Medical Notes this week…

The leaders of two of the nation’s leading science advisory groups are warning about what they call “alarming political interference” in the government’s response to COVID-19. Top officials of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine say that decisions on safety and effectiveness of vaccines have to be made on the basis of the evidence, without being, “distorted, concealed or otherwise deliberately miscommunicated.” Their warnings that that might not happen are unprecedented.

One reason people oppose action on climate change is that it’s more expensive than doing nothing, at least in the short term. But a study in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that people are okay with paying the cost if it stays the same over time. It’s the fear of costs rising in an unforeseeable future they don’t like. Only 12% of people go along with low costs now and higher costs later. Fifty-eight percent prefer to know how much it will cost them both now and in the future. 

And finally… if you plan on having any trick or treaters this year, a word of warning about black licorice, especially if you figure on eating the leftover candy yourself. The FDA says eating more than two ounces of black licorice a day for a couple of weeks could cause an irregular heart rhythm. They say a natural sweetening compound found in licorice root can cause potassium levels in the body to drop. So it really is possible to have too much of a good thing. 

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