Why eating insects makes sense: same protein, less fat than beef, better for the planet (Economist video)

From The Economist: "An unusual way to boost the food supply and feed people sustainably: by eating less meat, and more insects.

About 2 billion people already eat bugs. Mexicans enjoy chili-toasted grasshoppers. Thais tuck into cricket stir-fries and Ghanians snack on termites. Insects are slowly creeping onto Western menus as novelty items, but most people remain squeamish. Yet there are three reasons why eating insects makes sense.

First, they are healthier than meat. There are nearly 2,000 kinds of edible insects, many of them packed with protein, calcium, fibre, iron and zinc. A small serving of grasshoppers can contain about the same amount of protein as a similar sized serving of beef, but has far less fat and far fewer calories.

Second, raising insects is cheap, or free. Little technology or investment is needed to produce them. Harvesting insects could provide livelihoods to some of the world’s poorest people.

Finally, insects are a far more sustainable source of food than livestock. Livestock production accounts for nearly a fifth of all greenhouse-gas emissions – that’s more than transport. By contrast, insects produce relatively few greenhouse gases, and raising them requires much less land and water. And they'll eat almost anything."

Typical cattle requires roughly 8 pounds of feed to produce a single pound of beef. Insects on the other hand require only 2 pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of meat, making them four times as efficient.

Wikipedia has an article on Insect farming, and an open-source DIY kit is available.

Thailand is the world leader of insect farming and consumption. Here is how they do it: http://www.fao.org/docrep/017/i3246e/i3246e.pdf


Forget the vegetable patch! This kit lets you grow your own edible INSECTS to help cut down on meat eating. Daily Mail, 2013.

Best of Medical Blogs - monthly review

The “Best of Medical Blogs - monthly review” is a monthly summary of the best posts from medical blogs. Please email your suggestions for inclusion to clinicalcases AT gmail DOT com. Best of Medical Blogs (BMB) is meant to continue the tradition of the Grand Rounds carnival (discontinued in 2008).

The Last Reprogramming

No one writes quite like @doctorwes - it's a must read... http://buff.ly/1qzv6I9

5 lessons learned by a successful physician blogger

Family comes first - the online community is virtual - it is not real. The cost of free is immense. Learn to say NO. Multi-tasking is a myth. Value your time – not in monetary terms – but in terms of self-preservation. Learn who to trust. Accept assistance - You are not a one man show http://buff.ly/1pGpEsD

Crowdsourcing medical advice - good or bad idea?

Skeptical Scalpel: Crowdsourcing medical advice is another example of a classically good business model which involves having other people do the work. http://buff.ly/1jwaQUn

Dr. Wes proposes a "Real Medicine Seal of Approval" for real doctors

The seal would mean an MD (or DO) spends over half his time, and earns the most of his income, actually directly caring for patients. It also means that the doctor who uses this designator attached to his MD designation actually works outside the normal 8am - 5pm business day and takes call for clinical patient care (available 24-hours/day) on a regular basis annually. http://buff.ly/Ld5TXU

A rheumatologist cured his mid-life crisis with Twitter - see how: http://buff.ly/1cJZokO

Social Media Workshop for Emergency Medicine Physicians http://buff.ly/1f5hByf - Great basic info for a quick start

The prevailing winds of hospital medicine, a dispatch from SHM 2014 - Notes from Dr. RW http://buff.ly/1igV1Gx

The top 50 science stars of Twitter according to AAAS/Science. What does it mean?

It's nice to be on the list of The top 50 science stars of Twitter according to AAAS/Science. However, the list is based on somewhat arbitrary criteria and is meant to provoke discussion rather than to be taken seriously. What is valuable, however, are some of the quotes by scientists interviewed for the story. A selection of the quotes is posted below.

The skeptic view on Twitter

Fact of life: Most high-performing scientists have not embraced Twitter. Why? "Highest ranking chemist considers Twitter a waste of time that he’d much prefer spending on reading, writing papers".

Twitter proponents win this argument

However, this is changing. Researcher: "Twitter may be the most valuable time I spend in terms of learning things". "Twitter is a virtual classroom connecting people interested in psychology of happiness. It’s another teaching tool". “In a minute, I can skim through a hundred Twitter posts. It’s pretty amazing for getting a feel of what’s going on". Tweeting ongoing research at research lab has attracted graduate students as well as two grants. Active social media presence might aid applications for research funding, as it shows a commitment to public outreach.

Know the risks

There are pitfall to Twitter user, of course. Spontaneity of Twitter can backfire, for example, live-tweeted brusque criticism at academic conferences can come back to bite you.

Twitter is ill-suited for nuanced, in-depth scientific discussions. The tweets are only 140-characters after all, and it is difficult to follow a conversation because every single tweet is a separate web page. Tweet materials that appeal to a general audience, rather than complex scientific papers.

How to use Twitter in science

Twitter can be a crowdsourcing platform for new ideas and research.

Twitter can surface and bring to you the latest, most noteworthy research in medical science. Your own tweets about papers and presentations you find interesting can form an archive.

Twitter functions as “another dimension of peer review”.

Here is an approach I suggested a few years ago:

Cycle of Patient Education (click here to enlarge the image):

Cycle of Online Information and Physician Education (click here to enlarge the image):


The top 50 science stars of Twitter | Science/AAAS | News http://buff.ly/1uiCBqK

Disclaimer and clarification: I am listed at 44 among The top 50 science stars of Twitter. Also, in 08/2014, I made a transition from University of Chicago to Cleveland Clinic.

Healthcare social media #HCSM - top articles

Here are my suggestions for some of the top articles related to healthcare social media (#HCSM) in the past 2-4 weeks:

5 lessons learned by a successful physician blogger: Family comes first - the online community is virtual - it is not real. The cost of free is immense. Learn to say NO. Multi-tasking is a myth. Value your time – not in monetary terms – but in terms of self-preservation. Learn who to trust. Accept assistance - You are not a one man show http://buff.ly/1pGpEsD

Wikipedia contains errors in 9 out of 10 of its health entries - Wikipedia is the main source for many med students. Scientists compared disease info with peer-reviewed literature: most Wikipedia articles contained "many errors". Up to 70% of physicians and medical students use Wikipedia, yet 9 out 10 articles have errors (study) http://buff.ly/SL9AY8

Do Cancer Patients Tweet? Study examined the Twitter Use of Cancer Patients in Japan http://buff.ly/1pCFKAa

"Map reveals IQ levels across the US based on tweets" http://buff.ly/1kPFXQz

Emotional contagion: Facebook influences users' emotions by adjusting their news feed http://buff.ly/1z3hxsu - original article in PNAS: http://buff.ly/1z3hHAb -- Facebook can use algorithm to make users happy or sad at will, scientists "creeped out" http://buff.ly/1z3hNba

Characterizing the Followers and Tweets of a Marijuana-Focused Twitter Handle | J of Medical Internet Research http://buff.ly/1qd5MMc

5 Strategies to Effectively Use Online Resources - Annals of Emergency Medicine primer http://buff.ly/1qd8SQh

How to Save Tweets for any Twitter Hashtag in a Spreadsheet http://buff.ly/1oqe3e6

Planning ahead: How to Digitally Avoid Taking It to the Grave http://buff.ly/1oqfdGn -- Plan your digital afterlife with Inactive Account Manager http://buff.ly/1qzXnUQ

Practicing urologists are almost universal in avoiding social media for professional use (study) http://buff.ly/1j0TYf9

Dermatology on YouTube: Only 35% of the videos were uploaded by or featured an MD/DO/PhD http://buff.ly/1j0UcTE

FDA asks pharma companies to use Twitter to post side effects http://buff.ly/1o7BDcu

FDA calls Twitter "Platform with Character Space Limitations" http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM401087.pdf

The articles were selected from Twitter @DrVes and RSS subscriptions. Please feel free to send suggestions for articles to clinicalcases at gmail.com and you will receive an acknowledgement in the next edition of this publication.

Seeing the Invisible for the First Time - animated documentary celebrates 17th-century citizen scientist van Leeuwenhoek who discovered microbes

This animated documentary celebrates the 17th-century citizen scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, whose discovery of microbes would change our view of the biological world.

Dust mites were also first discovered by the inventor of the microscope, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. In 1694, he reported microscopic "little animals" that live in dust.

Up to 40% of the world's population has been diagnosed with an allergic disease. The most prevalent allergy is to house dust mites (http://buff.ly/1jSF5Y6).

GIANTmicrobes is a toy company based in Stamford, CT. GIANTmicrobes manufactures plush toys resembling microbes, including a number of clinically important human pathogens. The toys were developed primarily for educational, if not in some cases ironic, value.

Dust mites from GIANTmicrobesDust mites from GIANTmicrobes
3 Dust Mites in a Petri Dish by GIANTmicrobes/Amazon. These are cuter in person and one patient named them "Dusty, Rusty and Trusty." The toys are not exactly anatomically correct, of course. For example, dust mites do not have eyes or antennae. They have 8 legs and a mouth-like appendage. I use the plush toys below in most of my lectures and clinic visits related to indoor allergens, asthma, and allergic rhinitis. They make an unforgettable impressions and drive home the message that the dust mite is "real" and it is the most important indoor allergen.

Dust mites from GIANTmicrobesDust mites from GIANTmicrobes

The appearance of each 5-7 inch long toy is based on electron micrographs of the real microbe, thus the toys represent an approximate million-fold magnification of the actual organisms. In order to appeal to the general public and present an air of lovability, many of the toys are brightly colored and furry. To further anthropomorphize them, they typically feature two eyes and in some cases other facial features.
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