24 Aug

NYTimes.com – Its Gene Patents Upheld, Myriad Genetics Moves to Protect Its Secrets

Myriad Genetics retained its monopoly on a lucrative genetic test for breast cancer risk when a federal appeals court recently upheld the company’s patents on two human genes — and the validity of gene patents in general.

But it is only a matter of time before the company’s business faces severe challenges, some experts say, because that $3,340 test is technologically outmoded, incomplete and too costly.

“Science has moved beyond what these folks do,” said Mary-Claire King, a professor of genome sciences and medicine at the University of Washington. “It’s not good for the science and it’s not good for the patients and their clinicians if they cannot have the most complete, up-to-date information.”

via NYTimes.com – Its Gene Patents Upheld, Myriad Genetics Moves to Protect Its Secrets. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the idea of patents on genes, the fact that these patents are forcing patients to undergo a more expensive and less effective procedure should give anyone concern.

27 Mar

NYTimes.com – Radiation + Cable Anchor + Science = ?

Nancy Grace’s behavior on Monday could be seen as simply laughable. But I think it’s far more serious than that, particularly as long as this channel called HLN includes the word news in its description.

She’s smart enough, with a New York University master’s degree in law, to know what she’s doing. I do think she’d benefit, if she wants to keep analyzing news related to science, to spend some time at the university’s great Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting program.

Particularly in situations like this one, where there is an implicit tendency toward emotional reactions and away from rational consideration of hazards, there is a heightened need for the media to remain anchored in reality.Another option for CNN would be to drop the word news from this channel’s description and seek out Charlie Sheen as a co-host.

via NYTimes.com – Radiation + Cable Anchor + Science = ?. Cable news no matter the network typically is a pile of fail when it comes to science.

20 Mar

NYTimes.com – Whatever Nuclear Power’s Threat, No Easy Alternatives

But the alarm in Japan and globally belies the fact that nuclear power plants, in the approximately half a century that they have existed, have caused fewer deaths than another common source of power production: coal.

via NYTimes.com – Whatever Nuclear Power’s Threat, No Easy Alternatives. Not typically known but true, especially when taking into account the pollutants that coal plants emit. It’s the whole thing of how the rare threat is scarier than the common threat.

27 Feb

The Washington Monthly – How The Media Covers Health Care Rulings, Cont’d

To clarify a couple of things, it’s true the Washington Post print edition published literally nothing on the Kessler ruling. Politico, meanwhile, did run a 702-word piece, but it was largely about the broader health care fight, and only briefly mentioned this week’s Kessler ruling.

As a legal matter, none of these ruling is more important than the other — they’re all at the federal district level, they’re all dealing with the same law, and they’ll all be subjected to an appeal.

And yet, the discrepancy is overwhelming. In every instance, conservative rulings get more coverage, longer articles, and better placement.

via The Washington Monthly – How The Media Covers Health Care Rulings, Cont’d. The larger implication is how the public winds up perceiving each of these rulings, all again with the exact same legal implication.

23 Feb

NYTimes.com – How to Make Oatmeal . . . Wrong

The bottom-line question is, “Why?” Why would McDonald’s, which appears every now and then to try to persuade us that it is adding “healthier” foods to its menu, take a venerable ingredient like oatmeal and turn it into expensive junk food? Why create a hideous concoction of 21 ingredients, many of them chemical and/or unnecessary? Why not try, for once, to keep it honest?

via NYTimes.com – How to Make Oatmeal . . . Wrong. Honest doesn’t make them quite as much money.

28 Jan

Why we changed our minds and started to vaccinate. – Skeparent

What I started to notice was that the anti-VAX “movement” didn’t have any real evidence backing its reasoning. There were many sad stories (and many of them were truly heartbreaking) correlating autism and other diseases with vaccines. There were a lot of anecdotes. Yet no evidence. And I was looking for evidence. Facts.

via Skeparent – Posts – Why we changed our minds and started to vaccinate.. Something to consider with regards to the earlier post on vaccines.