Skepchick Quickies 6.8


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

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  1. Cigarettes, bullets, toilet paper, duct tape and alcohol. As we all know, duct tape can be used to create just about anything in addition to quick wound management. Alcohol, in addition to the inebriant qualities, also medically useful.

  2. That autism test article is really interesting. I wonder how the gut microbes are related to autism, like if one causes the other or if they are both caused by a third factor. That is a link that I would never have even thought to look for. And the test seems so easy and simple because it’s easier to collect urine than blood. I hope that it all works out because it could help countless children in the future. Stories like these are why I love science.

  3. I thought the gut microbe/autism connection was debunked… is this junk science masquerading as real science? Also, it seems like they’re talking about biomed treatments, which have also been shown to be ineffective and without a plausible mechanism of treatment. I’d like to be wrong, but this sounds like BS.

  4. Thank you for the order of these links. The headache inducing stupidity of the first one was balanced nicely by the rist. Except for the ad on Cracked for a Ï€mp t-shirt. That’s not how you pronounce Ï€ in English, you idiots! It is in Norwegian, but in Norwegian Pimp isn’t a word, or well it is, but it means something _completely_ different.
    But maybe there’s a word “pÄ«mp” I’m not aware of? (Note the line over the i, we’re speaking IPA here baby.)
    Off topic rant finished.

  5. The sonic waves of Mozart’s compositions, along with the addition of oxygen, spur micro-organisms to a higher performance in breaking down biosolids, Stucki explained.

    Or just the addition of o2. Just thinking out loud here.

    Autism test could make the condition ‘preventable’

    Did ANYONE see anything in the article that said that this test would make it PREVENTABLE? It would be treated earlier, but as far as I know – you have autism or you don’t. We don’t have a cure.

  6. The autism article is kind of meh. It comes from the gut-brain connection angle which is controversial (not to poison the well, but, uh, Wakefield’s in that camp). The evidence of a gut-brain connection is mostly anecdotal, consisting of case reports of patients with ASD/PPD and some chronic gut disease, and some larger studies that show that some gut findings may be overrepresented in a subset of ASD patients. As far as I’ve seen, GI findings have never been demonstrated prior to onset of psych symptoms.

    In my opinion, this is yet another case of putting the press release cart before the science horse.

  7. @Non Believer: “Preventable” – yup, huge fail. There is no treatment, so this is beyond hypothetical. The article said catching it earlier leads to better progress. This has to refer to special education or other non-medical support and I have yet to see evidence that any early intervention has the dramatic effects the article suggests (I mean “preventable” indicates you’re going from autism to no autism, that’s just nowhere in sight)

  8. I thought the whole autism/digestive tract connection (which was the basis of Wakefield’s scam) had been completely debunked… On the other hand, if autism is detectable at 6 months, that kind of throws out the whole MMR vaccine thing :-) Or maybe the fact that you’re planning to vaccinate your kid in the future causes them to develop autism?

    On the other other hand, I’m in the middle of reading “Parasite Rex” for my local skeptics book club, and just last night I was reading about how Toxoplasmosis can cause subtle behavioral changes in humans, and other parasites can cause much more drastic behavioral changes in other hosts. Hmmm.

    On the other other other hand maybe autistic children are just more likely to eat dirt or other (I think the technical term is “yucky”) substances.

  9. On the Cracked article:

    Gold has two qualities that can give it a place in an investment portfolio. First, like most rare commodities, its value is independent of the money supply, which makes it a good hedge against inflation. Second it’s very portable, which makes it easily to conceal or carry with you.

    This means that if you’re worried about inflation or government confiscation stripping you of your savings, gold may be a useful hedge. If you’re worried about economic apocalypse though then you’d be better to go with the old standbys of canned goods and ammunition.

    That’s mostly nitpicking though, the Cracked article is right on the high points. People who are selling gold believe (by definition) that gold is overpriced. Remember Milton Friedman’s warning: there is no free lunch in finance.

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