Daily Archives: April 17, 2015

Obamacare: a Nightmare that will not go away

Today the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) released a report by finance expert Scot Vorse that shows many states knew as early as 2011 that they might not receive tax credits if they opted out of establishing a state-based health insurance exchange. Whether nonparticipating states had adequate knowledge that they were putting their Obamacare subsidies at risk is a critical question in CEI’s Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell. click here for Brietbart

Induced Abortion a Causal Risk Factor for Breast Cancer

“In 2013, Dr. Rebecca Johnson, a cancer specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, released results of a study that demonstrated that the number of advanced breast cancer cases has increased among younger women, aged 25-39 years. After an analysis of 34 years worth of data from many countries, Johnson and her colleagues found that induced abortion was likely a causal–not correlational–risk factor for the development of breast cancer.” click here for Brietbart

Metrics and Approaches to Sustainable Water Services

I would certainly agree with the authors of this paper that the existing metrics that have been applied to sustainability assessments of water services are not very good. In some cases the metrics are unproven. But I would go further to say that considering several flawed metrics together does not necessarily result in a better decision compared to using only one metric. In fact, several metrics could lead one even further astray, wandering in the dark with a faulty flashlight. Applying common sense and traditional metrics will get us further faster.

Xue X, Schoen ME, Ma XC, Hawkins TR, Ashbolt NJ, Cashdollar J, Garland J. Critical insights for a sustainability framework to address integrated community water services: Technical metrics and approaches. Water Research. 2015 Mar 25;77:155-169. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2015.03.017.

Planning for sustainable community water systems requires a comprehensive understanding and assessment of the integrated source-drinking-wastewater systems over their life-cycles. Although traditional life cycle assessment and similar tools (e.g. footprints and emergy) have been applied to elements of these water services (i.e. water resources, drinking water, stormwater or wastewater treatment alone), we argue for the importance of developing and combining the system-based tools and metrics in order to holistically evaluate the complete water service system based on the concept of integrated resource management. We analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of key system-based tools and metrics, and discuss future directions to identify more sustainable municipal water services. Such efforts may include the need for novel metrics that address system adaptability to future changes and infrastructure robustness. Caution is also necessary when coupling fundamentally different tools so to avoid misunderstanding and consequently misleading decision-making.

Paper is here (fee).

The Future of Fluoride Alone in Erosion Prevention, “Grim”

Lussi A, Carvalho TS. The future of fluorides and other protective agents in erosion prevention. Caries Research. 2015;49 Suppl 1:18-29. doi: 10.1159/000380886.

The effectiveness of fluoride in caries prevention has been convincingly proven. In recent years, researchers have investigated the preventive effects of different fluoride formulations on erosive tooth wear with positive results, but their action on caries and erosion prevention must be based on different requirements, because there is no sheltered area in the erosive process as there is in the subsurface carious lesions. Thus, any protective mechanism from fluoride concerning erosion is limited to the surface or the near surface layer of enamel. However, reports on other protective agents show superior preventive results. The mechanism of action of tin-containing products is related to tin deposition onto the tooth surface, as well as the incorporation of tin into the near-surface layer of enamel. These tin-rich deposits are less susceptible to dissolution and may result in enhanced protection of the underlying tooth. Titanium tetrafluoride forms a protective layer on the tooth surface. It is believed that this layer is made up of hydrated hydrogen titanium phosphate. Products containing phosphates and/or proteins may adsorb either to the pellicle, rendering it more protective against demineralization, or directly to the dental hard tissue, probably competing with H(+) at specific sites on the tooth surface. Other substances may further enhance precipitation of calcium phosphates on the enamel surface, protecting it from additional acid impacts. Hence, the future of fluoride alone in erosion prevention looks grim, but the combination of fluoride with protective agents, such as polyvalent metal ions and some polymers, has much brighter prospects.

Paper is here (fee).