Saturday, November 8, 2014

Can the #aluminum nonsense about it causing #Alzheimer's Disease!

Aluminum does not cause Alzheimer's!

Aluminum is toxic, but....

Aluminum can cause toxicity, but Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is not one of the problems associated with aluminum (Al). 
There are quite a few elements other than carbon, hydrogen,oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, iron, copper, calcium and sulfur that are essential nutrients. These others are usually called micronutrients because only a small amount of each is needed. Zinc, manganese, magnesium, selenium and cobalt are among these elements. Al is not needed. But, it is non-toxic at the levels you would get from drinking or eating foods and beverages from Al cans. At higher doses, Al can cause problems, most notably in dialysis patients. It can even cause neurotoxicity - yes - affecting the brain - BUT at higher doses than you get unless you work in an environment with Al dust or other unusual situation.

Where can you get more information?

Reading and citing peer-reviewed scientific publications rather than rumors is the way to prevent the misinformation including the Al-AD myth. It was an observation that did not hold up to carefully done research. To see some of the scientific evidence on this topic and Al toxicity see:'s

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Responsible #drinking. Do you wreck your #brain with a little #wine or not?

Whining about wine: good or evil?

No brainer

So, can a little bit of wine (or other alcoholic drink) kill brain cells? The answer is no! Today, a very interesting video that I highly recommend viewing appeared on the web:

And take heart!

We know that a little wine doesn't irreversibly damage your brain. But, does it do you any good aside from making you happy? The answer to that is yes! There are many studies that demonstrate that moderate drinking (about two small glasses for a male) decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease- that is fewer heart attacks and strokes. How that works is complex, but in part, other compounds aside from the alcohol are able to increase enzymes and other molecules in your cells that protect you from toxicity. Indeed, my colleague Fulvio Ursini and I have published an article in not too complex language about this topic: 

Para-hormesis: An innovative mechanism for the health protection brought by antioxidants in wine 

Have a good glass of zinfandel, my favorite. Here's to your health!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

#Poisonous #Science Major Revision Planned

Poisonous Science

So, circumstances have changed! Instead of a minor revision, Poisonous Science will undergo a major revision and be republished as Poisonous Science 1.5. This process will take several months as it will also be professionally edited and no longer self published. Stay tuned for further details. Who knows - there may even be a changed ending???????

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Real #Science #Websites for #Non-Scientists

Real Science Websites for Non-Scientists

I've been writing my blog for several months. It's a hobby that allows me to express my opinions about some current scientific issues that are in the news. Its purpose is to defend science against misperceptions that are spread on the web as well as in other media. 

There are a few websites that do the same far more effectively. I've listed them here. You can get to each by clicking on them.

Warning: These are news reports about science. While my opinion is that they are honest attempts to convey accurate science, if you want to use the information in an argument with some anti-science troll on the web or nutcase relative at Thanksgiving, cite the original peer-reviewed work (and better yet, actually try to get through it).

This is a small list. Please feel free to add suggested additions in the comments and I'll check them out. If I agree, I'll add them to the list.

Friday, July 18, 2014

#Poison #Science #Murder #Mystery #KindleUnlimited

Now on Kindle Unlimited:

The humorous murder mystery about what can go wrong in peer review. 
Poisonous Science is now available through Kindle Unlimited.

Monday, June 23, 2014

#Herbal Remedies versus #PrescriptionMedicine

Herbal Remedies versus Prescription Medicines

The facts

Plants contain thousands of compounds that can affect your health. Some for good. Some for bad. 

The good: Good compounds include the nutrients your body needs for energy and maintenance of health including sugars and vitamins. Indeed, if you have the correct balance of amino acids, the building blocks for proteins, you can live a reasonably healthy life as a strict vegan. Then there are stimulants like caffeine that make life more enjoyable and might even have health benefits. Clearly small amounts of wine and other alcohol beverages also are beneficial in reducing cardiovascular disease.

Well what about those herbal remedy claims? Many of the compounds that plants evolved to have for their defense against being eaten or to attract insects and animals to help disperse their seeds have been shown to have beneficial effects in humans. Drugs from plants like theophylline, aspirin and taxol are used either as the actual compound or slightly modified version for better delivery of natural products. Indeed, the pharmaceutical companies still investigate the potential for herbal remedies to be developed into drugs. But, development costs a lot. For a new drug to go through all the laboratory testing and then clinical trials to show that it is generally (nothing is absolute) safe and effective costs half to three quarters of a billion dollars. 

The bad: Ever hear of hemlock? There are thousands of compounds that are lethal in small amounts. How about the oil from poison ivy? Not lethal, but quite unpleasant. So, pushing the natural angle can have that nasty point. 

So what about those herbal remedies is bad? Simply, you don't know whether they work, what you're getting, or how much of whatever is supposed to be good in it there is in the potion or pill. There's good reason why the Food and Drug Administration requires those extremely expensive tests. They are responsible for the public's safety and for making certain that drugs are effective at doses that cause a minimal amount of side effects. 

My Opinion

There is plenty of money being made by selling herbal remedies and staying just inside the law that doesn't allow claims to cure or treat disease. The purveyors of these compounds appeal to those for whom prescription medicines don't work, those who have become convinced that the medical and pharmaceutical establishment are in conspiracy to get their money, and those who mistakenly think herbal medicines are designed by some entity to be in plants to cure mankind of its ailments.

My opinion is that while plants contain good and bad compounds, eating a healthy diet containing lots of fruit and vegetables is the best use of plants in maintaining health. Taking herbal concoctions is risky. Let's say you have some ailment that could be helped by a prescription or over-the-counter FDA approved drug. If you're lucky they are harmless to your body, but then you would be taking them instead of something that actually would help. That makes little sense. But, what if they do help? Then, you're very lucky indeed, and perhaps if you're extraordinarily lucky, the next time you take it, the same ingredients at the same amount might be there. If you're unlucky, the ingredients cause you harm. 

I wish you luck, but I wish you the good sense to let others feed the wallets of the herbal witch doctors. 

For more information, the same sources as in my recent blog about #Weightloss and #Nutrition are relevant: