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Category Archives: Health Care

Should you take vitamin D? Here’s the science

PopSci: “Nutritional science is supposed to chart a course to our healthier selves. But contradictory scientific results and interpretations can muddy the waters—and few nutrients have recently demonstrated that more clearly than vitamin D. At one point, it seemed that everyone should be taking vitamin D supplements, and that doing so would protect against a whole host of maladies, from bone problems to heart disease and cancer. More recently, new studies appear to have debunked many of those claims. But a closer look at the research reveals a more nuanced message around vitamin D supplements: They can be key to correcting deficiencies, though people who already have enough—which is most of the American public—are generally unlikely to see benefits from taking large doses. Experts have come to worry about supplement enthusiasts overdosing in the belief that more is better or, at the other extreme, some nutrient-deprived people shunning them altogether. Ultimately, says Roger Bouillon, an endocrinologist at KU Leuven in Belgium, “it’s like for most things. You need an optimal amount: not too little, not too much.” Yet working out who needs vitamin D supplements, how much, and what the specific health benefits are, remains tricky, with questions remaining. Here’s some of what we know…”

America’s produce has a ton of pesticides

Quartz – “Consumer Reports’ latest investigation suggests that 20% of commonly sold fruits and vegetables contain unsafe levels of pesticides. Some of your favorite produce might be dicier to eat than assumed. An analysis from Consumer Reports published Thursday suggests that a substantial portion of commonly sold fruits and vegetables have a significant risk of… Continue Reading

Microplastics are everywhere — we need to understand how they affect human health

Microplastics are everywhere — we need to understand how they affect human health. Nat Med 30, 913 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-024-02968-x. “As evidence emerges describing the accumulation of small plastic particles in various organs and tissues of the body, a much deeper understanding of the effects of these particles on human health is urgently needed. The world… Continue Reading

Unregulated water contaminants

Via Data is Plural: “Through the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule, the Environmental Protection Agency “collect[s] data for contaminants that are suspected to be present in drinking water and do not have health-based standards set under the Safe Drinking Water Act.” The current version of the rule requires public water systems to test for lithium and… Continue Reading

Child Opportunity Score for 100 largest US metros

Axios: “Metro areas across the South and Southwest, with few exceptions, offer worse conditions for children to grow up healthy and become successful adults, according to data from researchers at Brandeis University. Why it matters: The Child Opportunity Index seeks to quantify childhood opportunity based on education, health care and the environment, Axios’ Alex Fitzpatrick,… Continue Reading

US drug shortages reach record high with 323 meds now in short supply

Ars Technica: “Drug shortages in the US have reached an all-time high, with 323 active and ongoing shortages already tallied this year, according to data collected by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). The current drug shortage total surpasses the previous record of 320, set in 2014, and is the highest recorded since ASHP… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, April 13, 2024

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, April 13, 2024 – Privacy and cybersecurity issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, finance, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex… Continue Reading

The Global State of Social Connections

“Social needs are universal, and the degree to which they are fulfilled — or not — impacts the health, well-being and resilience of people everywhere. With increasing global interest in understanding how social connections support or hinder health, policymakers worldwide may benefit from reliable data on the current state of social connectedness. Despite the critical… Continue Reading

Report – Legal treatment of embryos created through IVF

In Custodia Legis: “In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure that involves the “joining of a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm in a laboratory dish.” The MedicinePlus website explains that “[i]n vitro means outside the body. Fertilization means the sperm has attached to and entered the egg.” The procedure can… Continue Reading

96% of US hospital websites share visitor info with Meta, Google, data brokers

The Register: “Hospitals – despite being places where people implicitly expect to have their personal details kept private – frequently use tracking technologies on their websites to share user information with Google, Meta, data brokers, and other third parties, according to research published today. Academics at the University of Pennsylvania analyzed a nationally representative sample… Continue Reading

What you need to know about the plastic crisis

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): “Global annual production of plastic has increased exponentially over the past 65 years, growing from 2 million metric tons in 1950 to 460 million metric tons in 2019. Much of this plastic quickly becomes waste, and plastic waste is found everywhere, including the farthest reaches of the Arctic, the deep seabed, and even… Continue Reading