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Latest Posts

Are Plastic Products Safe? An Overview Of The Science

bisphenol-a-cp-4695571There has been a lot of media attention surrounding the safety of polycarbonate plastic products containing bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is found in polycarbonate, hard clear plastic products like eye glasses, bicycle helmets, and food containers, and also in epoxy resins that act as protective coatings on everything from food and beverage cans to steel pipes and car engines.

In the next week or so, the FDA is expected to provide a new analysis of the science behind BPA safety. To gain some insight into what the fuss is all about, Dr. Steve Novella and I interviewed Dr. Steven Hentges (Executive Director of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council) on a blogger briefing call.

You may listen to the entire conversation here (and please read on for my summary of the issues):

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Taste Test: Organic vs. Regular Whole Milk

After my recent interview with Dr. David McCarron, I began to think of ways to increase my dairy intake. It occurred to me that I hadn’t had a glass of milk since I was a kid – sure I’d put milk on my breakfast cereal or add it to recipes, but I just never thought of it as a beverage for some reason. I bet many of you feel similarly.

So I went to the store to get some whole milk, and I was almost overwhelmed by the options. There were many different brands (from different dairies) as well as organic options. I wondered if there was a taste difference between them. Which might be the most delicious?

I purchased three different types of whole milk: one from a local dairy, one that was organic, and a generic store brand. I brought them home and asked my husband to participate in a blind taste test. I put samples of each milk in a white, paper cup and asked him which one tasted best.

After several rounds of sipping, my husband confessed that he couldn’t tell a difference between them.

Then an unexpected thing happened. My cat wanted in on the action and jumped up on the table to participate. She had a very clear preference – she chose cup #3, the generic, non-organic store brand. Way to go, kitty – no fancy milk for you!

What’s the lesson of this totally subjective, unscientific study of n=3? Milk is good for you, it’s the best nutritional value for the cost (25 cents/cup – compare that to soda), and there’s no real taste difference between brands. Milk is a legitimate beverage – I’m going to have some more regularly… if I can wrestle it away from my cat.

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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