Quick and Healthy: Bad Medicine

Quick and Healthy: Bad Medicine

“Quick & Healthy” offers some highlights from the world of health and wellness that you may have missed this week:

  • After decades of giving it a free pass, the Food and Drug Administration signaled this week that it may begin to finally crack down on homeopathic treatments. Homeopathy, which involves the use of plants, herbs, and minerals to combat a variety of ailments, is widely considered to be a quack pseudoscience. Although the “remedies” may have some short-term value as placebos, it’s possible that they interfere with, or preclude patients from attaining, actual medical treatment.
  • Surprise! A new, highly exhaustive study shows that vaccines still do not cause autism — even among children who are at a higher risk. Researchers studied more than 95,000 children and found that receiving the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine did not lead to an increased chance of developing autism. Unfortunately, the anti-vaxxer crowd staunchly adheres to its discredited studies and paranoid theories, and other studies suggest that new scientific information not only won’t change their minds, but will make them more likely to double down on their beliefs.
  • 3D printers that use organic material  — known as “bioprinters” — have made incredible advances in the last few years, replacing body parts and generating entire organs. And now, a new biotech startup plans to begin creating synthetic eyeballs, a feat that eluded previous bioprinting efforts due to the eye’s complexity. As planned, the most advanced of the artificial eyeballs won’t just be a replacement body part — it will be an enhanced eye that allows you to apply filters to your vision or share what you see via wi-fi.
  • A startup is working on a new way to screen for breast and ovarian cancer that is non-invasive, effective, and, crucially, inexpensive. The new procedure tests saliva for the gene mutations most likely to lead to breast and ovarian cancer and Color Genomics, the startup behind the effort, plans to charge $249 for the procedure—a mere tenth of what other tests on the market charge. The hope is this will, in the words of Color Genomics’ chief executive, “democratize access to genetic testing.”

Photo: Homeopathic remedies (Jason Testler Guerilla Future via Flickr)

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