The infiltration of pseudoscience and simply bad medicine into mainstream medicine continues. Hospitals are an easy breech point because they are run by administrators who may have more talent and interest in marketing than in science. Many hospitals in my area, for example, proudly display their integrative centers, offering nutrition advice and massage alongside more dubious offerings, such as reflexology and reiki.
So-called alternative treatments are tempting because they are often not covered by insurance, and so patients will have to pay cash for them, and they are often inexpensive to run so they are a nice cash cow for hospitals.
The Wall Street Journal reports another, more serious, chapter in this infiltration the opening of Chinese herbal clinics, specifically in the Cleveland Clinic. The article itself is reasonably balanced, and lacks the gushing anecdotes that most such pieces have, but could certainly have been more hard-hitting in terms of the serious problems with herbal medicine.
Total cases jumped 100%+ in two weeks… mortality 42% or worse, no vaccine (though 5 major pharmas are working on one)
“It took us over a year to get the first hundred cases of this viral infection,” Dr. Michael Osterholm tells NPR. “Now in just the last two weeks, we’ve had a hundred cases. … There’s a major change occurring that cannot just be attributed to better case detection. Something’s happening…
“When humans readily transmit [a virus] to humans, that’s what will cause a worldwide outbreak,” Osterholm says. “We are very concerned that … with what we’ve seen over the last two weeks … we may be at that point now.”
“It’s time for the world to wake up and demand that the Middle East do the kind of job that we need done to stop this transmission [of MERS],” he says, “and to protect the rest of the world.”
The spike in cases, especially among health care workers, could be a signal that the virus has reached a tipping point and could be ready to spread out of the region, says Osterholm, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota (CIDRAP).
Jack Kloppenburg (left), professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, Irwin Goldman (center), chair of the Department of Horticulture, and Claire Luby (right), graduate student in the UW’s Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics program, fill envelopes with non-patented seeds in the Horticulture office in Moore Hall.
This week, scientists, farmers and sustainable food systems advocates will gather on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to celebrate an unusual group of honored guests: 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains that are being publicly released using a novel form of ownership agreement known as the Open Source Seed Pledge.
The pledge, which was developed through a UW-Madison-led effort known as the Open Source Seed Initiative, is designed to keep the new seeds free for all people to grow, breed and share for perpetuity, with the goal of protecting the plants from patents and other restrictions down the line.