Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 20th 2017 Contents A24 body & soul
guardian.co.tt Monday, February 20, 2017
Trump's policies set to damage
health and science, warns the BMJ
The BMJ warns that Trump's administration
"is acting in ways that will suppress research
and limit communication on scientific topics
that it deems politically inconvenient."
Early policies "risk head-on collision with the
scientific and health communities" say editors Jose
Merino, Elizabeth Loder and Kamran Abbasi, and Har-
vard professor of health policy, Ashish Jha. "Trump's
policies in other areas also have the potential to dam-
age health," they add.
For example, they point to communications re-
strictions on several environmental protection and
public health agencies, while scientific information
on government websites "is being removed and be-
And they warn that proposals to reform the Food
and Drug Administration "will scale back the agency's
ability to ensure the safety and efficacy of approved
drugs, harming not only people in America but those
in other countries that often follow the FDA's lead."
Instant repeal of the Affordable Care Act, without
a viable alternative, will surely prove damaging, they
write. While Trump's immigration policy "will disrupt
the flow of scientific ideas and knowledge, hinder re-
cruitment of scientists to American institutions, limit
training opportunities for international physicians,
and worsen national shortages of healthcare workers."
They point out that the United States is a powerful
nation with a profound influence on the health of the
world's population. "That power and influence, if
misdirected, will damage efforts to create a healthier,
stronger world, one that supports women's health,
condemns torture and other human rights abuses,
treats refugees and migrants with dignity and hos-
pitality, and ensures that all people, especially the
most vulnerable, have access to high
The BMJ's solution is to "reaffirm our
commitment to fostering and applying
the best evidence for policy and prac-
tice, to be an open forum for rigorous
debate that challenges the status quo
and holds us all to account, to speak
truth to power and support others who
do the same, and to actively campaign
for a better world, based on our values
of transparency, independence, and
scientific and journalistic integrity,"
"Whichever way Trump turns, the
scientific and healthcare communi-
ties must commit to serving the best
interests of patients and the public,"
they say. "By arming ourselves with the
fruits of science, being guided by facts
and evidence, we can create a healthier
planet, not just for Americans but for all
the peoples of our world." (BMJ)
There's more evidence that occasional fast-
ing---actually,just eating very lightly---can help
people lose weight.
People who ate a special low-calorie diet five days
a month not only lost weight, but lowered their
cholesterol, blood pressure and body fat measure-
ments, researchers reported Wednesday.
On average, dieters lost around five pounds after
three months on the diet.
They also experienced less evidence of inflam-
mation, which is linked with cancer, heart disease
and obesity. They appeared to have better control
of blood sugar, which is a risk factor for diabetes.
This particular diet is called the fasting-mim-
icking diet and it's based on a specific product line
that provides 750-1,100 calories a day from food
bars, soup packets and teas.
Longo founded the company that developed the
diet products, but said he doesn't profit from them.
The study was funded by the National Institute of
Aging and the National Cancer Institute. He said the
products provide a careful balance of plant-based
nutrients that are heavy on unsaturated fats and
The team started with 100 volunteers, most of
them overweight but not obese. The researchers said
70 of them stuck with it for the full six-month study.
Half lived and ate normally for three weeks each
month, and then followed the diet for five straight
days. Half did nothing different. After three months,
the non-dieters went on the diet.
Longo and his team have been studying this ap-
proach for years in animals. They've extended the
lives of lab mice with similar intermittent fasting
diets. They can't show that sort of thing in people,
especially not over such a short time. (NBC)
fasting diet takes
off pounds, makes
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