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12 Days of Skyhorse Publishing: Day 6 Science for Sale by David Lewis PhD

12 days of Skyhorse
We owe a debt of gratitude to Tony Lyons, Publisher at Skyhorse Publishing in New York. His committment to books about autism is..... well - why don't we let him tell you himself.  (Thank you to The Thinking Moms' Revolution for the video.)

We will feature one Skyhorse book each day for the next 12 days. Consider it a literary Advent Calendar or a Menorah with twelve lights... or more.

Science for Sale by David Lewis PhD
Science for Sale David Lewis
When Speaker Newt Gingrich greeted Dr. David Lewis in his office overlooking the National Mall, he looked at Dr. Lewis and said: “You know you’re going to be fired for this, don’t you?” “I know,” Dr. Lewis replied, “I just hope to stay out of prison.” Gingrich had just read Dr. Lewis’s commentary in Nature, titled “EPA Science: Casualty of Election Politics.” Three years later, and thirty years after Dr. Lewis began working at EPA, he was back in Washington to receive a Science Achievement Award from Administrator Carol Browner for his second article in Nature. By then, EPA had transferred Dr. Lewis to the University of Georgia to await termination—the Agency’s only scientist to ever be lead author on papers published in Nature and Lancet.

The government hires scientists to support its policies; industry hires them to support its business; and universities hire them to bring in grants that are handed out to support government policies and industry practices. Organizations dealing with scientific integrity are designed only to weed out those who commit fraud behind the backs of the institutions where they work. The greatest threat of all is the purposeful corruption of the scientific enterprise by the institutions themselves. The science they create is often only an illusion, designed to deceive; and the scientists they destroy to protect that illusion are often our best. This book is about both, beginning with Dr. Lewis’s experience, and ending with the story of Dr. Andrew Wakefield.



Because of the recent superbug outbreak due to contaminated duodenoscopes at UCLA, I returned to David Lewis's book to reread what he had to say about endoscope sterilization. First I wanted to know how the scopes at issue were sterilized. According to Forbes, the scopes were cleaned by hand to remove visible debris and then soaked for 20 minutes in 2% glutaraldehyde which "kills most bacteria, fungi, and viruses." (Forbes says that ethylene oxide sterilization is the alternative, but takes many hours and therefore isn't practical.)

So what does Dr. Lewis say on the subject? He says that 2% glutaraldehyde can achieve sterilization with a minimum of ten hours of exposure time, but most facilities only use ten minutes. So bad for UCLA...and...good...I guess. Lewis goes on to write:

"Two of the most common germicides used on endoscopes, glutaraldehyde and peracetic acid, are used for purposes that illustrate an important difference between these two chemicals. Like its first cousin formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde is used to prevent decomposition. To preserve a frog so that it can be dissected and studied fifty or one hundred years later, just treat it with glutaraldehyde. But, when scientists want to *dissolve* organic matter instead of preserve it, peracetic acid is used....Incredibly (or disgustingly) many flexible endoscopes now in use apparently are literally held together by potentially infectious patient material, sealed by a "superglue" containing microorganisms buried between layers of glutaraldehyde-hardened surfaces."

And there's lots of other interesting stuff in _Science for Sale_.


Thank you so much, Tony Lyons, for publishing these books! and Age of Autism for publicizing them!

And thanks so much to all the writers for writing them!

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