Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


Missing mice produce questionable data

Not only are mouse data often meaningless for humans, but according to a recent piece by Monya Baker in Nature News: Reports of hundreds of biomedical experiments lack essential information. Whereas reports of clinical trials in major medical journals routinely state how many patients die or drop out of analysis during the course of a study, animal studies generally fail to report this figure — or drop animals without saying why, according to a team led by Ulrich Dirnagl at the Charité Medical University in Berlin. That lapse could significantly bias results, the team reports in the journal PLoS Biology. … Dirnagl’s team reviewed 100 reports published between 2000 and 2013 describing 522 experiments that used rodents to test cancer Read More ›

Mice studies often meaningless for humans?

From RealClearScience: “Animal models are limited in their ability to mimic the extremely complex process of human carcinogenesis, physiology and progression,” McMaster University scientists Isabella Mak, Nathan Evaniew, and Michelle Ghert, wrote in 2014. “Therefore the safety and efficacy identified in animal studies is generally not translated to human trials.” While the systems that regulate gene activity are generally the same in mice and humans, there are key biological differences in other areas that prevent successful results from applying to humans. Transcription factor binding sites, where information is passed on, differ for between 41 and 89 percent of the genes that our species share. Moreover, unlike humans, mice used in studies are often highly inbred. The mouse immune system is Read More ›

How blood is made redefined

From ScienceDaily: Stem-cell scientists redefine how blood is made, toppling conventional ‘textbook’ view The findings, published online in the journal Science, prove “that the whole classic ‘textbook’ view we thought we knew doesn’t actually even exist,” says principal investigator John Dick, Senior Scientist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network (UHN), and Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto. “Instead, through a series of experiments we have been able to finally resolve how different kinds of blood cells form quickly from the stem cell — the most potent blood cell in the system — and not further downstream as has been traditionally thought,” says Dr. Dick, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology Read More ›

Medicine: Sitting does not increase overall mortality risk

From Reason: Epidemiology Makes Astrology Look Respectable Earlier this year, a review article in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that among other bad outcomes found in a bunch of mostly case-control studies that sitting all day at a desk job increased your risk of dying with a hazard ratio of 1.22 and 95 percent confidence interval of 1.090 to 1.410. Time to get a desk with an attached treadmill. Well, maybe not. Last week, a new study in the International Journal of Epidemiology that took into account the sitting habits of a cohort of British subjects for 16 years reported: Sitting time was not associated with all-cause mortality risk. The results of this study suggest that policy makers and Read More ›

Quack medicine: Real harm vs. possibly useful silliness

A friend kindly linked us to a Reason feature on the alternative medicine “racket:” Behind the dubious medical claims of Dr. Mehmet Oz and Deepak Chopra is a decades-long strategy to promote alternative medicine to the American public. Twenty-three years ago, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began to investigate a wide variety of unconventional medical practices from around the world. Five-and-a-half billion dollars later, the NIH has found no cures for disease. But it has succeeded in bringing every kind of quackery—from faith healing to homeopathy—out of the shadows and into the heart of the American medical establishment. … The OAM’s stated mission was to investigate the medical value of alternative therapies. Despite its minuscule budget, its mandate was Read More ›

Is medicine a scientific enterprise?

A view from alternative medicine and a view from anti-alternative medicine. The row was touched off by the Mayo Clinic offering alternative therapies (linked at sites). One reason this is an unusually difficult problem is that the patient’s view of what is happening is part of what is happening. As great physicists have noted, the mind is real. The placebo effect is one of the most powerful effects in medicine, which is why drugs must be tested against placebo (control group). Not because placebo doesn’t work but precisely because it does. Thoughts welcome. See also: Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away Follow UD News at Twitter!

Diverse genomes in a single person?

The Scientist asks, Diverse mammals, including humans, have been found to carry distinct genomes in their cells. What does such genetic chimerism mean for health and disease? … One common cause of such microchimerism is maternal-fetal trafficking of cells during pregnancy. The placenta is not an unbreachable barrier. Evidence of two-way cell transport across the placenta was reported as early as the 1950s and ’60s. While the mother’s immune system gets rid of most of her baby’s cells shortly after delivery, small numbers of fetal cells have been observed in mothers decades after they have given birth. In fact, because even spontaneous abortions cause fetal cells to be released into the mother’s body, women who become pregnant but never give Read More ›

Language of science: Does medical science matter ?

Someone at the Guardian asked: But who cares what language science is in, especially – you or I might ask – when it’s one we speak? In 2001, an editorial in the journal Nature Cell Biology argued (in English): “The use of a universal language for communication in science is unavoidable, and resisting this concept for the sake of cultural difference would seem to be counterproductive.” Maybe language barriers in print aren’t all that important. A chemist might reasonably say that they can follow a paper published in another language pretty easily: once you know what you’re doing, you can get pretty far just by reading the equations. The English used in scientific publications tends to be more standardised and simplified Read More ›