GLP Podcast: ‘It’s banned in Europe’ fallacy, debunked; Conversation’s bad glyphosate article; Fighting pregnancy stress

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If a pesticide is banned in Europe, does that make it dangerous? Nope. Typically an excellent source of science commentary, The Conversation recently published a terribly misleading article about the weed killer glyphosate. Pregnancy is a stress-inducing experience for the mother and the baby. What, if anything, can be done to mitigate the negative effects that come with bringing a child into the world?

Join geneticist Kevin Folta and GLP contributor Cameron English on this episode of Science Facts and Fallacies as they break down these latest news stories:

Anti-GMO and anti-vaccine arguments are, as a rule, patently false. To give their case a veneer of credibility, activists promoting these causes will often point out that biotech crops and certain vaccines are banned in this or that country, implying that these technologies must be dangerous. Why else would they have been banned? This assertion is little more than an appeal to authority, however. When you dig a little deeper, the claim falls apart.

The Conversation publishes a wide variety of insightful scientific commentary. But no news outlet is perfect, and the typically pro-science website recently published a story filled with false and misleading claims about the weed killer glyphosate. What did the authors get wrong? Almost everything.

Everybody knows that pregnancy is stressful. But new research has yielded some useful biological insights that may help expecting parents and their support systems mitigate the challenging nine months they face. Stress plays an important adaptive role during pregnancy, the researchers noted, preparing “a pregnant woman to care for another human being.” But in some cases, they found, stress can “hijack a period of change meant to allow for positive adaptations and instead open the door for anxiety problems.”
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Mothers who endure this hijacking may have more difficultly bonding with their new babies. Fortunately, women who perceive that they have strong social support can overcome this anxiety-inducing effect. What exactly can be done to mitigate this trying time for new parents?

Recommended Twitter follows: @CaraSantaMaria and @JoshBloomACSH

Kevin M. Folta is a professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. Follow Professor Folta on Twitter @kevinfolta

Cameron J. English is the director of bio-sciences at the American Council on Science and Health. Follow ACSH on Twitter @ACSHorg

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