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Friday, February 27, 2009

Science and popular culture: Guy pays for recommending vitamin D, finds new job

He pays here:

If the name Michael Holick means anything to you, you will recall that he was asked to resign from a post in Boston University’s dermatology department in February 2004 for promoting "sensible sun exposure" in his book The UV Advantage.

Holick’s thesis—which was apparently anathema to Boston University derm department chair Barbara Gilchrest—is that most people who live in the US north of Atlanta are vitamin D deficient because one of the key sources of that vitamin is the sun. (Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and thus strong, healthy bones.) And even when the sun shines brightest, and for the longest, during the summer, we’re told to shun the sun and slather our bodies in high SPF sunscreens to defend against skin cancer. But in doing so we might be hiking our risk for a variety of health problems including heart disease, breast cancer, and colon cancer, says Holick.

"You have about a 30 to 50 percent decreased risk of developing colon, prostate, and breast cancer if you maintain adequate vitamin D levels throughout your life," Holick said in a 2007 interview with a Canadian television station.

I am glad that I have nothing to hope or fear from Barbara Gilchrest (identified above), who strikes me as just one of many people who make the lives of those who front new and possibly important knowledge difficult.

So let me just add one thing that anyone can take down and use in evidence against me: Women who are required for cultural reasons to spend their entire lives under heavy clothing are - I am told by a doctor whose opinion I trust - at risk for Vitamin D deficiency.

Look, gals ... wear it, don't wear it. I don't care. Believe what you think is right. But you need a porch or sun room or something where you can just be exposed to the sun (with appropriate privacy, of course), especially if you live in one of the ungenerous latitudes of this world (like my beloved Toronto).

I don't even know that my Rose of Sharon trees (which I mostly grafted myself) will survive this winter, never mind that you can survive in places like Toronto without any contact with the sun ...

If doctors say you need it, believe them. Okay? Insist on it!

Find out why there is an intelligent design controversy:






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