Health and Medicine

Genome-edited babies – what’s the worry? (#1) - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Dec 03, 2018

He Jiankui’s[1] experiment has brought the world’s first deliberately gene-edited babies into the world, twins nicknamed Nana and Lulu. He edited the DNA of their embryos, hoping to make them resistant to infection by HIV. I see a lot of people writing comments like, “Genome-edited babies – what’s the worry? We’re going to start it sometime. We can start here.” … Read More

Artificially sweetened beverages: What does the latest evidence tell us on health benefits versus harm? - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Nov 29, 2018

Dr Cristina Cleghorn, Dr Amanda Jones, Dr Andrea Teng, Professor Tony Blakely, Professor Nick Wilson Reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is an important current policy issue internationally. One suggested strategy is for people to swap to artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs). But there are multiple concerns about potential health risks of ASBs – although limited evidence and hard data. This … Read More

Human gene-edited babies: hold the horses - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Nov 28, 2018

Time moves on; this story has too. Readers might like to try my more recent piece, Genome-edited babies – what’s the worry?, which covers the biological aspects of what was done. For those following the news that a Hong Kong-based researcher claims to have brought to term human gene-edited babies: hold the horses. I’ve been trying to put a story on … Read More

Protection of teeth by fluoride confirmed – yet again - Open Parachute

Ken Perrott Nov 26, 2018

The protective role of fluoride in teeth has been confirmed, yet again. A new study nicely demonstrates how incorporation of even a small amount of fluoride into the surface layer of teeth protects them from the acid attack which leads to tooth decay. Researchers measured the ablation, or loss of surface material from hydroxyapatite before fluoridation and after fluoridation. It … Read More

Glyphosate and TIME magazine: writer employed by advocacy group a dubious choice - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Nov 24, 2018

TIME magazine has a story on DeWayne ‘Lee’ Johnston who took Monsanto to court claiming RoundUp caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.[1] The story has obvious appeal, but is crying out for balance and it’s provenance is, to be kind, awkward. I’d love to read his account of his experiences since the trial — but from a source I … Read More

The Ethical Quandary of Human Infection Studies - Guest Work

Guest Author Nov 22, 2018

Linda Nordling In February of last year, 64 healthy adult Kenyans checked into a university residence in the coastal town of Kilifi. After a battery of medical tests, they proceeded, one by one, into a room where a doctor injected them with live malaria parasites. Left untreated, the infection could have sickened or even killed them, since malaria claims hundreds … Read More

Messing with the Unconscious - Mind Matters

Michael Corballis Nov 15, 2018

It appears that there is something of a panic, especially in our universities, over the possibility of unconscious biases, especially against minority groups. This has led to workshops and publicity material designed help us recognise our biases and correct them. Much of the impetus for this has been driven by a psychological test known as the implicit association test (IAT). Read More

Have you considered using prices? - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Nov 08, 2018

Talk about an elephant in the room. Radio New Zealand’s story on unregulated informal sperm donor networks is a great chronicle of what happens when you ban payments for sperm donors, without once mentioning that the whole thing is a consequence of a ban on payments for sperm donors. It’s like a murder mystery where all the facts are … Read More