by Kasra Hassani
Health, Medicine, and Veterinary Sciences subject editor
Health, Medicine, and Veterinary Science bloggers at Science Borealis have had a busy summer generating informative and entertaining stories for their readers. Here are some summer highlights from our favorite blogs.
Regulating homeopathic products
Science-Based Pharmacy blog has been keenly following the ongoing debate about the regulation of homeopathic products in Canada.
Homeopathy is based on the premise that a substance that causes disease in healthy people can cure sick people if delivered in very, very, very, small doses. Homeopathic practices have been largely discredited by research studies, and homeopathic products are known to be no more effective than placebo. Despite mountains of scientific evidence showing their ineffectiveness, homeopathic products are approved by Health Canada and benefit from minimal Health Canada regulation regarding their content and marketing. An investigation by CBC Marketplace into how easy it is to get a homeopathic product approved by Health Canada made the media rounds in the spring.
The sale and marketing of homeopathic products is a topic of heated debate because these products are widely available, bundled together with “natural health” products and located alongside proven drugs and remedies. Since they contain no active reagent and are little more than sugar pills, they can be marketed as safe and harmless. However, one can easily imagine the harm done if they were to be used as a replacement for effective disease treatment or prevention, such as vaccines or cold remedies for children.
The food industry, diets, and the obesity epidemic
Hardly a day passes without the word “diet” being thrown around. At Obesity Panacea, Travis Saunders discusses the relationship between the food industry and population health issues, such as childhood obesity. The obesity epidemic is a complex phenomenon involving many inter-related factors, such as diet, lifestyle, and the environment. Determining the exact causes of this epidemic is a critical research question, and the answer might (intriguingly) relate to who is funding the research study. On this blog, you can read more about Big Food and Public Health Research, The Coca Cola-funded Global Energy Balance Network, and the causes of the childhood obesity epidemic
The Science of Eating Disorders blog takes a broader look at the interplay of the food industry, diets, and health. They discuss an article that claims that the rise of eating disorders is a political issue, related to the capitalist and neoliberal way of life and government. This article takes a historical look at how politics and industry have impacted food production, preparation, and consumption over the past 40 years.
A science case for in vitro meat
While we’re on the topic of diets and industry, take a look at this humorous post on Signals blog explaining how meat could be produced in laboratories. This could help lower (but not obliterate) the economic cost and environmental impact of food production. Meat-lovers of the world might rejoice over the idea of eating meat without having to kill animals, but unfortunately affordable in vitro meat is so far an idea for the future.
There’s more to explore
Check out the Science Borealis blog feed for more health, medicine, and veterinary science reads at Companion Animal Psychology, Biology Bizarre, The Brain from Top to Bottom, Maman Éprouvette, and many others!