In the news
On June 11th Dr. Mark Sawyer, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital and the UCSD School of Medicine gave an excellent review of COVID vaccines, including observations on a newly-recognized complication associated with vaccination, myocarditis.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that occurs in about 10,000 persons a year, many of them young male adults. There has been a greater than expected incidence of this problem among recipients of the coronavirus vaccines, nearly 800 cases as of this writing. More are likely to be reported because the vaccines are now being given to persons over the age of 12, and there is greater awareness of the condition.
Dozens of common viruses can cause myocarditis. Although there is no live virus in any of the ten currently available vaccines the association is significant. It’s important to note that so far there have been no reported deaths due to vaccine-associated myocarditis and that full recovery is the rule.
More than 2 billion doses of COVID vaccines have been given to date and that number will probably reach 3 billion before the end of the year. The level of protection is more than 90 percent and the various mutations do not seem to have been a problem so far.
Organic – part two
The organic-vs.-conventional food issue is extremely complex and decades of research have failed to give us definitive answers. Major issues concern the effect of pesticides, the nutritional value of organic vs. conventionally-raised foods and environmental and economic issues.
Pesticide residues are found in organic foods, ranging in some studies from 7 percent to more than 20 percent, but none in amounts exceeding allowable limits. Those that did have higher amounts were found only in countries of the European Union.
The American Cancer Society has stated that the small amounts of pesticides in conventional foods have not been associated with the development of cancer and that there is no research that shows organic foods to reduce the risk of cancer when compared to conventional foods.
Although there may be several days’ delay between harvesting and marketing plant products this allows time for the natural breakdown of pesticide residues. The cook who washes or at least rinses vegetables prior to serving also removes some pesticide residues. Peeling prior to cooking or serving removes even more.
The conclusion is that pesticides that are applied to plants in the field do not cause disease in persons who consume them. Although chemicals that are used in agriculture can cause serious disease in those who face heavy exposure, including farm workers and their families, that is an entirely different matter.
We’ll address nutritional and environmental matters in future posts.