Regular readers of my postings are aware that I am no fan of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Let’s examine the agency’s official mission…
Author Archives: Michael D. Shaw
We must journey back to March, 1987, and the United Nations document entitled Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, to discover what is probably the only universally agreed upon—if nebulous and contradictory—definition of “sustainable development,” the precursor of “sustainability,” viz.
Those of us, of a certain age, remember the post-World War II promise of Science. Splitting the atom would bring us virtually unlimited cheap electrical power; antibiotics and vaccine technology (a la Salk/Sabin) would eliminate the scourge of infectious disease; and elucidation of the structure of DNA would lead to a cancer cure.
April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day was inaugurated by a UN Resolution (62/139), adopted by the General Assembly on December 18, 2007. This soon transformed into Autism Awareness Month, which spawned Autism Acceptance Month in 2011 (more on that later). No doubt, a condition affecting approximately 1 in 68 children in the US (according to the CDC) is worthy of a month’s recognition. Compare that figure to the 1 in 150 rate, reported in 2000.
A friend of mine loves telling the story of the quintessential teacher’s pet—a grammar school classmate of his in New York City. As he tells it, while the rest of the kids went out for recess, this particular boy usually stayed inside, peering at a book. At one point, the teacher admonished him to go outside and play with the rest of the class. He politely refused, and even asked if there were some assignment she could give him, for extra credit.
The term “overdiagnosis” came into vogue in 2011, with the publication of best seller Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health, by MDs H. Gilbert Welch, Lisa Schwartz, and Steve Woloshin. As lead author Welch explains in his introduction: “While the term sounds like it means simply ‘excessive diagnosis,’ it actually has a more precise meaning. Overdiagnosis occurs when individuals are diagnosed with conditions that will never cause symptoms or death.”