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Member since: 2002
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Fact-checking naturopathic talking points at DCFLI


Mexico’s President Peña Nieto backs legalizing same-sex marriage

Leader will send Congress proposal for constitutional reform

"Mexico took another important step in the fight against discrimination this week after President Enrique Peña Nieto announced he will send a proposal to Congress to amend the Constitution to allow marriage between same-sex couples. The initiative would also require the Foreign Ministry to accept new birth certificates that reflect gender confirmation as valid forms of identification for the issuance of passports. The president made the announcement at an event held at Los Pinos, the presidential residence, to celebrate Mexico’s National Day Against Homophobia, a holiday he created by decree on March 21, 2014.

“It seems simple for us to gather here in Los Pinos but we are turning the page on a new chapter,” said Luis Perelman, an LGBTI activist who spoke at the event. Perelman, the president of the Mexican Federation of Sexual Education and Sexology, recalled how ingrained homophobia is in the country. Forty percent of Mexicans say they are not willing to share their home with a homosexual. “It is one of the few discrimination where family is the biggest enemy,” he told the crowd.

The government wants to reform Article Four of the Constitution, which guarantees the rights of the individual, to incorporate the Supreme Court’ June 2015 ruling that gay marriages are equivalent to marriage between heterosexuals. The Court thus legalized this kind of union and declared any law that forbids it unconstitutional. Several Mexican states, however, were reluctant to adapt to the ruling. “We cannot have people in our country who have certain rights in some states but not in others,” Peña Nieto said.

Mexico will create an amendment to enshrine that right in its Constitution. “I trust that once this change has been approved for the Federal Civil Code it will eventually be added to the civil codes of different federal states that do not yet have it,” the president added.



Robert De Niro on Vaccines: 'Harvey Weinstein and I Are Working on Doing a Documentary'



"Something is there with vaccines, because they're not tested in some ways the way other medicines are, and they're just taken for granted and mandated in some states," he explained. "And people do get sick from it. Not everybody, but certain people are sensitive, like anything, penicillin."

So, in light of all this, he is now teaming up with one of the top film execs to get the true story out there.

"I'm working on something else," De Niro said. "Harvey Weinstein and I are working on doing a documentary, but I don't what to talk much about it, because when I talk about it, something happens. But that's what we plan to try to do."



Idiots out to harm people with CT ignorance.

The 21st Century Cures Act: Still alive, and still poised to endanger patients


"it was less than a year ago that I described a bill wending its way through Congress called the 21st Century Cures Act “old vinegary wine in a new bottle.” The reason I characterized the bill that way was because it really was nothing new and it rested on a very old fallacy, namely that the only way to speed up medical “innovation” is to weaken the FDA and its standards for drug and medical device approval, which is exactly what the 21st Century Cures Act would do if passed into law. It’s basically the American cousin to the British Saatchi Bill, which in essence proposed to do very similar things, but even more so, so much so that Andy Lewis referred to it as the “quack’s charter.” Fortunately for the British, the version of the bill that ultimately passed bears little resemblance to the original Saatchi bill and lacked the most onerous removals of patient protections. I’m not so optimistic that the American Saatchi bill will be so watered down.


When I wrote about this misbegotten bill, I pointed out just this aspect of it. What I perhaps didn’t emphasize enough, is that the bill is in essence a “grand bargain,” as Silverman puts it. The bargain is this: Congress will step up funding for the NIH in return for a loosening of regulatory standards at the FDA. Not surprisingly, Silverman thinks that this is a bargain the American people should turn down. Even less surprisingly, I agree even more strongly.


Unfortunately, as I discussed last year, the NIH and by extension the American public don’t get very much for giving up a lot, as this is a bad deal. That’s not to say that there aren’t some good things. For example, the 21st Century Cures Act doesn’t add that much to the NIH budget, a 3% increase per year for three years plus $1.86 billion a year “innovation fund” to support precision medicine initiatives and young scientists. Given that the current budget of the NIH is approximately $32 billion, 3% per year is less than $1 billion a year, which means that nearly two thirds of the increase is spoken for, much of it for “precision medicine.” Having been around, I’m also cynical enough to doubt that the part of the funds allocated to “young investigators” will actually benefit young investigators as much as Mr. Alexander thinks it will. If Mr. Alexander is willing to pump $2.86 billion a year for three years into the NIH, it would do a lot more good if there were no strings attached to the budget increase.


The 21st Century Cures Act is cynical politics played to increase pharmaceutical company profits. It is not, nor has it ever been, about protecting patients. Although its advocates genuinely believe that its purpose is to bring cures faster to patients who need them, the 21st Century Cures Act will do no such thing, and tying changes in the FDA regulatory framework to increasing NIH funding is the ultimate cynical political ploy to gut the FDA and turn back the clock on drug development at least 50 years."


Not good, and I can only imagine how much worse it could get under a President Trump.

Police dashcam catches view of blazing meteor

Full piece...

"A police sergeant looking for speeders captured a fireball streaking across the sky on his dashboard camera early Tuesday.

The bright flash visible from several states was apparently left by a meteor burning up as it passed through Earth's atmosphere. Other people and webcams also captured images of the fireball.

The American Meteor Society reported more than 400 sightings in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and parts of Canada.

Portland police Sgt. Tim Farris was parked in front of the Central Fire Station when his camera captured the meteor lighting up the sky around 12:50 a.m.


Very cool, I think!

ADHD may emerge after childhood for some people, according to new study



Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder marked by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity and is one of the most common behavioural disorders in children. It is widely believed that adult ADHD is the continuation of the disorder from childhood.

However, researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's found that nearly 70 per cent of the young adults with ADHD in their study did not meet criteria for the disorder at any of the childhood assessments. Adults with this 'late-onset' ADHD had high levels of symptoms, impairment and other mental health disorders.

Published in JAMA Psychiatry, these findings have important implications for our understanding of ADHD, as ADHD that onsets in adulthood could have different causes to childhood ADHD.

Findings from this UK cohort are confirmed by evidence for adult-onset ADHD world-wide: a study from Brazil will be published by JAMA Psychiatry alongside this research, which also identified a large proportion of adults with ADHD as not having the disorder in childhood. Both the UK and Brazilian studies support previous findings from a New Zealand cohort.



Hmm. Hey, what's that over there? Hmm. Shiny.

Moose calves die in New Hampshire as ticks feed on them during short winters


"The fight between moose and ticks in New Hampshire has become a serious issue as almost 75% of 36 moose calves, which were part of a New Hampshire project, have died due to tick attack. Winter ticks are killers that breed in shorter and milder winters. Therefore, if shorter winters continue in future, moose death is inevitable.

During short winters, ticks latch onto moose and feed on them. A moose offer feeding ground to up to 75,000 ticks on its body. The moose become week when spring comes and they starve to death. When their host dies, ticks look for another host to feed on. The data collected through project revealed that this year is the second to have a high mortality rate for moose calves.

According to moose biologist Kristine Rines, the lower number of moose also means less density of ticks as they rely on these calves' population to survive. The reducing population of moose somehow benefits them. However, the biologists are not aware about when their numbers become proportionate.

"The winter tick is on the moose all winter up until right now when moose are molting and shedding their winter coat and so the three life stages, larvae, nymph and adult are all operating at the moose, taking blood meals on those three occasions", said Maine's moose biologist Lee Kantar.



New horned dinosaur species discovered in Montana by amateur


"A novice fossil collector's lucky find in a remote Montana badlands more than a decade ago represents a new kind of spectacularly-horned dinosaur, researchers announced Wednesday.

The bones unearthed near Winifred, Montana represent a previously-unknown species of dinosaur that lived 76 million years ago.

It's scientific name is Spiclypeus shipporum (spi-CLIP-ee-us ship-OR-um) but it's been nicknamed "Judith," after the Judith River rock formation where it was found in 2005 by retired nuclear physicist Bill Shipp.

Canadian Museum of Nature paleontologist Jordan Mallon says Judith is closely-related to the well-known Triceratops. Both had horned faces and elaborate head frills.



Naturopaths, Funded By Vitamin Companies, Seek Licensure, Reimbursement


"Naturopaths, who practice an alternative medicine heavy on herbal supplements, are making a big push to gain more authority and stature across the United States, including the right to do more hands-on patient care and to be reimbursed by Medicare.

That’s raising concern among critics who see naturopaths as quacks — and who warn that offering them state licenses, insurance reimbursements, and other recognition only legitimizes their pseudoscience.

“You don’t want to regulate the snake-oil salesmen,” said Steven Salzberg, a computational biologist at Johns Hopkins who has been a vocal critic of naturopaths. “They don’t offer something that works to begin with.”

Naturopaths’ lobbying and public relations drives are funded in part by vitamin companies, which have a vested interest in seeing the profession expand, since many naturopaths promote dietary supplements, herbal remedies, and vitamin infusions for healing.



Further reading on this issue...

Nobody licenses quacks in my state! HB 4531 and the licensing of naturopaths in Michigan


36 years ago, Mount St. Helens erupted, has helped scientists since


"For weeks in spring 1980, Mount St. Helens' northern flank rose about 5 feet a day as magma pushed the ground higher.

Then on May 18, the ground shook violently as much of the volcano's northern side collapsed in a massive landslide, causing an eruption that spewed ash almost 80,000 feet into the air.

A nine-hour cataclysm began to unfold.

Today -- 36 years later -- that ground collapse is continuing to help scientist who study volcanos and eruptions identify other past and present magmatic events.



Memories, or something like that...

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