Potential causes for cancer are numerous. Infections. Radon gas. Cigarette smoking. Sun exposure. Obesity. With over 200 types of cancer, each with a different pathophysiology, there may be an equal (and probably greater) number of causes. Although many causes can be easily eliminated, such as stopping smoking, testing your house for radon, getting an HPV vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus infections, and wearing sunblock to reduce the risk of melanomas, the sheer complexity and number of types of cancer means that there is probably not going to be any simple panacea to preventing (or even curing) cancer. In fact, some hereditary cancers, such as those individuals who carry genes that are implicated in breast and ovarian cancers, may not be preventable at all.Read More »Cancer prevention–supplements
The Johnson County (Kansas) Department of Health and Environment has reported 70 confirmed or possible cases of whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) in 2012. Johnson County, an affluent suburb of Kansas City, officials have warned parents to protect their children from… Read More »Whooping cough: new outbreak in Kansas
Ed Yong, a scientist and contributor to Discover Magazine, wrote an blog post, What does it mean to say that something causes 16% of cancers?, discussing a news report that stated that 16% of cancers around the world were caused by infections. Here are some excerpts:
A few days ago, news reports claimed that 16 per cent of cancers around the world were caused by infections. This isn’t an especially new or controversial statement, as there’s clear evidence that some viruses, bacteria and parasites can cause cancer (think HPV, which we now have a vaccine against). It’s not inaccurate either. The paper that triggered the reports did indeed conclude that “of the 12.7 million new cancer cases that occurred in 2008, the population attributable fraction (PAF) for infectious agents was 16·1%”.
But for me, the reports aggravated an old itch. I used to work at a cancer charity. We used to get frequent requests we got for such numbers (e.g. how many cancers are caused by tobacco?). However, whenever such reports actually came out, we got a lot confused questions and comments. The problem is that many (most?) people have no idea what it actually means to say that X% of cancers are caused by something, where those numbers come from, or how they should be used.Read More »Infections causes 16% of cancers–what?
Rooting out pseudoscience out in the world is a full time job for literally hundreds of people, but many of the writers out there tend to focus on a few things. This blog, for example, mostly focuses on creationism, the anti-vaccine lunacy, and rarely, global warming. Creationism, for example, has a long tradition of pseudoscience, so the arguments debunking creationism is well known, and the creationists more or less rely upon the age old fallacies, which convince the True Believers™ but make real scientists chuckle. It has really evolved (pun intended) to a static argument but there is no scientific controversy, it’s just evolution denialists on one side and real science on the other. If this were a real debate, it would be over and the creationists would be crawling back home in tears.Read More »Pseudoscience and the desperate anti-vaccine intrigue
Sadly, whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) has killed an infant in San Miguel County, New Mexico. According to the New Mexico Department of Public Health said that it was the first time that an infant in the state has died from pertussis since… Read More »Whooping cough: New Mexico records first infant death since 2005
As discussed previously, the state of Washington is experience a relatively large outbreak of whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis), with 1,132 cases of whooping cough so far in 2012, which the state reports as over 10 times higher than what was reported in 2011. The epidemic has caused the hospitalization of 20 children under the age of one. Washington Governor Christine Gregoire released cash from an emergency fund last week to be spent on efforts to contain the epidemic. Gregoire has made $90,000 available to strengthen the public awareness campaign about the need to vaccinate against the highly infectious disease that is also known as pertussis. The state’s Department of Health projects that it will spend approximately $200,000 on the campaign. The state has also sought and received approval to use federal funds to purchase 27,000 doses of pertussis vaccines that will be available for the uninsured.
A nine week old Idaho girl died Friday of complications from whooping cough according to Reuters. She was being treated for the disease at a hospital in Pocatello, Idaho; however, her situation worsened, and she was flown to the University… Read More »Idaho infant dies from whooping cough
This shouldn’t be happening. There are over 200 cases of measles confirmed in an outbreak in Merseyside, UK, the largest such outbreak since 1988. So far, there have been 210 confirmed cases of measles (and another 92 cases still under investigation). Of these cases, 39 have required hospital treatment.
What’s sad is that 50% of the confirmed cases have occurred in children under five years old. There is probably only one reason why these children are being infected by this disease–no vaccination. Read More »Another measles outbreak in United Kingdom
One of the larger problems of the internet (OK, there are a lot) is how science is discussed out in the world. Google any science topic, and you’ll get thousand or millions of hits on any idea in science or medicine. The information is derived from other websites, news reports, rumors, or, to be cynical, from outright fabrication. In the fields of science and medicine, critical thinking is absolutely necessary to understanding it. Because it’s hard work, pseudoscience and anti-science have become quite prevalent lately. Read More »Checking for pseudoscience in real science news (updated)
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting about a whooping cough (pertussis) outbreak in South Florida area. There have been other outbreaks reported in Wisconsin, Washington state, Illinois, British Columbia, England, and Australia. This upsurge in whooping cough cases can mostly be blamed on falling vaccination rates and the lack of booster vaccinations in adults. Importantly, whooping cough can be prevented, with almost no risk, with a DaTP vaccine.Read More »Whooping cough outbreak in South Florida