Archive for the ‘Science & Health’ Category

Questions linger on H1N1 vaccine

(Note: this article pertaining to the H1N1 influenza was first published in 2009)

The preparations for flu season are here. Some local schools, with parental sign-offs, are set to begin administering FluMist. The first shipments of vaccine for the “novel H1N1 flu” are coming in for higher risk people, with more on the way for much of the remainder of the population.

All of this has been covered by every news organization in the U.S., including this newspaper. Yet in the minds of many there is more to the story.

So you won’t be confused, the “novel H1N1 flu” is not swine flu. It is a combination of swine, avian and human influenza. Read the rest of this entry »

What is Science Afraid Of?

I happened to be at conference at Emory in 1977 to present a paper on the impact of “belief” on human consciousness. Also presenting that day was another Georgia State student. Her paper held that Science qualified as a “belief system.” She was not the first or the last to put forward that thesis.

A belief system, according to Webster, is a fixed, coherent set of beliefs prevalent in a community or a society. It is also defined as faith based on a series of beliefs but not formalized into a religion. Once a little known term from Anthropology, the term “belief system” is much more widely used today, including as an often-used substitute for the word “religion.” This is because, by its very nature, a belief system explains the origin and existence of life and the Earth, the nature and origin of the universe and so on. Read the rest of this entry »

The Things We Do Not Know

There is a type of research beginning to emerge that may, in years to come, trigger a real debate in science and, hopefully, a re-writing of state and federal environmental regulations on a scale that would make what happened with the decades-long research into tobacco look like child’s play.

Unless researchers are forestalled by money and power, the impact could have national and global significance. You will not hear about this in the state and national media, but you will read about it here. Read the rest of this entry »

The Difference Between Spinach and Onions

Nearly everybody in the country heard about the E. coli outbreak in summer 2006 that was responsible for more than 170 illnesses and at least one death in 25 states after those affected ate fresh spinach. Media websites by the thousands covered the story as it unfolded. The FDA quickly responded to the emergency and zeroed in on farms in Salinas County, California as the source of the tainted spinach. The response was rapid, comprehensive and noteworthy. Media coverage was nothing short of prolific. Read the rest of this entry »

Patterns of a Global Pandemic: The Real Risk of the Threat of Avian Flu

It is exactly what the world does not want and does not need and, in fact, it may not happen. But if the H5N1 strain of Type A influenza mutates sufficiently to begin a global spread from human-to-human, as anticipated by many in the medical and scientific communities, the magnitude of the deaths expected to lay in its wake would be unprecedented in recorded history. Regardless the reason/s, governments around the world, including here in the United States, have failed to appropriately inform their citizens about the real threat of avian flu. Read the rest of this entry »

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