Daily Rounds: Roberts' Finesse; Lyme Doctors Speak Out; Belviq And Your Brain; Genetics Of A Red Tomato

Roberts Shows Deft Hand As Swing Vote On Health Care (The New York Times) "Chief Justice Roberts suggested that even he did not find the tax argument especially plausible. But he quoted Justice Holmes to explain why it was good enough. “As between two possible interpretations of a statute, by one of which it would be unconstitutional and by the other valid,” Justice Holmes wrote, “our plain duty is to adopt that which will save the act.”...As Chief Justice Roberts explained at his confirmation hearings seven hears ago, his approach to testing the constitutionality of federal laws involved significant deference to the elected branches. “All judges are acutely aware of the fact that millions and millions of people have voted for you and not one has voted for any of us,” he told Mr. Hatch. “That means that you have the responsibility of representing the policy preferences of the people.” He made the point more sharply on Thursday, in a part of his opinion in which he spoke only for himself. “It is not our job,” he said, “to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

Lyme Disease Complicated Doctor-Patient Relationship (WBUR) "But you and I both know there are people on the other end of the radio who are suffering from Lyme who are going to say, “Well you know, I have a doctor who gives me antibiotic treatments and I feel that I’m doing much better with them.”
"I sympathize with that person. I can’t argue with a person who feels better and I’m glad that the person’s feeling better. But does that mean that that person would feel any better or any worse if that individual received a placebo? I don’t know unless there is a trial that tells me that. I’m a physician. I’ve been in practice for 40 years now. Do I ever use drugs in ways that are not completely justified by medical science? Of course. We have to do things for patients sometimes that are not bolstered by excellent science. We know that. But with respect to Lyme disease, I would just ask that the same standards of testing, of investigation be applied to Lyme disease as are applied to any other infectious or other disease."

Belviq: Five Things You Need To Know About The New Diet Pill (Time Healthland) "How does Belviq work?
The drug works by controlling appetite — specifically by activating brain receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that triggers feelings of satiety and satisfaction. Serotonin is also involved in mood; many antidepressant drugs work by preventing the reuptake of serotonin and keeping brain receptors bathed in the chemical. Researchers at Arena say their drug is designed to seek out only the serotonin receptors that affect appetite."

Flavor is Price of Scarlet Hue of Tomatoes (The New York Times) — "Plant geneticists say they have discovered an answer to a near-universal question: Why are tomatoes usually so tasteless? Yes, they are often picked green and shipped long distances. Often they are refrigerated, which destroys their flavor and texture. But now researchers have discovered a genetic reason that diminishes a tomato’s flavor even if the fruit is picked ripe and coddled. The unexpected culprit is a gene mutation that occurred by chance and that was discovered by tomato breeders. It was deliberately bred into almost all tomatoes because it conferred an advantage: It made them a uniform luscious scarlet when ripe."

This program aired on June 29, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.


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