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Posts will be more sporadic than usual while I take advantage of some early spring and do a little more birding than usual. Perhaps my cohorts here will fill some of the gaps.

In other non-replication news lately: There's been a pretty kerfuffle this month in social psychology and science blogging corners over a recent failure to replicate a classic 1996 study of automatic priming by John Bargh, Mark Chen, and Lara Burrows. The non-replication drew the attention of science writer Ed Yong who blogged about it over at Discover, and naturally, of John Bargh, who elected to write a detailed and distinctly piqued rebuttal at Psychology Today.



A rally against reason. That prtty much describes any Santorum campaign rally, doesn't it?

The rally for reason sounds pretty amazing. I wish I was on the east coast.

So, does anyone else get a weird screen with a little quote and a command to redirect, before they get to this site?

I'm pretty sure that is intended. If you have any modern browser you can just type instead of in the address bar.

IIRC it was like this a long time ago as well, anyone remembers?

re: "And finally, there's the issue of the highly complex biological and environmental interactions that contribute to the development of obesity. "

did you see this?

Unborn Babies Face Toxic Chemical Onslaught That OB/GYNs Can Help Guard Against

This article references additional new research about BPA (that plastic coating in most canned foods and sodacan containers and (still) some plastic baby bottles). Exposure is near ubiquitous, and links to obesity and type II diabetes are now clear.

There is a reason for the Blunt Amendment in Congress, and it is not just about women's health. It's about permitting employers, insurers, and states to deny health benefits for illness resulting from "life style" choices ( such as, of course, obesity and type II diabetes). It's a moral issue after all.

An epidemic - the entire country going to plus sizes, like within the last 30 years. This cannot all be explained by 'well, she asked for it'. We did not all suddenly lose our sense of self control here folks. Now that the evidence is coming in, God Forbid that anyone but the individual be responsible for the medical costs arising from the effects of systematic exposure to toxic chemicals in our environment and our food.

from the article: "Sure, our lifestyle has changed over the decades in parallel with the increased use of BPA. Yet scientists have noticed the same fattening trend in newborns, lab rodents, pets and wildlife that live in close proximity to humans. Have babies or mice really changed how much they eat or exercise? Experts highlight this as further evidence that more than just caloric intake is driving the current epidemics of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.""The scary thing is, this is occurring in children. Thirty years ago, we called Type 2 diabetes 'adult-onset,'" vom Saal says. That's not the case anymore."

The studies referenced in this article are pretty appalling. Of the 163 chemicals anayzed in one study, 43 were found in nearly all of the women tested.

"The burden is not just one or two chemicals -- it's actually many," said Woodruff, also a co-author on Giudice's paper. "And we know that these chemicals can act together," with combined effects that may be even greater than the sum of each acting alone.

A recent study led by Tuft's Vandenberg also shows that exposures to even small doses of a toxic chemical can prove hazardouss -- in some cases, the smaller dose actually poses the higher risk.

What's more, scientists are learning that the consequences can last a lifetime, even multiple generations. The groundbreaking evidence of this latter phenomenon -- now an emerging science called epigenetics -- is based on the popular use of a hormone drug by pregnant women in the 1950s and 1960s. Touted at the time for preventing miscarriages, diethylstillbestrol (DES) has now been associated with cancers and reproductive defects in the exposed women's children, as well as their children's children." ...

"The consequences of the continued widespread use of BPA could be most dire for pregnant women and developing fetuses, who appear to be particularly sensitive.

"The fetus is not only exposed to BPA but also to higher levels of insulin from the mother, making the environment for the fetus even more disruptive," says Nadal. "This is a very delicate period."

Previous studies have suggested that the environmental chemicals in the womb can preprogram weight gain later in life. BPA, for example, may tell a growing fetus to develop more fat cells.

Nadal adds that BPA is just one of a larger cocktail of at least 20 endocrine disruptors commonly used in everyday items, including phthalates, nicotine, dioxin, arsenic and tributyltin. Further, obesity and diabetes aren't the only risks posed by the chemicals. Studies also hint at links with cancer, infertility, heart disease and cognitive problems.

Did you see this?

"UPDATE: 3/30 4:00 p.m. -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday that it will continue to allow bisphenol-A (BPA) in food and beverage containers -- denying a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide by Saturday whether to continue allowing bisphenol-A (BPA) in food and beverage containers, Americans' main source of exposure to the chemical implicated in everything from asthma to diabetes.

Studies show that developing fetuses and young children are most vulnerable to the risks. Impoverished kids, whose meals more often come out of BPA-leaching plastic packages and coated metal cans, may bear the brunt of the burden.

"Hormonally active chemicals such as BPA have no place in our kids' life," Sarah Janssen, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told reporters last week.

The impetus for the FDA's pending action is a 2008 petition filed by the NRDC. In December, a court ruled that the agency had to answer the NRDC's request for a ban on BPA by March 31. Other environmental groups and individuals, including Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), have since submitted their own petitions seeking similar action.

Meanwhile, in late February, French lawmakers voted to eliminate the use of the endocrine-mimicking chemical from all food packaging.

The chemical industry, however, maintains that BPA is safe."


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