Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder who live with dogs have stronger social skills

Dogs, cats and other pet animals living in the home may improve social skills of children with autism

Dogs, cats and other pet animals living in the home may improve social skills of children with autism.

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have deficits in social skills, and interaction with service dogs has been associated with increased social skills for children with ASD. In this telephone survey of 70 parents of children with ASD, children owning dogs had greater Mean scores for social skills, using the Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scale, while those with some type of pet (not excluding dogs) had significantly greater skills for subscale item “assertion”. Parents described their children as attached to their dogs. Children owning dogs completed the Companion Animal Bonding Scale, and reported strong bonding with dogs. These findings suggest children with ASD may bond with their dogs, and pet ownership may be associated with increased social skills.

Sources and more information

  • Children with Autism Who Live With Pets Are More Assertive, news, Dec. 30, 2014.
  • The Social Skills and Attachment to Dogs of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, springer, DOI 10.1007/s10803-014-2267-7, 12 Oct 2014 .
  • Research on dogs and children with autism, paws.dogsforthedisabled, 2009.

EPA sued by Nonprofits for failure to regulate Nanosilver Pesticides

Nanomaterials have proliferated in food and other consumer products with little to no oversight

image of Nanotechnology product
Nanomaterials have proliferated in food and other consumer products with little to no oversight.
Image credit @TrueFoodNow

There are now over 400 consumer products on the market made with nanosilver. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers silver nanoparticles a pesticide and requires products that contain – or are treated with this germ- killer – to be registered with and approved for use by the agency. But most of the nanomaterials products now on the market have not been reviewed, let alone approved by the EPA.
Two weeks ago, in an attempt to close this loophole, the Center for Food Safety, the Center for Environmental Health, Clean Production Action, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and other nonprofits filed suit against the EPA for failing to respond to their 2008 petition, asking the agency to regulate all products created with nanotechnology as pesticides.

Sources and more information

  • Nonprofits Sue EPA for Failure to Regulate Novel Pesticide Products Created With Nanotechnology, centerforfoodsafety, December 17th, 2014.
  • “There’s Nano in Our Food?” What You Need to Know about Nanotechnology and Food Safety, centerforfoodsafety, April 10th, 2014.
  • Oral ingestion of silver nanoparticles induces genomic instability and DNA damage in multiple tissues, informahealthcare, April 9, 2014.
  • Nanosilver in Your Soup? EPA Sued For Failing to Regulate Tiny Pesticides, civileats, December 30, 2014.

The FDA and Big Pharma

Corruption in the Pharmaceutical Industry is a Minimal Risk Enterprise

The-FDA-and-Big-Pharma cartoon
Watch @DES_Journal diaporama and health comics album on Flickr.
Image via @HealthRanger

Despite rules changes intended to benefit consumers over the past 60 years, multiple felon Big Pharma continues to play by its own rules…
Read pharma risk, on salem-news, august162010.

Dan Berger is Cartoonist behind Natural News.
Sources: The FDA and Big Pharma by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.

All our posts about big pharma and the FDA. See more cartoons

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How Hidden Fragrance Allergens Harm Public Health

Womens Voices Secret Scents Report, 2013

Fragrance Allergens
Fragrance allergens are commonly found in a variety of scented products.
Image from Womens Voices Secret Scents Report

Fragrance affects us all. For some, it can enhance a moment, invoke a memory, or even improve a mood. As consumers, we seek it out in all kinds of products we use in our everyday lives. And for many of us, there’s a positive sensory experience associated with fragrance. But unfortunately, this may not be without consequence. In addition to the potential health consequences of certain fragrance ingredients linked to cancer, interference with hormones, and reproductive harm, a significant portion of the population suffers from fragrance-related allergies. ”

… continue reading How Hidden Fragrance Allergens Harm Public Health on womensvoices. Download Womens Voices Secret Scents Report and infographic.

Albert Algoud parle de son combat pour les autistes

Vidéo publiée le 18 juin 2009 par cotemomes

Juin 2009, Côté-mômes rencontrait Abert Algoud, journaliste, écrivain, scénariste, chroniqueur de radio et de télé et humoriste.
Très concerné, Abert Algoud s’implique depuis plus de 20 ans dans le combat des autistes pour mener leurs vies le plus dignement possible.

Plus d’information
  • Vidéo publiée le 18 juin 2009 par cotemomes.

Reckoning with Risk

Learning to Live with Uncertainty

Reckoning with Risk
Watch @DES_Journal diaporama and health books album on Flickr. Reckoning with Risk, Learning to Live with Uncertainty.

However much we want certainty in our lives, it feels as if we live in an uncertain and dangerous world. But are we guilty of wildly exaggerating the chances of some unwanted event happening to us? Are we misled by our ignorance of the reality of risk?

Far too many of us, argues Gerd Gigerenzer – prominent statistician, expert in uncertainty and decision-making. – are hampered by our own innumeracy, while statistics are often presented to us in highly confusing ways. With real world examples, such as the incidence of errors in tests for breast cancer or HIV, or in DNA fingerprinting, and the manipulation of statistics for evidence in court, he shows that our difficulty in thinking about numbers can easily be overcome.

In Reckoning with Risk: Learning to Live with Uncertainty – see Amazon customer reviews –  Gerd Gigerenzer, author of Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions, who explained how simple heuristics can improve medical decision making over much more complex solutions, now clarifies our common misunderstandings surrounding risk and statistics and illustrates how we can learn to make sense of statistics and turn ignorance into insight.

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Incidence of squamous neoplasia of the cervix and vagina in DES-exposed daughters

Association between in utero DES exposure and high-grade squamous neoplasia

2000 Study Abstract

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The 2000 study findings support an association between in utero DES exposure and high-grade squamous neoplasia

Women exposed to diethylstibestrol (DES) in utero are known to have an excess risk of clear cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina and cervix, in addition to vaginal epithelial changes, but the effect on the incidence of squamous neoplasia is uncertain. This study evaluated the long-term risk of developing high-grade squamous neoplasia of the genital tract among women exposed prenatally to diethylstilbestrol.

A cohort comprising 3899 DES-exposed and 1374 unexposed daughters was followed for thirteen years (1982-1995) for pathology-confirmed diagnoses of high-grade squamous neoplasia. A pathologist blinded to exposure status reviewed seventy-seven percent of cases. Poisson regression analysis was used to compute relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) controlling for age, calendar year, screening history and other covariates.

The RR (95% CI) among DES-exposed versus unexposed, based on 111 cases of high-grade disease, was 2.12 (1.19-3.77). Adjustment for screening history had little effect, but when the analysis was restricted to a group highly screened before 1982, the risk was reduced. Risk estimates were higher among women exposed earlier in gestation; the RR (95% CI) for exposure within 7 weeks of the last menstrual period was 2.82 (1.43-5.53).

The findings support an association between in utero DES exposure and high-grade squamous neoplasia, although a role for more intensive screening among DES-exposed women in the production of this excess could not be completely ruled out..


  • Incidence of squamous neoplasia of the cervix and vagina in des-exposed daughters, NCBI, PMID: 11018391, Ann Epidemiol. 2000 Oct 1;10(7):467. Full text link.
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Champions of Medicine’s next Revolution

Alan Cassels at TEDx Victoria 2013

A drug policy researcher for the University of Victoria, Alan Cassels is a known for having a knack for finding and describing the chasm between what the market says and what science does in modern healthcare. Over the past two decades Cassels has spent much of his research energy studying clinical research and the marketing tactics of the pharmaceutical industry, turning some of that research into journalism and books, including international best-sellers Selling Sickness: How the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies are Turning us All into Patients and The ABC’s of Disease Mongering: An Epidemic in 26 Letters.

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Free yourself from drug reps

The No Ads Please campaign

Doctors who see medical representatives are more likely to prescribe more medication, more expensively and less according to accepted guidelines. The No Advertising Please campaign encourages doctors to avoid using drug representatives as their “educational” resource, by pledging to not see drug reps at their practice for one year.

Free Yourself from drug reps poster
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a #NoAdsPlease poster by the @NoAdsPlease campaign.

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A December 2014 Interview with Dr Ben Goldacre

Meet the anti-Dr Oz, by Julia Belluz, Vox health reporter

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Understand the news with Vox ; meet Ben Goldacre via their health reporter Julia Belluz.

You might have read few posts here about Dr Ben Goldacre, but none of them really addressed those questions:

  • You’re a busy doctor and researcher. Why did you start writing?
  • Going back through the collected works, it was quite clear that popular media outlets gave you space to be pretty nerdy about statistics and research methods, which is uncommon in health writing today.
  • Over a decade, you’ve debunked everything from ear candling to the anti-vaccine movement, and poorly designed education and health policies. Have you seen any progress?
  • Vaccine denialism remains stubbornly in place. Why do you think that is?
  • What you seem to be saying here is that it is pretty difficult to fight quacks with science?
  • But you’re the guy who got your dead cat the same certificate as a famous British nutritionist just to demonstrate how bogus her credentials were. Didn’t you hope that your work would have an impact on shutting down quack enterprises?
  • What does this irrational thinking about health suggest about the kinds of policies we should make?
  • Big Pharma, and some of the harmful impact it has had on health and science, has been another key target of yours. What are the biggest pharma boondoggles going on right now?
  • You’ve been trying to address that problem — of the broken information architecture of medicine — with your AllTrials campaign. How’s that going?

Read Meet the anti-Dr. Oz: Ben Goldacre, by Julia Belluz, health reporter for Vox, December 27, 2014.