August 2012

New inexpensive, fast and sensitive blood test strip that accurately identifies pancreatic and some other cancers

Jack Andraka, a 15 years old, invented an inexpensive, fast and sensitive blood test strip that accurately identifies pancreatic, lung and some other cancers using single walled carbon nanotubes - in five minutes, for a few cents and without specialized equipment.

Can soap cure nighttime leg cramps?

It's probably the placebo effect and you should probably get more potassium.

Every year brings a new crop of oddball medical cures. And now, from the collective unconscious that brought you "a bag of water will repel flies" (it won't, it really really won't) comes this new cure for night time leg cramping: a bar of soap. Yes, soap. Doesn't even matter which kind of soap, which is kind of a clue that it is bogus, if you ask me.

Here is the scenario: you suffer from leg cramps at night. Simply slip a bar of soap between the covers, and your leg cramps will go away. Or, when you get a leg cramp, touch your leg with a bar of soap and the cramps will dissolve. I have heard it said both ways.
Neither method makes a lick of sense, but that doesn't stop people believing it. Just like magnets and copper for pain relief, soap for cramps is one of those folk remedies that people seem to believe without a lick of proof.

Yes, women who are raped can get pregnant

And drawing a distinction between "legitimate rape" is loathsome.

Todd Akin, Missouri's Republican candidate for Senate recently told a St. Louis radio station that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy. It is Akin's belief that, in his own words, "If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down."

One of the many problems with this statement is that it is, quite simply, wrong. It is as wrong as the medieval belief that bad smells (miasmas) cause illness. As wrong as the Renaissance medical system of humors. It is not even debatably wrong, like the beliefs of climate change deniers. It is simply, 100 percent incorrect.
Like the "dunking stool" used in the Salem witch trials, pregnancy is - for some people - the indication that a woman was not "really" raped. For example, if a woman was wearing a short skirt or was a little bit tipsy, that - in their opinion - means that it was not a "legitimate rape." How can you tell? Because she got pregnant. 

Kinesio Tape: The latest Pseudoscientific fad

Pain is a funny thing; it is incredibly susceptible to the placebo effect.

Kinesiology tape (a.k.a. "kinesio tape") has made a big splash at the Olympics. Suddenly this formerly small-scale bit of pseudoscience has become an item of everyday conversation. Everyone is wondering, what is the deal with that colorful tape all over the Olympic athletes?

Kinesio tape was developed by a Japanese chiropractor and acupuncturist whose website assures visitors that it is "Real Science. Real Research. Real Results." That's not a good sign right there. No one has to tell you that cooking chicken to a minimum 165 degree internal temperature is "real science," or that recommendations that you wash your hands before you eat is the result of "real research."
Another red flag is that one of the main (alleged) effects of Kinesio tape is in pain relief. Pain is a funny thing; it is incredibly susceptible to the placebo effect.