Author Archives: Michael D. Shaw

Breast Cancer, Mammograms, And The Fear Factor

Call them “breast-obsessed” if you like, but more than 3500 years ago, Egyptian physicians documented breast cancer on papyri that survive to this day. Some authorities claim that these documents could date back much earlier than that. A key entry describes “bulging tumors of the breast that have no cure.”

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Salt of the Earth

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls his disciples “the salt of the earth.” While the meaning of this expression is clear, its derivation may not be. Roman scholar Pliny the Elder would say: Nil utilius sole et sale—There’s nothing more useful than sunlight and salt. The habitual use of salt is intimately connected with the advance from nomadic to agricultural life. Traditionally, salt is identified with three special qualities… Continue reading

From ACSH: Upholding its tradition, a new Lancet piece on chemicals aims to scare rather than inform

The current issue of Lancet Neurology has a “sky is falling” alarm about the alleged ever-rising threat of environmental chemicals for our children’s neurological development. The authors are well-versed in this subject: not toxicology or neurology, no, we mean they are experts in the subject of trying to scare parents and the media about remote or hypothetical chemical threats. Continue reading

ACSH Absolutely Nails It With Their Top 13 Health Scares in 2013

Featuring video and detailed copy.  Let’s make this one viral, folks.   Plenty more great stuff on their site.

The problem with health insurance

Don’t worry. This is not another piece about Obamacare. Instead, we’ll go back to basics, and see if health insurance can ever satisfy the demands of the payers, the providers, and the patients. It’s not as if people haven’t been working on this for awhile. The notion of health insurance stems from the so-called “friendly societies,” and dates back to the very dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Continue reading

Whatever happened to science?

For the Baby Boomers, born under the halo of victory in World War II, and into the 1950s, one of the key themes was the promise of Science. Electrical power—courtesy of splitting the atom—would be so plentiful that consumers would simply pay a flat monthly fee, and the discovery of the structure of DNA meant (somehow, although this was never fully explained) that a cure for cancer was just beyond the horizon. Continue reading

Forbidden Topics In Health Care–Part One

The official line on health care, which pervades not only the mainstream, but also much of the alternative media is this: The most important thing is that we all receive the best care, and that someone else pays for it. Which brings us to our first forbidden topic…

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Blood Glucose Numbers And Acronyms Demystified

Diabetics know that their blood glucose numbers are important, since all forms of diabetes present as some amount of difficulty in maintaining proper glycemic control i.e. maintaining the blood glucose level. Shamefully, those involved with the relevant clinical assays have not made matters easy to understand. Continue reading

Are We All Crazy?

On May 18, the highly anticipated fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—aka DSM-5—was released by the American Psychiatric Association at its annual meeting. There has been no shortage of critics of this new edition, including Thomas R. Insel, MD, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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Risk Factors: More Risky Than You Might Think

Here’s a cynical proposition: Risk factors do a much better job of selling drugs and diagnostic tests than preventing diseases. But, let’s take this back a few steps. First of all, what is a “risk factor”? Continue reading

What If You’re A Skinny Type 2 Diabetic?

It is estimated that 80 percent of type 2 diabetics are overweight. It’s not clear who came up with this figure, or–more importantly—how it was determined. Perhaps it is tied in with modern medicine’s love for cataloging risk factors, especially simplistic ones. Cynics might go even further, suggesting that risk factors do a much better job of selling drugs than preventing diseases, but we digress.

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Don’t Call It Autism

Confusion surrounding the term “autism” is surely nothing new. The word was first used in 1911 by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who presumably invoked the Greek autos, meaning “self.” Continue reading

Switching To A True Health Care Model

With the IRS scandal shining a much-needed light on the miserable agency that would be the majordomo of Obamacare, we should also examine the preposterous “reasoning” at the heart of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)… Continue reading

Double Helix Double Cross

For a kid growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, especially as American schools tried to close the perceived science and math gap after Sputnik was launched, a nearly constant refrain was the wonderful promise of DNA and the Watson-Crick double helix molecular structure. As it happens, there is a wee bit more to the story… Continue reading

Putting A Stake Through The Cholesterol Theory Of Heart Disease

The cholesterol theory of heart disease continues to be under attack—and rightly so. The overwhelming evidence against this theory is widely available, but here are a few key points:

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Ubi Caritas Est Vera, Deus Ibi Est

The title of this piece refers to the first line of an ancient hymn: “Where true charity is, there is God.” Health care—from the earliest times—has been at the nexus of organized religion, charity, and the community… Continue reading

Anxiety, Depression, and Drugs, Oh My

Based on the popularity of my recent posting on meds, I offer the following for your reading pleasure…

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Meds Aren’t Always The Answer

My late father-in-law practiced psychiatry in the Midwest, and was—by any standard—brilliant. For one thing, he never received a grade lower than “A” from grammar school, all the way through his medical education… Continue reading

You Don’t Need The Food Police

Although New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s notorious limit on the size of sugary drinks was struck down on March 11th, proponents of the Nanny State are not backing off. Far from it… Continue reading

Gun Control–Demystified

As expected, in the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook shooting, the gun-grabbers have reared their heads once again.  So far, they have made only limited progress. No doubt, gun control posturing provides feckless politicians with a means of distracting the public from the pressing issues of the day … Continue reading