Just wanted to share with you all a couple of updates for our Fall Symposium. We’re very pleased to have two invited speakers so far: John Christiansen of Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Mitchell Waldrop of Nature magazine.
John is the director of the Advanced Simulation Technologies Center at ANL, and has over 30 years of modeling and simulation experience across many fields, including: meteorology, ecology, botany, anthropology, archeology, healthcare, and more. He will present some of his work on a recent NSF Grand Challenge in Biocomplexity, which created an agent-based model to study the rise and fall of Ancient Mesopotamia. He will also use this work to illustrate different hardware and software platforms, with a particular focus on the challenges on going from the desktop to HPC.
Mitch is currently the editorial
For the past year or so I’ve been eating about 80% vegan. I hate the word “vegan” because it has political/ideological connotations I don’t ascribe to, and also because by definition that’s not what I am. I think Dr. Fuhrman’s neologism, nutritarian sums up my position on food choices:
A person who [eats for health] is called a nutritarian, and understands that food has powerful disease–protecting and therapeutic effects and seeks to consume a broad array of micronutrients via their food choices. It is not sufficient to merely avoid fats. It is not sufficient for the diet to have a low glycemic index. It is not sufficient for the diet to be low in animal products. It is not sufficient for the diet to be mostly raw food. A truly healthy diet must be micronutrient rich and the micronutrient richness must be adjusted to meet individual needs. The foods with the highest micronutrient per calorie scores are green vegetables, colorful vegetables, and fresh fruits. For
This is a very complex topic, as the following talk suggests:
The main takeaways from this that I got are:
- Cancers for which sunlight deficit is a risk factor are orders of magnitude more prevalent than the few for which overexposure is a risk factor.
- People who are using sunscreen regularly are precisely the ones who shouldn’t be.
- We should be very careful and sparing about recommending sunscreen usage or sun avoidance, and always temper such advice with the tradeoffs of not getting enough sunlight.
As someone who wonders on a regular basis whether the public has the right information to make informed decisions about health-related tradeoffs, I am curious… does the above strike you as surprising? What do you currently do regarding sun exposure, and are you likely to change anything based on the above? What do you think the overall message that reaches the masses is regarding sun exposure?…
According to a new report in Gastroenterology (July 09), Celiac Disease is now 4 times more common in the US than it was during the 1950’s. The disease results from an intolerance to the protein gluten, found in wheat, barley, and rye. When celiac patients consume gluten, they suffer an inflammatory reaction within the small intestine that can lead to a host of manifestations, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, infertility, malnutrition, and premature osteoporosis. It can develop at any age and is frequently misdiagnosed or undiagnosed because of its non-specific symptoms. Based on this new evaluation, about 1 in 100 people have it and many are not aware. Anyone with chronic gastrointestinal complaints or any of the features listed above, should be screened for this disease. A simple blood test can determine the diagnosis in most cases. Treatment entails lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet. The “silver lining” for folks diagnosed with Celiac disease is that it largely and forever commits them to
I was listening today to a Fresh Air interview from a couple of weeks ago on the reasons for the high cost of health care:
Highly informative and thought provoking. One thing that struck me was the discussion about how we don’t pay primary care physicians enough and that specialists make a majority of the dollars. This is not earth shattering news, but it I was reminded of a similar problem in higher education. Specialization is highly valued where as general studies and thinking/life skills are not, despite the fact that it’s these more general abilities and knowledge that determine how successful you are in your chosen trade (specialized or not). Same thing in medical care: it’s not the specialists who have the most impact on your health and mortality, it’s …
Here is a fascinating discussion on NPR’s Forum from earlier this year on the subject of mercury and fish:
If you’ve listened to this the whole way through (which you should), I’m curious as to how it will affect your habits, if at all. And why?…
The following quotes are from a book describing a real set of events:
[The incident] is an extraordinary example of what happens when you get… a dozen people with an average IQ of 160… working in a field in which they collectively have 250 years of experience… employing a ton of leverage.
It’s hard to overstate the significance of a [government-led] rescues of a private [corporation]. If a [company], however large was too big to fail, then what large [company] would ever be allowed to collapse? The government risked becoming the margin of safety. No serious consequences had come about in the end from the… near-meltdown.
Was the incident:
a) The savings and loan scandal
b) The collapse of Enron
c) The sub-prime mortgage meltdown
d) none of the above
First correct answer gets to invest in an exciting new bridge project I’m involved with in New York!…
Derek Abbott says Australia alone could solve the world’s current and future energy needs using solar thermal and liquid hydrogen. Saul Griffith says, practically speaking this is not feasible and we need to use all available clean energy technology and reduce and conserve substantially or we are doomed. Who is “less wrong”, Derek or Saul?…