"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Diet Coke = Death 

I suppose we all knew it was coming; we were just hoping that it might take a bit longer. Aspartame, the sweetener used in diet, well, just about everything, seems to cause all kinds of cancer, even at relatively low doses. The study is large, seems to have been well done, and the effects show a pretty good dose-response. I'd like to say that I'll stop drinking so much Diet Coke as a result, but I also know that I am addicted.

There is good news today: it seems that circumcision may make men less likely to transmit HIV to women as well as being less likely to contract it. Yes, the former does control for the latter (it's a study of HIV-negative women partnered with positive men: significantly less women whose men were cut got HIV).

UPDATE:A commenter points out that the effects of circumcision on HIV are relatively small. Yes, they are. But any reduction is a good reduction as far as I'm concerned, and in that effective condom use is ...errr... problematic in many parts of the world, every little bit helps.

Also the numbers are not the entire point: as a scientist, after you find that there is an effect like this, you have to figure out why*. And once you've done that, you figure out how you can exploit it in more dramatic terms: can you make the protective effect greater, or apply it to another situation?

*There's also the personal agenda hiding out behind the, uhm, curtain.

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