Perthblog

This is the official Perth blog site for posts, comments, and other contributions about leadership, behavioral finance and economics, and about management generally, as well as other related topics that take our fancy.

Is widespread pill usage actually making us more disease prone?


Did you see that employers looking to hire are having a hard time finding them free of drugs, especially marijuana? Meanwhile the House of Congress looks like it’s going to pass a bill to help recovery by drug addicts, especially those who use prescription drugs. But for the moment, it looks like Congress is focused more on helping people to recove...

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Could Genetically-Modified Humans Re-Ignite Global Growth?


I’m sure you’ve heard about the Vermont law that says that all foods that include genetically-modified ingredients must be disclosed on the label starting July 2016. Of course most of Europe doesn’t allow GM foods. China officially bans GM crops, although in fact the vast majority of them are in fact GM. So the movement to ban all GM foods is prett...

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Are recessions contagious?


We're in one of the longest economic expansions in history right now. So of course the forecasters are jumping off the bandwagon to predict the next recession. The only thing though: economists are tragically unsuccessful at predicting recessions. According to the IMF, in the 1990s private economists only predicted correctly 2 of 60 recessions one ...

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Should exercise be compulsory?


Did you hear the latest about the benefits of exercise? Seems it reduces cancer tumors, in whole or in part (“A run a day keeps the tumor at bay”)? It was a study in mice but it looks like it will extend to us humans. As well as this the study showed yet again that exercise has a major impact in boosting the immune system. So it just doesn’t impact...

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Are women smarter than men – but only after babies?


So while Trump disses women, the women are nonetheless showing their mettle a la Hilary and Fox's Megyn Kelley. That brings me (well, kind of) to an article I read recently in New Scientist “Busting the baby brain myth: Why motherhood makes minds sharper”. The author (a woman btw) is out to debunk what she sees as being the myth of the “baby brain”...

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General Anesthesia – Chemical Concussion?


After being ignored for years, including by the medical profession, we have finally woken up to the huge brain damage that can be caused by concussion. Now there’s even a movie about it. We’ve woken up to what a sensitive plant our brains actually are. I think we have another such sleeper in our midst about whose dangers we will soon wake up too. I...

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Gluten is not the problem – herbicides are


See all those gluten-free foods at your local supermarket? Think you’re gonna lose weight when you eat them. Fuhgit about it. The skinny is that they are a useless fad. Don’t take my worthless opinion for it – instead check out the respected Consumer Reports’ article “6 Truths about a gluten free diet”. The conclusions are that gluten-free diets ar...

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Is Alzheimer’s Contagious?


Did you notice that Gene Amdahl (Founder of Amdahl computers, the company that ran against IBM and won for a while) just died? He was one of the pioneers in computing and a true global innovator. Tragically he died of Alzheimer’s. That puts paid to the notion that you can avoid this terrible disease by having an active mind. You couldn’t get anyone...

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Antibiotics cause obesity – not fast food!


Ok since its Thanksgiving it’s ok to eat too much. But some time you gotta pay the piper. That’s the case as revealed by the latest survey from the National Institutes of Health about obesity. It shows that obesity is still rising even further and that women now have overtaken men as being most obese. The headline is that obese individuals are arou...

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Is the immune system the seat of consciousness?


Bill Gates is constantly in the news but his erstwhile partner-in-crime in founding Microsoft, Paul Allen, doesn’t get as much press. But he’s used his untold billions for a succession of causes, some quixotic, some not. At this stage it’s not sure where his Allen Institute of Brain Science fits into this spectrum. But its recent announcement, that...

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Will Robots Have a Problem with Mental Health Too?


The march towards robots taking over our everyday lives moves ahead inexorably. Self-driving cars are just the latest manifestation of the trend. Recent research now shows that in order to make them more human,, we need to give the similar flaws to real people so that we take them more seriously (How perfect is too perfect? Research reveals robot f...

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An Air Freshener that Helps Mental Illness?

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A couple of blog posts ago I discussed the huge problem of mental illness (“The Invisible Pandemic”). I pointed out that we still don’t know how mental illness is caused which put a severe limit on what we can currently do to help people suffering from it. But we do know something that can help, although as usual there are constraints here too. Tha...

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The Invisible Pandemic

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I guess you’ve all been reading about MERS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. It’s hit South Korea and we don’t know where it will go next. It’s not an epidemic though. For the media that’s kind of a pity, they all love to talk about an impending epidemic, preferably a pandemic. Of course, there’s not too many of those. Or are there? The Econom...

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Are 3 meals a day unhealthy?

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Have you ever seen the TV show “Naked and Afraid”? A man and a woman go (naked) into the wild with no food or tools and have to survive for 3 weeks. If they make the full 3 weeks it they usually come back emaciated. Guess what? That’s the norm for mammals, humans included. When you live in natural state, you don’t get 3 meals a day. Maybe 3 meals a...

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Psychobiotics – The New Behavioral Weapons of Mass Digestion?

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I’m sure you have heard of the microbiome? That’s the trillions of bacteria in the human gut whose functions we still only dimly understand. But one thing has recently become very clear. That is that the microbiome has a huge impact on our feelings, moods and mental functioning generally. Here’s the interesting part. It’s also become clear that the...

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Are gyms bad for your health?

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Uh oh, I guess this is really a sacred cow. I’m a runner (road, not gym) too. But it looks to me like there’s a big problem in this area of gyms. Not only that, by using a gym, exercisers are actually denying themselves some much greater health benefits. First of all the bad news about gyms. Past research shows that they often have a serious proble...

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How Close is the Three-Person Marriage?

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Was just reading an article about plummeting fertility rates in Europe. Seems like no-one wants kids any more. Just too expensive or too much trouble. But there’s another totally different possibility that almost no-one seems to have considered. What if women in developed countries actually really want more babies but they can’t? Because their sign...

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Does Meat Cause Obesity?

Now here’s an interesting idea. Is the cause of obesity simply due to the antibiotics that every meat producer puts in the food supply for their animals? You might have thought that meat producers add antibiotics to their animal feed to prevent or cure disease. You would be wrong. They do it because it results in a significant weight gain for the a...

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A Disappearing Symbol of Virtue? Smartwatches Rain on the Fitness Tracker Parade

The new kid on the block is smartwatches. They will have everything that a fitness tracker has, and then some. But I think we are going to lose an important signal of people’s potential in so doing. You wear a fitness tracker all the time. It measures your activity including steps in walking, running, stair climbing, calories and so on. It’s part o...

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Gluten-Free Diets Kill! A Toxic Leadership Insight

Yep, it’s true. If you don’t believe me read the January 2015 issue of Consumer Reports here. Before we get to the killing part, Consumer Reports points out that their research shows that gluten-free foods usually have a lot more fat, sugar and calories than gluten-ful foods. And of course, they are way more expensive. But the killer argument, pun ...

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