell-tale signs of improvement.

Turns out, the woman's quick turnaround from chronic fatigue occurred after taking placebo pills, not the experimental drug. Straus says, "She was amazed by the revelation that she'd gotten better on placebo."

Research has confirmed that a fake treatment, made from an inactive substance like sugar, distilled water, or saline solution, can have a "placebo effect"--that is, the sham medication can sometimes improve a patient's condition simply because the person has the expectation that it will be helpful. For a given medical condition, it's not unusual for one-third of patients to feel better in response to treatment with placebo.

"Expectation is a powerful thing," says Robert DeLap, M.D., head of one of the Food and Drug Administration's Offices of Drug Evaluation. "The more you believe you're going to benefit from a treatment, the more likely it is that you will experience a benefit."

Complete article

Monday, January 28, 2008

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

From the Center for Disease Control

CFS Home > About CFS > CFS Definition
The Revised Case Definition (abridged version)
The 1988 chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) working case definition (Holmes, et al) did not effectively distinguish CFS from other types of unexplained fatigue. For this reason, it was decided during a 1993 meeting of CFS investigators to develop a logical revision of that definition. The core of the revised CFS case definition is a set of uniformly applicable guidelines for the clinical and research evaluation of CFS and the other forms of fatigue.
In the revised definition, a consensus viewpoint from many of the leading CFS researchers and clinicians (including input from patient group representatives), chronic fatigue syndrome is treated as a subset of chronic fatigue, a broader category defined as unexplained fatigue of greater than or equal to six month's duration. Chronic fatigue in turn, is treated as a subset of prolonged fatigue, which is defined as fatigue lasting one or more months. The expectation is that scientists will devise epidemiologic studies of populations with prolonged fatigue and chronic fatigue, and search within those populations for illness patterns consistent with CFS.


1: Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2006 Mar-Apr;24(2):179-82.Click here to read Links

A first study of cytokine genomic polymorphisms in CFS: Positive association of TNF-857 and IFNgamma 874 rare alleles.

Immunogenetics Laboratory, Dept. of Genetics and Microbiology, University of Pavia, Italy.
OBJECTIVE: In the past two years we have developed a biological bank of genomic DNA, cDNA, serum and red blood cells of Italian patients with certified CFS from the two Italian referral centers for the syndrome. Recent studies have shown an imbalance in cytokine production in disease states similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), such as sickness behavior, both in animals and in humans. However we notice that serum cytokine concentrations are often inconstant and degrade rapidly. With this in mind, we investigated cytokine gene polymorphisms in 80 Italian patients with CFS in order to ascertain whether in this group of patients it is possible to describe a genetic predisposition to an inflammatory response. METHODS: We analyzed the promoter polymorphisms of IL-10, IL-6 and the IFNgamma 874 T/A polymorphism in intron 1 with a PCR-SSP method (Cytogen One Lambda Inc. Canoga Park, CA, U.S.A) in 54 patients and TNF-308 G/A and -857 C/T promoter polymorphisms with a PCR-RFLP method (in 54 and 80 patients respectively). RESULTS: There is a highly significant increase of TNF -857 TT and CT genotypes (p = 0.002) among patients with respect to controls and a significant decrease of IFN gamma low producers (A/A) (p = 0.04) among patients with respect to controls. CONCLUSIONS: We hypothesize that CFS patients can have a genetic predisposition to an immunomodulatory response of an inflammatory nature probably secondary to one or more environmental insults of unknown nature.
PMID: 16762155 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

1: Nippon Rinsho. 2007 Jun;65(6):1121-33.Links

[School phobia and childhood chronic fatigue syndrome (CCFS)]

[Article in Japanese]
Department of Child Developmental Sociology, Faculty of Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kumamoto University.
Chronic fatigue occurring in previously healthy children and adolescents is a vexing problem encountered by pediatric practitioners and the impact of fatigue in youngsters should not be underestimated. In its severe form, it is often associated with mood disorders. Findings in children and adolescent cases suggest that severe unexplained fatigue might precede the development of fatigue-related illness, such as childhood chronic fatigue syndrome (CCFS). This is a disabling condition characterized by severe disabling fatigue and a combination of symptoms, the prominent features being self-reported impairments in concentration and short-term memory, sleep disturbances and autonomic symptoms that cannot be explained by medical or psychiatric illness. We have encountered such patients with these complaints; their major symptoms include: general fatigue, fever, headache (not migraine), and memory disturbance. From our clinical experience, we have inferred that patients with CCFS might experience changes in brain function levels, which induce an autonomic imbalance and engender symptoms such as general fatigue, higher-order level cognitive dysfunction, and memory disturbance.
PMID: 17561707 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Chronic fatigue syndrome researchers offer physical evidence

Main Category: Depression
Article Date: 24 Aug 2004 - 0:00 PST

A University of Alberta study has verified that there is physical evidence for those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), giving new weight to the often stigmatized and misdiagnosed disorder. Research just published in the "International Journal of Psychophysiology" determined that, using independent criteria, CFS can be distinguished from depression--two disorders that share many of the same symptoms.

CFS is an often debilitating disorder, characterized by a constellation of symptoms including fever, sore throat, headache, muscle weakness, myalgias, post-external malaise, sleep and cognitive disturbances. The level of disability varies for people with CFS, but some individuals find they are unable to return to work or function normally on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, many of these symptoms are subjective in nature and are difficult to quantify or confirm, says Hannah Pazderka-Robinson, the lead author on the study. Not only does the stigma attached with the disorder play an emotional toll on the patient, but it has implications for insurance claims as well.

"There are a number of medical professionals who don't believe that CFS exists in the first place," said Pazderka-Robinson. "The problem is, both CFS and depression are characterized by very similar profiles. Imagine a patient who approaches a doctor and tells him they feel depressed and tired all the time.

"Since depression shows a high co-morbidity with CFS, some CFS patients are often given antidepressants--that don't work or work poorly, since they do not address the underlying condition. Again, when these medications don't work, physicians sometimes jump to the conclusion that there isn't really anything, physically, wrong. Obviously, both misdiagnosis and the tendency for doctors to treat these patients as if they're not really sick can be extremely distressing. It can also undermine the patient's trust in the doctor and make them less likely to seek treatment if the condition worsens."

Article here

Evidence for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Proteins in Spinal Fluid May Be Markers of Syndrome, Early Tests Show
By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Medical News
Dec. 1, 2005 -- Scientists may have found biological evidence of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chronic fatigue syndrome involves severe, unexplained tiredness that lasts for at least six months and doesn't improve with rest.
Chronic fatigue syndrome often greatly interferes with patients' lives. But it hasn't been well understood from a scientific point of view, and its cause is unknown.
The new evidence lies in patients' spinal fluid. Tests show 16 proteins in the spinal fluid of people with chronic fatigue syndrome but not in healthy people, according to a study in BMC Neurology.


Chronic fatigue syndrome may be a legitimate neurological condition

Researchers might have found evidence that chronic fatigue syndrome is a real and legitimate neurological condition.

A pilot study published in the open access journal BMC Neurology reveals that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have a set of proteins in their spinal cord fluid that were not detected in healthy individuals. These proteins might give insight into the causes of CFS, and could be used as markers to diagnose patients with CFS.


Fibromyalgia: a rheumatologic diagnosis?

Department of Rheumatology, The National Hospital Rikshospitalet, Forskningsvn. 2, Block B, 0027 Oslo, Norway.

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a medically unexplained or functional somatic syndrome (FSS). The two classification criteria are chronic widespread pain (CWP) and the finding of 11/18 tender points (TP). FM overlaps and co-occurs with other FSSs, and auxiliary symptoms that are not included in the criteria may be clues to other FSSs. About ten FSSs include chronic fatigue syndrome, myofascial pain syndromes and irritable bowel syndrome. TP do not reflect demonstrable pathology, and are locations where everyone is generally more tender. In FM they are more tender than normal due to lowered pain threshold. High TP counts are associated with the extent of distress or unspecific somatic symptoms in the absence of chronic pain. TP lack validity and should be excluded. CWP and distress are outside the domain of rheumatology, and abnormal mechanisms in FM relate to the central nervous system, as compared to "peripheral" mechanisms studied in rheumatology. FM should not be considered as a rheumatologic condition but rather as part of a broader spectre of FSSs. Patients with FSSs should be considered and treated together across medical specialities by general physicians in primary health care.

PMID: 17641896 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Nescience - the absence of knowledge


This delightful and underused word means "absence of knowledge." Most folks go with ignorance instead, but nescience avoids most of the pejorative associations of that word, while having an air of mystery about it by being so seldom seen or heard.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chiropractic Medicine

A Case Study

Objective: To assess the response of a patient with chronic migraines to a short program of chiropractic care (diversified technique).Method: The study was run over a 13 week period with chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy (CSMT) on a once weekly schedule for 5 weeks, followed by an 8 week re-evaluation.Outcome Measures: To measure the effect of treatment, a previously reported diary system was used which noted the intensity of a range of symptoms that are recorded following each migraine episode.Results: The results attained showed there was a marked improvement in the migraine symptoms following the chiropractic care. The patient reported an improvement in frequency, intensity, duration and use of medication. These findings appear to also confirm other evidence which documented similar changes following a large randomised controlled trial of chiropractic treatment of migraine.Discussion: The case is presented as further support for CSMT in the treatment of migraine. The outcome of this case is also discussed in relation to recent research that concludes that CSMT is a very effective treatment for some people with non-neuromusculoskeletal conditions.

Conclusion: It now appears clear that chiropractic care may be used to assist patients with migraine. Research is currently being undertaken to investigate the potential mechanisms of chiropractic in the treatment of migraine. This research should also assess what (if any) prognostic signs can be identified to assist practitioners making a more informed decision on the treatment of choice for migraine.

PMID: 17987195

Atlas vertebra realignment and achievement of arterial pressure goal in hypertensive patients: a pilot study.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Rush University Hypertension Center, Chicago, IL, USA.

Anatomical abnormalities of the cervical spine at the level of the Atlas vertebra are associated with relative ischaemia of the brainstem circulation and increased blood pressure (BP). Manual correction of this mal-alignment has been associated with reduced arterial pressure. This pilot study tests the hypothesis that correcting mal-alignment of the Atlas vertebra reduces and maintains a lower BP. Using a double blind, placebo-controlled design at a single center, 50 drug naïve (n=26) or washed out (n=24) patients with Stage 1 hypertension were randomized to receive a National Upper Cervical Chiropractic (NUCCA) procedure or a sham procedure. Patients received no antihypertensive meds during the 8-week study duration. The primary end point was changed in systolic and diastolic BP comparing baseline and week 8, with a 90% power to detect an 8/5 mm Hg difference at week 8 over the placebo group. The study cohort had a mean age 52.7+/-9.6 years, consisted of 70% males. At week 8, there were differences in systolic BP (-17+/-9 mm Hg, NUCCA versus -3+/-11 mm Hg, placebo; P<0.0001) p="0.002)." p="0.002).">P<0.0001) p="0.002)." p="0.002)."

We conclude that restoration of Atlas alignment is associated with marked and sustained reductions in BP similar to the use of two-drug combination therapy.

PMID: 17252032

The older you get the SMARTER you get, study says

Science & technology

By NEIL SEARS -Last updated at 00:52am on 7th January 2008
They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks - but whoever came up with that particular adage was probably young and foolish.

For contrary to the long-held assumption that brain power peaks between the ages of 18 and 26, new research indicates that it actually increases with age.

The ground-breaking report suggests that many preconceptions about ageing made by employers and policymakers need to be brushed aside.

The study - by psychologist Lars Larsen, of Denmark's University of Aarhus - looked at 4,300 U.S. servicemen who had undergone intelligence tests when they signed up aged around 20, and again 20 years later.

Comparing the two sets of results showed that mathematical skills among the servicemen - all Vietnam veterans - appeared to remain unchanged, rather than reducing with age, while their verbal skills actually improved considerably.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And so it begins ...

... despite my procrastination, I have started fleshing out the bare bones of a blog.

Gah, what a lot of work. I blame tacocase, who somehow found this blog while barely born.

It's true, you can see it right here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Crohn's Disease

It can be treated. They know what causes it. Why do most scientist and Doctors ignore this?

Here are some of the links, some of the evidence. I am no Medical Authority, just a scientist and a writer.

Scientists find how bacteria in cows milk may cause Crohn's disease

December 11, 2007 - Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found how a bacterium, known to cause illness in cattle, may cause Crohn's disease in humans.

The team found that a bacterium called Mycobacterium paratuberculosis releases a molecule that prevents a type of white blood cell from killing E.coli bacteria found in the body. E.coli is known to be present within Crohn’s disease tissue in increased numbers.

It is thought that the Mycobacteria make their way into the body’s system via cows’ milk and other dairy products. In cattle it can cause an illness called Johne's disease - a wasting, diarrhoeal condition. Until now, however, it has been unclear how this bacterium could trigger intestinal inflammation in humans.

Professor Jon Rhodes, from the University’s School of Clinical Sciences, explains: “Mycobacterium paratuberculosis has been found within Crohn’s disease tissue but there has been much controversy concerning its role in the disease. We have now shown that these Mycobacteria release a complex molecule containing a sugar, called mannose. This molecule prevents a type of white blood cells, called macrophages, from killing internalised E.Coli.”

Scientists have previously shown that people with Crohn’s disease have increased numbers of a ‘sticky’ type of E.coli and weakened ability to fight off intestinal bacteria. The suppressive effect of the Mycobacterial molecule on this type of white blood cell suggests it is a likely mechanism for weakening the body’s defence against the bacteria.

Professor Rhodes added: "We also found that this bacterium is a likely trigger for a circulating antibody protein (ASCA) that is found in about two thirds of patients with Crohn's disease, suggesting that these people may have been infected by the Mycobacterium."

Science Daily

All of which makes sense in regards to this website, which outlines a succesful treatment, based on treating for the Mycobacterium.

Somebody who has cured himself of Crohn's explains all.

Then you have other sites, more complex, but backing the same theory and treatment.
Treatment & diagnosis of Crohn's Disease
If you want to read a lot of evidence, read on.
From The Lancet

Is Crohn's disease caused by a mycobacterium?

The most plausible candidate is Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). Intriguingly, Koch's postulates may have been fulfilled for MAP and Crohn's disease, even though they still have not been met for Mycobacterium leprae and leprosy. In animals MAP causes Johne's disease, a chronic wasting intestinal diarrhoeal disease evocative of Crohn's disease. Johne's disease occurs in wild and domesticated animals, including dairy herds. Viable MAP is found in human and cow milk, and is not reliably killed by standard pasteurisation. MAP is ubiquitous in the environment including in potable water. Since cell-wall-deficient MAP usually cannot be identified by Ziehl-Neelsen staining, identification of MAP in human beings requires culture or detection of MAP DNA or RNA. If infectious in origin, Crohn's disease should be curable with appropriate antibiotics. Many studies that argue against a causative role for MAP in Crohn's disease have used antibiotics that are inactive against MAP. However, trials that include macrolide antibiotics indicate that a cure for Crohn's disease is possible.


Paratuberculosis And Crohn's Disease: Got Milk?

by Michael Greger, MD
Updated January 2001


Paratuberculosis Awareness & Research Association (PARA) is an organization of Crohn's disease patients, their families and others who are concerned about the relationship between MAP (Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis) and Crohn's disease.


Over 20 years of independent research links a common disease in humans characterized by chronic diarrhea and severe abdominal pain with sick cows and contaminated milk.


Lots more links, but the bottom line is, it appears it is
caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, it is hard to treat, (not everybody gets better from the antiobiotics), and it comes from cows.

More scientific stuff. All of which supports the latest findings.


Paratuberculosis or Johne's disease is a chronic enteritis of the cattle and other small ruminant animals caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis. In Argentina, the strains were characterized in beef and dairy cattle and deer in different genetic patterns by molecular tools. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis has been linked in men to a chronic inflammation of the intestine, named Crohn's disease. There is clinical and experimental evidence to link M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis with Crohn's disease by PCR, positive bacteriological culture from mother milk, blood and affected tissues by in situ hybridization. The milk and sub-products might be one of the possible infection sources and it has been suggested that M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis could resist pasteurization. Several works showed that this mycobacteria could be present in retail milk of countries such as United Kingdom, USA, Czech Republic, and recently in Argentina. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis was associated with different dairy products and water for human consumption. Therefore, it is possible that these food sources may have a role for transmission.


[Mycobacterium paratuberculosis in the intestine of patients with Crohn's disease] PubMed


Mycobacterium paratuberculosis DNA in Crohn's disease tissue. PubMed

I hope this makes sense.

I'm going to have to back all this up you know!

Every entry, every statement, I have to provide evidence for.

Oh bother. If I knew how much work this was going to be, I may never have started.

Food additives cause hyperactivity in children

You might think this would be a big news story.
Common Food Additive Doubles Kids' Hyperactivity
Sodium benzoate seems to be much more than just a preservative...
by Richard Hollingham
Can food additives affect children’s behavior? A study published in the November 3 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet suggests they can.

A team from the University of Southampton in England measured levels of hyperactivity in 153 three-year-olds and 144 eight- and nine-year-olds. The children were put on a diet free of the additives used in the experiment. Then each day over a six-week period they were given one of two mixtures with artificial coloring and the preservative sodium benzoate, or a plain fruit juice placebo. All the drinks looked and tasted identical.

Researchers observed the children in the classroom and analyzed reports of their behavior from parents and teachers. The older kids were also given a computer-based attention test. The results from all these tests were scored to produce a measure of hyperactivity known as a global hyperactivity aggregate (GHA). The higher the GHA, the greater the hyperactivity.

On average, the children who drank the additive concoctions showed a near doubling of GHA scores compared to those on the placebo. This was true for the younger and older children. Investigators also reported differences in the way individual children responded to the additives, with some becoming much more hyperactive than others.

“The study shows that, on average, children have higher levels of hyperactivity when taking a drink with additives in it compared to their behavior when taking fruit juices alone,” says Jim Stevenson, head of the study.


The Lancet

Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial

We undertook a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial to test whether intake of artificial food colour and additives (AFCA) affected childhood behaviour.


153 3-year-old and 144 8/9-year-old children were included in the study. The challenge drink contained sodium benzoate and one of two AFCA mixes (A or B) or a placebo mix. The main outcome measure was a global hyperactivity aggregate (GHA), based on aggregated z-scores of observed behaviours and ratings by teachers and parents, plus, for 8/9-year-old children, a computerised test of attention. This clinical trial is registered with Current Controlled Trials (registration number ISRCTN74481308). Analysis was per protocol.


16 3-year-old children and 14 8/9-year-old children did not complete the study, for reasons unrelated to childhood behaviour. Mix A had a significantly adverse effect compared with placebo in GHA for all 3-year-old children (effect size 0·20 [95% CI 0·01–0·39], p=0·044) but not mix B versus placebo. This result persisted when analysis was restricted to 3-year-old children who consumed more than 85% of juice and had no missing data (0·32 [0·05–0·60], p=0·02). 8/9-year-old children showed a significantly adverse effect when given mix A (0·12 [0·02–0·23], p=0·023) or mix B (0·17 [0·07–0·28], p=0·001) when analysis was restricted to those children consuming at least 85% of drinks with no missing data.


Artificial colours or a sodium benzoate preservative (or both) in the diet result in increased hyperactivity in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the general population.

Mercury is really bad for you

This is not news. What is strange, is that despite the evidence, the overwhelming evidence for this simple fact, some Dentist still put it in people's mouths.

Website for information

Excellent video

Another evidence based blog!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New drugs from Chinese Herbs

Cool little post, under construction.

Small Comet Bombardment of Earth

An amazing discovery? Censored by science? Yadda yadaa yadaa ...

Another work in progress, (like the whole dam blog really).

Black Cohosh extract

There is mixed evidence on this herb. Many claims, a bit of controversy, difficult to know what evidence is valid. This entry needs much work.


If you are interested in DMSO, is probably the first place to start. Links to papers, research, information and more. This blog entry will cover things not found there.

Did you know there was a medical name for dimethyl sulfide?

OBJECTIVES: To provide a brief overview of intravesical dimethly sulfoxide (DMSO) therapy for interstitial cystitis and offer a practical approach to patient treatment.
METHODS: A review of the literature and a summation of the experience with treatment of > 300 patients with DMSO at the Interstitial Cystitis Clinic, New England Medical Center.
RESULTS: DMSO is helpful in a significant number of patients and it has acceptable morbidity and an excellent safety profile. CONCLUSIONS: Intravesical DMSO (singly or in combination) is one of the mainstays in the pharmacologic treatment of interstitial cystitis.

Had all these links open, needed to close browser, so I saved them here, for future reference.

What is the point?

Why a Blog? Why about science and evidence and all that? Don't we have experts and pundits to tell us what to think?

On a regular basis I come across Nescience and prejudice against science, especially in regards to health and economics. I used to waste time discussing things, even getting all steamed over it. This Blog is just an attempt to counter ignorance and greed, as well as way to get some of these thousands of bookmarks on the web.

I would go and edit Wikipedia, but it is a hassle, and I am moving towards just presenting evidence, and not arguing with idiots online.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Who can you trust?

In regards to science. To medicine. To technology. Money. Business.

Can you do your own research? Has the Internet and the WWW changed the nature of research?

How much of current science is actually trustworthy?

Really bad science at work

Example of really bad science

I had no idea how many idiots there were in the world,
until I got on the Internet.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What is Evidence?

In regards to science. This is the most difficult word in the whole Blog, in the entire realm, the very concept of science, as well as medicine.

The current Wikipedia page for evidence doesn't have any sources! Looking at the Scientific evidence page, things are a little better, but in the very first paragraph, we see the dreaded "citation needed".

Scientific evidence is evidence which serves to either support or counter a scientific theory or hypothesis[citation needed]. Such evidence is expected to be empirical and properly documented in accordance with scientific method such as is applicable to the particular field of inquiry[citation needed]. Standards for evidence may vary according to whether the field of inquiry is among the natural sciences or social sciences[citation needed].
Empirical, properly documented, applicable, all fine words, important words. Then we have standards, which vary.

This is of course, the very heart of the matter. Evidence. Evidence is the backbone, the foundation, the very essence of scientific knowledge.

Which means it is also the first thing to be attacked, doubted, criticized, dismissed, ignored or faked, when we deal with scientific issues which are under contention. Scientific issues which bring us into conflict. Into controversy, into matters of religion, faith, money, politics, greed, and any and all other human concerns, where the truth actually matters.

So what is evidence? Is the very definition up for a debate? Is there any governing body that decides? An authority we can seek for the answer?

Based on my research, there is not. There is no ultimate scientific judge who can slam a gavel down and declare, "This is evidence! This is truth! Accept it!".

In fact, fights over evidence in science are as bad as they are in the legal system.

What is Science?

You can look it up in a dictionary, Wikipedia, or various online sites about science.

Latin scientia, ('knowledge'), in the broadest sense, refers to any systematic knowledge or practice. In a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.
Systemic knowledge or practice. Of course the scientific method is the real issue. The focus of Evidence Based Science. You might think the scientific method is hard and fast. No weasel words allowed, no wiggle room. Looking at the current body of knowledge shows us this is not the case.

You might also think a Scientist is an objective, non-emotional person only interested in discovering truth. This is also not true.

Science does not stand alone, aloof, seperate from vested interest, profit margins, politics and religion.

One reason for this blog.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What is Evidence Based Science?

While the question may seem odd, (after all, isn't all science evidence based?), history shows us, that much of what was called science, was actually not based on evidence at all, but belief, greed, ignorance, or worst of all, because everybody already knew it was true.

Evidence based science is just what it sounds like. Science, based on evidence. Which leads to the question, what is science?

After defining science, we have to define evidence.

This is not going to be easy.