Skepchick Quickies 2.6

On January 6th, 1931, Thomas Edison filed his last patent, a “Holder for Article to be Electroplated.” Say what you will about the man, at least he has an interesting history to read about.


Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. The gluten free trend? I believe it’s got the same amazing health benefits as wearing black socks instead of white socks does.

    1. Also, the way the associated press reports on science makes baby Einstein weep. This article basically takes a bunch of incomplete statements from research journals, doctors, and pseudo-scientific “experts”, slaps them together, and tries to frame a debate as if all sides had equally valid points and were actually speaking directly to each other.

      The author of the article could’ve pretty much just typed “dooo dooo dooo durrr durrr durrr” and the article would’ve had the same quality of scientific information it does now…

  2. I feel about the gluten free fad the same way I felt about vegetarianism in the 90’s, and the dairy free push that ran well into the 00’s. It may help the health of some people, but that doesn’t mean everyone should do it, and the anti-certain-food banners being regularly taken up by “alternative” health practicioners makes me rightly wary. Remember how going non-dairy was supposed to make everyone’s acne disappear, alleviate menstrual cramps and cure arthritis? Remember how not eating meat was supposed to make people’s temperments more balanced? I sure do, and they are some of the same claims made today by the gluten free crowd. Some people are lactose intolerant, that there is no denying, and those people absolutely should avoid dairy, restaurants and stores absolutely should provide dairy free options that are delicious, nutritious and not boring, because inclusiveness is of the good, and the same goes for gluten. That doesn’t mean that milk is poison in and of itself and anyone who drinks it or loves cheese is bad and ignorant. Neither does my love of cheese mean that someone’s dairy allergy is all in their head, which is the flip side of that crap covered coin, sad to say. Same goes for gluten.

    My sister supposedly has celiac disease and a dairy allergy as diagnosed by her naturopath, even though going gluten/dairy free has cleared up precisely almost none of her symptoms and as far as I know she’s not had any real medical testing to verify. (can’t ask, very defensive) Yet she is a vocal proponent (along with a handful of my friends and aquaintances) of the All Gluten Is Poison/Everyone I Know Has A Gluten Allergy/It Causes All The Things philosophy. Attention deficit? Gluten. Runny nose? Dairy. Also, gluten. Relationship problems? Control your life through controlling your food and all your problems will become manageable. <— I cannot be the only person who hears refrains of disordered eating in almost every fad diet conversation.

    So, I am leery. How much of the current anti-gluten sentiment is placebo effect, how much is confirmation bias, how much is medically relevant?

  3. A quick note about numbers: “Dr. Thomas O’Bryan, a chiropractor turned anti-gluten crusader, said that when he tested his patients, 30 percent of them had antibodies targeting gliadin fragments in their blood.” Obviously I don’t know what test this character’s using or what his sample pool looks like, but the gliadin test I’m familiar with only has 80-85% specificity. So if I had to guess, I’d say his scary “30 percent” is mostly just a big ol’ pile of completely expected false positives.

    1. Yeah and the press reports this as it’s on the same level as real science – *cries*


  4. Mary,

    I’m really glad you liked that “color blindness” simulator I told you about.

  5. It’s the added paleo crap that gets me. And people saying we didn’t get heart disease until we started eating wheat. Honestly I got in an argument with a pro paleo guy you drank the kool aid and spews it back. Sigh. As I said to him bottom line you should consult your doctor before making such a severe change in diet. Personally I lose weight when I’m eating full fat yogurt with whole grains for breakfast. Whole couscous is my favourite side because I only have to eat a little and I full full. Bottom line most people aren’t eating properly to begin with so they ending losing weight and feeling better when they start changing their diets but its difficult to sustain.

  6. I agree with all the above comments, but at the same time, I have attended meetings where genuine immunologists do admit the possibility of a (?subclinical) syndrome that shares some characteristics with celiac disease. It is hard to say any more without further research and the last thing we need is the bloody MSM and the quack brigade latching onto this.

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