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Food Safety: Meat And Dairy From Cloned Cows?

The controversy over the human consumption of meat and dairy products from cloned cows continues. The UK Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, after reviewing the evidence, concluded that there was no substantial difference between meat and dairy from cloned cows compared to conventional cows. However, food products from cloned animals and their offspring remain banned in Europe.

Use of offspring of cloned cows, sheep and pigs are legal in the U.S., South America, and Asia. Australia is likely to follow suit in a year or two. The European Union (EU) has an effective ban at the moment, but the policy is under review. The UK is also negotiating with the EU regarding the use of clones.

There is not much of a theoretical reason to suspect that cloned animals would present a health risk. The primary concern is that something unanticipated might have occurred during the cloning process, causing the animal to be genetically or developmentally abnormal. However, if the cloning process works properly this should not happen. Further, if mutations do occur but the animal lives, it is likely that any changes do not represent a risk to humans who consume the meat or dairy from such clones. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*

“Am I Having A Heart Attack?” A New Self-Test Kit

Home-Heart-Attack-Self-Test-Kit“Am I having a heart attack?” From the files of the strange and unusual comes this self-test kit for myocardial infarction, otherwise known as a heart attack.

For the lay people out there, a heart attack occurs when bloodflow to the heart muscle stops, usually because of a blockage in the arteries around the heart (coronary arteries).  (It’s what happened to Bill Clinton, although his heart muscle didn’t die, as it likely had collateral bloodflow from other arteries.) When bloodflow stops, the heart muscle dies. When the heart muscle cells die, they release compounds into the bloodstream which can then be detected on blood draws.

That is the basis for detecting a heart attack by drawing blood. There are some compounds that are specific to the heart, such as troponins that will only go up when the heart muscle is dying. Other enzymes, such as the CK go up with any muscle damage, including the heart.

That is the basis of this new self-test kit for heart attack testing from China Sky One Medical that tries to answer the “Am I having a heart attack?” question at home. It was approved in China in 2007 and recently received European Union clearance as well. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

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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