Top 10 Reasons why the BMI is Bogus

Interesting article from NPR that describes the problems with the Body Mass Index rating.

Most of the reason are pretty straightforward, and obvious to anybody who actually exerts some brain power to study the very simplistic formula.

1. The person who dreamed up the BMI said explicitly that it could not and should not be used to indicate the level of fatness in an individual.

2. It is scientifically nonsensical.

3. It is physiologically wrong.

4. It gets the logic wrong.

5. It’s bad statistics.

6. It is lying by scientific authority.

7. It suggests there are distinct categories of underweight, ideal, overweight and obese, with sharp boundaries that hinge on a decimal place.

8. It makes the more cynical members of society suspect that the medical insurance industry lobbies for the continued use of the BMI to keep their profits high.

9. Continued reliance on the BMI means doctors don’t feel the need to use one of the more scientifically sound methods that are available to measure obesity levels.

10. It embarrasses the U.S.

To put it politely, the BMI is junk science.  The sad part is that your health insurance provider, and your doctor, probably use it.

US Special Forces gets the cool toys…

In this case, it’s a Plasma Knife!

According to this Popular Science article, it’s a medical tool, not a battlefield weapon.

The knife, whose blade consists of heated, ionized gas, cuts through flesh just as easily a steel scalpel, but also cauterizes the wound. By sealing off the damaged flesh, the plasma knife protects against infection, and stops the bleeding that imperils the wounded soldier.

This is too cool not to be turned into a close quarters combat weapon.  I expect some “field expedited” tests coming sooner rather than later.  Really, look at just whom these are being given to.

Medical sensor chip in development

First customers would be US military personnel.  From the MIT Tech Review:

The majority of deaths on the battlefield occur within half an hour after injury–often too quickly for a soldier to get to a medic, let alone a hospital. But a collaboration between researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and Clarkson University, in New York, aims to change all that with a chip that could detect injuries and treat them almost instantly.

“We want to build a smart, intelligent sensor that can distinguish between different injuries, make the decision to treat, and, once it recognizes the injury, treat appropriately,”

Fully Viable Stem Cells from Adults

No embryo required.  So say the researchers at Harvard Medical School. They are claiming to have developed a method that will produced stem cells from adults that are “potent” as embryonic stem cells.

This method has a benifit over embryonic stem cells.  These adult stem cells could be grown from a patients own tissue.  This would allow them to be transplanted without triggering immune rejection.

This method also avoids the ethical issues many have with harvesting embryonic stem cells.