Skepchick Quickies 5.28


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Uh, oh, Indignant rant coming on! I’ve been doing Alzheimer’s disease research for 12 years so this stuff makes me bonkers. I recently had lunch with a college friend and her partner who is an accupuncturist/ accupressurist/ reflexologist/herbalist/ all that crap. When she found out what I did, she magnanimously stated “You should look into sage. In herbal medicine we’ve known for years that sage can prevent Alzheimer’s – notice I say ‘prevent’ and not ‘cure’, that’s what we say in CAM.”

    I just said mmm-hmmm, bit my tongue bloody and ate my nasty burrito (I know, I’m proud of myself), instead of saying “Oh! How f-ing modest of you! Prevent, huh? We haven’t thought of that, us arrogant ‘cure’-hunting scientists. And to think, thousands of us have been working our asses off for years with billions of dollars of public funds and generous donations and it was so easy this whole time! I’ll have to let everyone know we can stop working and go out for beers. Thanks to ancient wisdom – Mission Accomplished!”

    But civility won the day.

  2. @B Hitt: Did you see Morgan Spurlock’s “30 Days”? Great series…he did one on “anti-aging” “medicine” where an ex-athlete approaching middle age goes to one of these “anti-aging” quacks…er, specialists, because he wants to jump-start getting back in shape, and almost winds up in the hospital from the treatments!

    (For those not in the field, there is NO recognized board certification or specialty in “anti-aging” medicine, hence my scornful quotation marks. You can be a healthier 40-50-60-year 0ld, but you’re still 40-50-60. You don’t “reverse aging”. You just live healthier at your actual age. OK, mini-rant over.)

    And W00T! I contributed a SkepChick Quickie! This made my week! :D

  3. All quack cures and medical pseudoscience pisses me off, but Alzheimers crap pisses me off more than most, since my grandmother died with this awful disease. It’s more personal. And it implies that she could have done something to prevent what happened to her. And it seems to have a genetic component, so I watch my mother closely (she’s getting a bit ‘off’ as she ages) and of course, worry about myself.

    Drinking out of aluminum cans as another ’cause’ of Alzheimers is another issue. Wow, I wonder how people got it a century ago?

  4. @geek goddess: Yeah, there’s a lot of FUD out there, especially about aluminum & Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but in a nutshell, aluminum DOES accumulate in the brains of people with AD, but it’s BECAUSE of the disease process and what it does in the brain. Someone who will never get AD could sprinkle aluminum filings on their Rice Krispies every morning and it won’t affect their risk one bit.

    But that’s why it’s so pervasive. All people know is that autopsied brains of AD victims had aluminum buildup, and so forget cause and effect, the correlation is what sticks in their brain (along with the aluminum).

  5. From the infected snails article:

    An intelligent designer might have stopped at systemic infection and pulsating, brightly colored tentacles. Not evolution, though. Evolution goes up to 11.

    (Sigh) I wish we could award a COTW for the article’s writer.

    It’s one better. ;-)

  6. @MaxH: I haven’t seen that episode but I’d like to.
    Similarly, while Aubrey DeGrey’s Methuselah Foundation project is fascinating, his comments about AD whenever I hear him speak are way overly optimistic, bordering on pseudoscience. It makes me question how solid his ideas are about other things that I have less understanding of.
    BTW- this is an excellent article but all the comments following it are from pseudoscience nutjobs. Dr. Salzberg deserves better.

  7. This kind of lifestyle is pretty common in flatworms.

    There are flukes that parasitize deer and other ungulates. The eggs come out through the poop, then when they get wet the next life stage swims around and enter snails through the skin, where they go dormant in the muscles. The snail then get accidentally eaten by deer, and the process starts all over.

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