Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Walkabout Wednesday: angiogenisis is interesting, and more politics in the environment (surprise ...)

Angiogenisis is the formation of blood vessels, are your professors lazy, and politics taking over sage grouse management in Montana.

My Health

Eat your vegies! And drink tea and red wine. This interesting TED talk, byWilliam Li,  illustrates a nifty idea for cutting off cancer development by cutting the development of blood vessels to tumors. It also helps prevent the development of fat tissues and obesity! My take away: eat a diet with a diversity of fruits, vegies and spices in it. Sounds ideal to me!

Low carb diets help you lose weight, but exactly why is still debated. Kris Gunnars has a typically good summary post outlining the current thinking on this. I've certainly experienced the "reduced appetite" effect compared to my previous high carbohydrate diet. I'm not sure about the reduced variety thing ... I mean, yes, in my case, but that's because I'm trying to satisfy other constraints like only using humanely raised animal protein and minimizing cost. I can see that people have trouble staying on a "diet" for any length of time*. That's why I like the idea of a "Way of Eating" or WOE. I significantly changed my WOE twice in my life, and had no trouble maintaining either for years.

I haven't had time to dig into this meta-analysis yet, but they take an interesting approach. They conduct a modern meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (ie. the gold standard) of the effects of dietary fat on heart diease, but they restrict the studies to those available when the low-fat dietary guidelines were introduced in 1977 (USA) and 1983 (UK). From the abstract:
The reductions in mean serum cholesterol levels were significantly higher in the intervention groups; this did not result in significant differences in CHD or all-cause mortality.
Hmm. Yep. So, no evidence, in other words. Nothing's changed since then!

Your Education

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin suggested that professors could teach an extra course each. This is a brilliant response. Trade offs all around. 

Not really about education, but it turns out that private companies are investing less in basic and applied research. Given the current trend towards reduced federal funding, I was also interested to see the current levels of public R&D investment in the context of a few more decades worth of numbers. Historically we're not doing too bad right now, although it is mostly because of the 2nd Bush administration's massive investment in medical research. The agencies that fund what I do, NSF and USDA, are still looking pretty sad. 

Our Environment

You know things are getting political when a state legislature overrules a state commission on game regulations. It is worth noting that state biologists had recommended closing hunting statewide already, but the commissioners elected to ignore that advice. Politics. 

*Although, people don't seem to have any trouble staying on the Standard American Diet (SAD). 

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