NEWS

Follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health policy and obesity

A Good Look at Semaglutide for Obesity

August 17, 2018 — We’ve been waiting for this. More than a year ago, Novo Nordisk announced very encouraging early results with semaglutide for obesity. It’s one thing to read a press release. But it means a lot more to read the detailed results in a top tier journal. Today, we have that publication. Detailed Efficacy Data in Lancet […]

Loose Connections Between Dietary Guidelines and Reality

August 16, 2018 — By their very nature, dietary guidelines have a shaky relationship with the reality of what we eat. Before 1977, Americans had no guidelines for what they should eat. But then, a senate select committee published dietary goals for Americans. In 1980, those “goals” became the first edition of  Dietary Guidelines for Americans Controversial from the […]

Mixing Up Correlation, Causation, Obesity, and Poverty

August 15, 2018 — It’s an easy mistake to make. “It’s poverty, not individual choice that is driving extraordinary obesity levels,” writes Martin Cohen in The Conversation. That seems like a reasonable sentiment. But it’s not quite true. A Messy Correlation The truth is that poverty can predict a higher risk of obesity – in some cases. But not all. […]

Anyone Object to Taking Trans Fat Out of Soybean Oil?

August 14, 2018 — Scientists in Minnesota are busy taking trans and saturated fats out of soybean oil. Of course, that’s a good thing. Right? Editing Your Food’s Genes with CRISPR and TALEN The first generation of genetically-modified foods was a bit clumsy. That started in the 1980s with “genetic engineering” that used bacteria and viruses used to modify […]

An Autopsy Long Ago with My Father

August 13, 2018 — My father instilled in me a desire and a curiosity about diagnosis. It started with me watching him conduct autopsies as Medical Examiner of Bergen County, New Jersey. I accompanied him to the scene of countless murders and unsolved crimes, witnessing him examine each body for clues that could reveal the cause of a person’s […]

Unplugging for a Few Days

August 11, 2018 — It’s time to take a break for a few days. We’re up on a mountain with no connections. The only tweets come from birds. We’ll be back next week. Early Morning on Cranberry Mountain, photograph by Ted Kyle. Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, […]

The Painful Walk Away from a Flawed Analysis

August 10, 2018 — Five months ago, we wrote about inflated claims of effectiveness from a pilot study of obesity prevention by Scherr et al. An independent group of researchers had written to the journal with concerns about the flawed analysis of the study. The flaws effectively canceled out the claims of effectiveness for the program. But Scherr et […]

Childhood Obesity: A Glimmer of Hope or a Wish?

August 9, 2018 — Journals are bursting with studies of childhood obesity this week. One appeared in Pediatrics. JAMA published two of them. Furthermore, all of these studies were randomized and controlled. On top of all that, JAMA published an editorial, describing “a glimmer of hope” for preventing childhood obesity. A Glimmer or a Wish? Unfortunately, we’re not seeing a lot […]

The Counterintuitive Physiology of Obesity

August 8, 2018 — At the National Academy of Sciences yesterday, the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions got a bit of a jolt. It came in the form of an afternoon spent reflecting on the counterintuitive physiology of obesity. One roundtable member summed it up nicely. “This way of thinking about obesity just smashes our old models for solving the […]

Looking for Clues in Remissions of Childhood Obesity

August 7, 2018 — Childhood obesity generates a lot of talk. But it might surprise you to learn how little we actually know about the natural history of this disease. And what little we know has been a bit discouraging. However, a new study by Danny Luan and colleagues offers some important new insight. Remissions, Though Not Typical, Are […]