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Back At It…

The Bird's Brain - July 2, 2018 - 4:02pm

I looked at the date of my last blog posting… just about 6 years ago, in fact… and am amazed at how things have progressed since then.

I obviously stopped blogging, but in the past 6 years I have managed to continue broadcasting TWIS, written articles for some great science magazines, appeared on cable tv science programming, done bits for what is now called Seeker on the Discovery Digital Platform, been hosting a second podcast (the Stem Cell podcast), become part of an amazing science communication organization called ScienceTalk, started to build a science media production company called Broader Impacts Productions, moved to Portland, and raised my little NanoKai into a wonderful 7-year old boy.

During that time, I also struggled off and on with depression, which certainly added a challenge to life. But, I discovered ways to deal with the lows, and try to really appreciate the good days. It doesn’t always work out the way I envision, but I am getting better and better at rolling with the unpredictability of my moods.

More recently, however, I have been feeling like some part of myself that was lost somewhere in the past is returning. Hence, this post, and my plan to get back into blogging… writing on a regular basis. Words stream through my mind that in the past few years have simply been lost to consciousness, slipping through the neuronal fingers of my mind. Now, I’m grabbing them with intention – some to be placed here for posterity.

I don’t know how many of these words will hit the pages of this blog. There are so many things I want to say; books I want to write. It might take me a while to hit my stride again, but I look forward to every moment of trying. Thank you for joining me in this venture.

Write on…

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Categories: Science

Clínica 0-19: False hope in Monterrey for brain cancer patients (part 2)

Science-Based Medicine - July 2, 2018 - 3:00am
Last week, I discussed Clínica 0-19, a clinic in Monterrey, Mexico whose doctors claim to be able to treat the deadly brainstem cancer DIPG using intra-arterial chemotherapy and immunotherapy. This week, I discuss what I've learned since last week, specifically a lot more about just what it is that these doctors do, why it is scientifically dubious and unproven, and why I am becoming even more harsh in my assessment of this clinic, which shows every indication of being a predatory clinic selling an unproven treatment for a very high price.
Categories: Science

X & Y

Radiolab Podcasts - June 30, 2018 - 6:00am

A lot of us understand biological sex with a pretty fateful underpinning: if you’re born with XX chromosomes, you’re female; if you’re born with XY chromosomes, you’re male. But it turns out, our relationship to the opposite sex is more complicated than we think.

This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Matt Kielty. With scoring, original composition and mixing by Matt Kielty and Alex Overington. Additional production by Rachael Cusick, and editing by Pat Walters. The “Ballad of Daniel Webster” and “Gonads” was written, performed and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington.

Thank you to the musicians who gave us permission to use their work in this episode—composer Erik Friedlander, for "Frail as a Breeze, Part II," and musician Sam Prekop, whose work "A Geometric," from his album The Republic, is out on Thrill Jockey.

Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org.

 

Categories: Science

Rise of the Miscellany of Medical Malarkey…Again

Science-Based Medicine - June 29, 2018 - 8:00am
More deaths in the European measles outbreak. Experts call for a national registry of sleep-related deaths in infants. Raw milk puts several Tennessee children in the intensive care unit. Oh, and medicinal dog urine. It must be time for another miscellany of medical malarkey.
Categories: Science

Alternative Flea Control Products

Science-Based Medicine - June 29, 2018 - 3:00am
Every natural pet health website has their recommendations for flea treatments that don’t use harsh chemicals. The evidence for their claims is nonexistent. It’s appropriate that they’re talking about parasitic organisms, but I don’t think they see the irony.
Categories: Science

Vitamin D and the relationship to colon cancer

Science-Based Medicine - June 28, 2018 - 7:56am
Colorectal cancer is common. A new study examines the relationship with vitamin D levels.
Categories: Science

Polio Outbreak in Papua New Guinea

Science-Based Medicine - June 27, 2018 - 7:34am
A recent case of polio on Papua New Guinea shows that we cannot rest until the eradication of polio is complete. Close is not good enough.
Categories: Science

How We Believe

Science-Based Medicine - June 26, 2018 - 3:00am
James Alcock's new book about belief is a masterpiece that explains how our minds work, how we form beliefs, and why they are so powerful. It amounts to a course in psychology and an owner's manual for the brain.
Categories: Science

Clínica 0-19: False hope in Monterrey for brain cancer patients

Science-Based Medicine - June 25, 2018 - 3:00am
Drs. Alberto Sille and Alberto Garcia run Clínica 0-19 in Monterrey, Mexico, which has become a magnet for patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a deadly brain cancer. Unfortunately, their treatment is an unproven combination of 11 chemotherapy drugs injected into an artery feeding the brainstem, plus an unknown and unproven "immunotherapy." Of course it all costs $300,000 or more for a complete course of treatment, and of course the good doctors are "too busy to do clinical trials," despite having done this for 20 years. If it quacks like a duck...
Categories: Science

Fronads

Radiolab Podcasts - June 23, 2018 - 6:45pm

At 28 years old, Annie Dauer was living a full life. She had a job she loved as a highschool PE teacher, a big family who lived nearby, and a serious boyfriend. Then, cancer struck. Annie would come to find out she had Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It was so aggressive, there was a real chance she might die. Her oncologists wanted her to start treatment immediately. Like, end-of-the-week immediately. But before Annie started treatment, she walked out of the doctor’s office and crossed the street to see a fertility doctor doing an experimental procedure that sounded like science fiction: ovary freezing.

Further ReadingA medical case report on Annie’s frozen ovariesWhat’s primordial germ cells got to do with it?

This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Pat Walters. With original music and scoring by Dylan Keefe. The Gonads theme was written, performed, and produced by Majel Connery and Alex Overington. Additional production by Rachael Cusick, and editing by Jad Abumrad.

Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org.

Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.

Categories: Science

Certification in chiropractic techniques: legitimate care or tomfoolery?

Science-Based Medicine - June 22, 2018 - 3:00am
Chiropractic vertebral subluxation theory breeds a variety of questionable diagnostic and treatment methods. Certification in use of a subluxation-based technique offers no assurance that the technique is effective or scientifically acceptable.
Categories: Science

Prevagen goes P-hacking

Science-Based Medicine - June 21, 2018 - 1:00am
Can post-hoc data-dredging produce competent and reliable scientific evidence for Prevagen's claims of memory improvement? The FTC and consumer groups say "no."
Categories: Science

Is Gaming Addiction a Thing?

Science-Based Medicine - June 20, 2018 - 7:16am
The WHO has added gaming disorder as an official ICD diagnosis, and the APA is considering adding gaming disorder to the DSM. What is gaming disorder and how should it be diagnosed?
Categories: Science

H.O.P.E.: A Movie Promoting Veganism

Science-Based Medicine - June 19, 2018 - 3:00am
H.O.P.E., a movie promoting veganism, is short on science and long on appeals to emotion.
Categories: Science

ASCO endorses the integration of quackery into breast cancer care

Science-Based Medicine - June 18, 2018 - 3:00am
In 2014, the Society for Integrative Oncology first published clinical guidelines for the care of breast cancer patients. Not surprisingly, SIO advocated "integrating" dubious therapies with oncology. Last week, the most influential oncology society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), endorsed a 2017 update to the SIO guidelines, thus endorsing the "integration" of quackery with oncology and paving the way for insurance coverage. The advance of quackademic medicine in oncology continues apace.
Categories: Science

Anti-Vaccine Hotspots are Getting Hotter

Science-Based Medicine - June 15, 2018 - 7:00am
More parents are seeking to avoid childhood vaccinations in states that allow nonmedical exemptions. These "hotspots" of decreasing vaccination rates, some of which include large urban cities, are likely locations for future outbreaks of preventable disease.
Categories: Science

The Primordial Journey

Radiolab Podcasts - June 15, 2018 - 4:00am

At two weeks old, the human embryo has only just begun its months-long journey to become a baby. The embryo is tiny, still invisible to the naked eye. But inside it, an epic struggle plays out, as a nomadic band of cells marches toward a mysterious destiny, with the future of humanity resting on their microscopic shoulders.

This episode was reported by Molly Webster, and produced by Jad Abumrad. With scoring and original composition by Alex Overington and Dylan Keefe. Additional production by Rachael Cusick, and editing by Pat Walters. The “Ballad of the Fish” and “Gonads” was produced by Alex Overington and sung by Majel Connery.

Special thanks to Ruth Lehmann and Dagmar Wilhelm.

Radiolab is supported in part by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science. And the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world. More information about Sloan at www.sloan.org.

Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.

Categories: Science

So-Called Alternative Medicine

Science-Based Medicine - June 14, 2018 - 9:00am
Edzard Ernst calls it "So-Called Alternative Medicine". This insider's view of SCAM is a new book from an prolific researcher and author.
Categories: Science

Halotherapy – The Latest Spa Pseudoscience

Science-Based Medicine - June 13, 2018 - 7:53am
Halotherapy, sitting in a salt room, is the latest spa trend, just as full of pseudoscience and false claims as we have come to expect from wellness spas.
Categories: Science

Do Sunscreens Cause Cancer?

Science-Based Medicine - June 12, 2018 - 3:00am
Elizabeth Plourde thinks sunscreens cause cancer rather than preventing it. She blames sunscreens for everything from coral reef die-offs to autism. Neither her evidence nor her reasoning stand up to scrutiny.
Categories: Science

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