Archive for the ‘Scientific Meetings & Publications’ Category

More Than One Trick in Obesity Innovation

June 19, 2020 — In pharmaceuticals, a one-trick pony is doomed to oblivion. Some companies have a big hit with a successful drug and then struggle to follow up with more innovation. So patents expire and sales dwindle. The company with one-trick innovation fades away. But with solid clinical trial results announced yesterday for two new drugs in obesity, […]

Dietary Guidelines 2020: Plenty of Heat, Less Light

June 18, 2020 — In ordinary times, yesterday’s meeting of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee would have been big news. They were supposed to unveil their draft report. But instead, the meeting came and went with a small thud. That’s because everyone has already staked out a position and they’re digging in. Also, it’s fair to say that […]

RCT: Metabolic Surgery Tops Best Medical Therapy

June 17, 2020 — A randomized controlled trial (RCT) in surgery is quite a challenge. For good reason, people are reluctant to sign up for a study in which they might randomly get surgery. Or not. Surgery is a big decision and leaving it to chance doesn’t sit well with most people. Yet an RCT is the very best […]

COVID-19 Risk of Death 12x – So What?

June 16, 2020 — This is a problem that makes your brain hurt. We face an acute threat with COVID-19. New data from CDC tells us that chronic diseases amplify that risk. In fact, the risk of death is 12 times higher for people who have chronic diseases – diabetes, heart disease, severe obesity, or a host of other […]

The Odd Case of Tobacco, Nicotine, and COVID-19

June 14, 2020 — In the early reports of patients in the hospital for COVID-19, careful observers noticed an odd pattern. COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory syndrome and smoking badly damages lungs. But hospitalization was not more likely for smokers. In fact, it was less likely. This correlation kept appearing in sample after sample  – though with substantial uncertainty. […]

Correlation, Causality, Breastfeeding, and Obesity

June 12, 2020 — The distinction between correlation and causality is basic to any serious scientist. But in PLOS Genetics yesterday, scientists toss it out the window. Yanyan Wu et al found an association between breastfeeding and obesity. Then they lept to claim cause and effect. Right up front in their title, they make the bold claim. “Exclusive breastfeeding […]

Have Human Proportions Changed in 500 Years?

June 10, 2020 — It was just a sketch, made more than 500 years ago. Leonardo da Vinci never intended for anyone to see it. He made it only to satisfy his own curiosity about human proportions. But today the Vitruvian Man is one of da Vinci’s best known works. A work of both math and art, it ranks […]

Stumbling Toward a Rumble on Dietary Guidelines

June 9, 2020 — The expectations are low, so it’s not getting much attention. The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is trying to wrap up its work on a report. That report goes into a black box at FDA and USDA. Then sometime around the end of the year, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will pop out from […]

Speculating About COVID-19 and Childhood Obesity

June 8, 2020 — The headlines are pretty direct about it. “COVID-19 lockdowns make childhood obesity worse,” says a headline from the University of Buffalo. Another report tells us that school closures will drive childhood obesity rates up by 2.4 percentage points. All this sounds very precise and matter of fact. But what it really amounts to is speculation. […]

Obesity and Immune Response in Kids with COVID-19

June 6, 2020 — Age, by far, is the most important risk factor for bad outcomes with COVID-19. But after that, it’s become clear that obesity is an important risk for bad outcomes. In children, of course, serious cases are relatively rare. But lately they have been cropping up more frequently in the U.S. Now, a new report in […]