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Biden and Trump may forget names or personal details, but here is what really matters in assessing whether they’re cognitively up for the job

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theconversation.com – Leo Gugerty, Professor Emeritus in Psychology, Clemson University – 2024-06-10 11:43:28

This image of Trump and Biden was taken during the 2020 presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn.

Pavlo Conchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Leo Gugerty, Clemson University

Some Americans are questioning whether elderly people like Joe Biden and Donald Trump are cognitively competent to be president amid reports of the candidates mixing up names while speaking and having trouble recalling details of past personal events.

I believe these reports are clearly concerning. However, it's problematic to evaluate the candidates' cognition based only on the critiques that have gained traction in the popular press.

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I'm a cognitive psychologist who studies decision-making and causal reasoning. I argue that it's just as important to assess candidates on the cognitive capacities that are actually required for performing a complex leadership job such as the presidency.

Research shows that these capacities mainly involve decision-making skills grounded in extensive job-related knowledge, and that the types of errors made by Biden and Trump do increase with age, but that doesn't mean either candidate is unfit for office.

Intuitive vs. deliberative decision-making

There are two types of decision-making: intuitive and deliberative.

In intuitive decision-making, people quickly and easily recognize a complex situation and recall an effective solution from memory. For example, physicians' knowledge of how diseases and symptoms are causally related allows them to quickly recognize a complex set of patient symptoms as matching a familiar disease stored in memory and then recall effective treatments.

A large body of research on fields from medicine to military leadership shows that it takes years – and often decades – of effortful deliberate practice in one's field to build up the knowledge that allows effective intuitive decisions.

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In contrast to the ease and speed of intuitive decisions, the most complex decisions – often the kinds that confront a president – require conscious deliberation and mental effort at each stage of the decision-making process. These are the hallmarks of deliberative decision-making.

For example, a deliberative approach to creating an immigration bill might start with causal reasoning to understand the multiple factors influencing the current border surge and the positive and negative effects of immigration. Next, generating possible bills may involve negotiating among multiple groups of decision-makers and stakeholders who have divergent values and objectives, such as reducing the number of undocumented immigrants but also treating them humanely. Finally, making a choice requires forecasting how proposed solutions will affect each objective, dealing with value trade-offs and often further negotiation.

Psychological scientists who study these topics agree that people need three key thinking dispositions – referred to as “ actively open-minded thinking” or “wise reasoning” – for effective deliberative decision-making:

  • Open-mindedness: Being open-minded means considering all of the choices and objectives relevant to a decision, even if they conflict with one's own beliefs.

  • Calibrated confidence: This is the ability to express confidence in a given forecast or choice in terms of probabilities rather than as certainties. One should have high confidence only if evidence has been weighted based on its credibility and supportive evidence outweighs opposing evidence by a large margin.

  • Teamwork: This involves seeking alternative perspectives from within one's own advisory team and from stakeholders with conflicting interests.

A reporter addresses the difference between normal gaffes and mistakes that are a cause for concern.

Presidents need to use both intuitive and deliberative decision-making. The ability to make smaller decisions effectively using intuitive decision-making frees up time to concentrate on larger ones. However, the decisions that make or break a president are exceedingly complex and highly consequential, such as how to handle climate change or international conflicts. Here is where deliberative decision-making is most needed.

Effective intuitive and deliberative decisions both rely on extensive job-related knowledge. Especially during deliberative decision-making, people use conceptual knowledge of the world that is consciously accessible, commonly referred to as semantic memory. Knowledge of concepts such as tariffs, Middle East history and diplomatic strategies allows presidents to quickly grasp new developments and understand their nuances. It also helps them fulfill an important job requirement: explaining their decisions to political opponents and the public.

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What to make of forgetfulness and word mix-ups

Biden has been criticized for not recalling details of his personal past. This is an error in episodic memory, which is responsible for our ability to consciously recollect personal experiences.

Neurologists agree, however, that Biden's episodic memory errors are within the range of normal healthy aging and that the details of one's personal life are not especially relevant to a president's job. That's because episodic memory is distinct from the semantic memories and intuitive knowledge that are critical to good decision-making.

Mixing up names, as Biden and Trump occasionally do, is also unlikely to affect job performance. Rather, it simply involves a momentary error in retrieving information from semantic memory. When people make this common error, they usually still understand the concepts underlying the mixed up names, so the semantic knowledge that helps them deal with life and work is intact.

president biden sits on a chair with other men in suits on couches in an oval room in the White House

Biden is known for thoroughly investigating and discussing a diverse range of viewpoints with his advisers before making an important decision.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Making complex decisions as you age

Because all of us use a myriad of concepts to navigate the world every day, our semantic knowledge typically does not decrease with age, lasting at least until age 90. This knowledge is stored in posterior brain regions that deteriorate relatively slowly with age.

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Research shows that, since intuitive decision-making is learned by extensive practice, older experts are able to maintain high performance in their field as long as they keep using and practicing their skills. As with semantic memory, experts' intuitive decision-making is controlled by posterior brain regions that are less compromised by aging.

However, older experts must put in more practice than younger ones to maintain previous skill levels.

The thinking dispositions that are key to deliberative decision-making are influenced by early social learning, including education. Thus, they become habits, stable characteristics that capture how people typically make decisions.

Evidence is emerging that dispositions such as open-mindedness do not decline much and sometimes even increase with age. To investigate this, I looked at how well open-mindedness correlated with age, while controlling for education level, using data from 5,700 people in the 2016 British Election Study. A statistical analysis showed that individuals ages 26 to 88 had very similar levels of open-mindedness, while those with more education were more open-minded.

Applying this to the candidates

As for the 2024 presidential candidates, Biden has extensive knowledge and experience in politics from more than 44 years in political office and thoroughly investigates and discusses diverse viewpoints with his advisers before reaching a decision.

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In contrast, Trump has considerably less experience in politics. He claims that he can make intuitive decisions in a field where he lacks knowledge by using “common sense” and still be more accurate than knowledgeable experts. This claim contradicts the research showing that extensive job-specific experience and knowledge is necessary for intuitive decisions to be consistently effective.

My overall interpretation from everything I've read about this is that both candidates show aspects of good and poor decision-making. However, I believe Biden regularly displays the deliberative dispositions that characterize good decision-making, while Trump does this less often.

So, if you're trying to assess how or whether the candidates' age should affect your vote, I believe you should mostly ignore the concerns about mixing up names and not recalling personal memories. Rather, ask yourself which candidate has the key cognitive capacities necessary to make complex decisions. That is, knowledge of political affairs as well as decision-making dispositions such as open-mindedness, calibrating confidence to evidence, and a willingness to have your thinking challenged by advisers and critics.

Science cannot make firm predictions about individuals. However, the research suggests that once a leader has developed these capacities, they typically do not decrease much even with advanced age, as long as they are actively used.The Conversation

Leo Gugerty, Professor Emeritus in Psychology, Clemson University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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The Conversation

Making art is a uniquely human act, and one that provides a wellspring of health benefits

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theconversation.com – Girija Kaimal, Professor of Art Therapy Research, Drexel University – 2024-06-20 07:24:22
The act of creating art serves as exercise for the brain and is integral to physical and mental .
hzechphotography/Moment via Getty Images

Girija Kaimal, Drexel University

When you think about the word “art,” what comes to mind? A child's artwork pinned to the fridge? A favorite artist whose work always inspires? Abstract art that is hard to understand?

Each of these assumes that making art is something that other people do, such as children or “those with talent.”

However, as I explain in my book “The Expressive Instinct,” art is intrinsic to human evolution and history. Just as sports or workouts exercise the body, creating art exercises the imagination and is essential to mental as well as physical well-being.

I am a professor of art therapy who studies how creative self-expression affects physical and emotional health. In our clinical research studies, my colleagues and I are finding that any form of creative self-expression – including drawing, painting, fiber arts, woodworking or photography – can reduce stress, improve mood and increase self-confidence.

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As a sickly child who needed to stay home from school a lot, I found that making art helped me cope. Today, creating art is my sanctuary. I use it as a sounding board to better understand myself and a way to recharge and learn from the challenges of life.

A bookmark covered in purple, white and yellow flowers sits on an open book.
Bookmark made with wildflowers and ink drawing, created by Girija Kaimal. ‘My aim here was to capture the beauty of nature and the work of the human hand.'
Girija Kaimal

The uniquely human attribute of creativity

Although everyone has their own concept of what defines art, one thing is universally true: Creativity is a defining feature of the human species.

How so? Well, human brains are not computers processing data. They are biological prediction machines that perceive the environment through memories and the senses, with the capacity to use that information to imagine plausible future scenarios.

These inherent predictive and imaginative capacities are the wellspring of humanity's abilities to survive and thrive – because self-expression is a safety valve that helps us cope with uncertainty. No one truly knows the future; they must live each day not sure of what will happen tomorrow. Art can help us all practice this imaginative muscle in a useful way.

In our study examining brain activity while using virtual reality tools to create 3-D digital artwork, my team demonstrated that creative expression is a natural state of being. The brain naturally uses fewer cognitive resources to be expressive and creative, compared with the brain power needed to do a rote task that requires conscious effort.

Seemingly ordinary everyday activities can provide opportunities to tap into one's natural creativity and imagination: whipping up a meal from leftovers, figuring out an alternate route to work, dancing a little jig in response to hearing a song, or planting and tending a garden.

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We have repeatedly found in our studies that even a single session of real and honest self-expression can improve self-confidence and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and burnout.

This is partly because creativity activates reward pathways in the brain. Using our hands and bodies to express ourselves activates dopamine pathways and helps us feel good. Dopamine is a neural messenger that is associated with feeling a sense of hope, accomplishment or reward. Our brains are wired to secrete feel-good hormones whenever we move, create something or engage in any type of expressive activity.

Tapping into the creative resources within is one of the most underrated seeds of well-being in the world.

By comparison, bottling up or denying these feelings can cause distress, anxiety and fear because we have not processed and expressed them. This is probably one of the reasons why every community around the world has its own creative and expressive practices. Even our ancestors in Indigenous communities all around the world intuitively knew that self-expression was essential to emotional health and social connection.

Being unable to share our lives, keeping secrets and feeling isolated and lonely tend to worsen our health. To our brains, social isolation feels like a chronic disease because it interprets this loneliness and inability to express as a threat to survival.

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Since creative expression can engage the senses, it can also be a body workout: a sensual as well as emotional and cognitive experience. Being active in expression – be it art, music, dance, drama, writing, culinary arts or working with nature – imparts a sense of confidence and hope that challenges can be navigated and overcome.

A hand-drawn color portrait
Portrait artwork by Laila Ahuja, in progress.
Laila Ahuja

The role of art therapy

Given the integral role of art in our lives, it makes sense that making art can help people manage transitions, adversity and trauma, such as the stresses of puberty, the death of a loved one or experiencing a serious illness.

According to a global study, 1 in 2 people will experience a mental-health-related challenge in their lifetime, whether from life's challenges, genetic predispositions or a combination of the two.

This is where art therapy can come in. Art therapy is a regulated mental health profession in which clinical psychotherapists with extensive clinical training offer psychotherapy to patients with diagnosed mental health needs.

The origins of art therapy go back to attempts to treat soldiers struggling with post-traumatic stress during the 20th century's two world wars. Today there is evidence that traumatic experiences tend to be stored as sounds, images and physical sensations in the brain. When someone lacks the words to process these experiences through traditional talk therapy, art therapy can provide an indirect way to express and externalize those feelings and memories.

The process of making art can help people process feelings that they aren't able to put into words.

One of art therapy's unique strengths is that it provides nonverbal ways of communicating, processing and eventually managing the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. In fact, in a recent study, my team has found that a personal history of trauma is related to how people react to evocative images. Images of distress and pain resonate with us when we have known similar kinds of distress ourselves. This implies that our life stories make us sensitized to distress in others and even personalize it more.

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Creative self-expression is especially relevant in coping with trauma because it provides an outlet through which a person can regain a sense of agency and control.

A brightly colored stem of orange and yellow flowers with green leaves sits on a notebook page with handwritten description behind it.
Botanical notes artwork made by 12-year-old self-taught artist Laila Ahuja as part of a summer exercise to practice drawing and learn about different flowers around the world.
Laila Ahuja

How to bring creativity into daily life

For those new to exploring art as a creative pursuit or for well-being reasons, engaging in creative activities begins with letting go of unrealistic expectations. Being creative isn't about becoming a famous artist or even a mediocre one. It is about allowing ourselves to flex the creative muscle that we all have and enjoying all the sensory and emotional aspects of imagining.

Next, think about activities that made you feel free to explore when you were a child. Did you like singing, playing in the outdoors, dancing, making up pretend plays, or writing little tales? Allow yourself to indulge in any and all of these creative pursuits that made you feel relaxed and joyful.

A cultural tradition, tinkering with electronics, making a gift for someone or simply paying attention to everyday beauty – any of these can be a creative activity. And just like any muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Over time, you will notice yourself getting more confident and adventurous in your creative practices.

Whatever it is, make time for this creative pursuit every week – which is possibly the hardest step of them all. If it seems “unimportant” compared with the demands of daily life, such as work or family, try thinking of it as another form of sustenance.

Remember that creativity is just as critical to human health as eating nutritious meals or getting exercise and good rest. So as the Latin saying goes: “Plene vivere.” Live fully.

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A square box with the words 'Art & Science Collide' and a drawing of a lightbulb with its wire filament in the shape of a brain, surrounded by a circle.
Art & Science Collide series.

This article is part of Art & Science Collide, a series examining the intersections between art and science.
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Art and science entwined: This course explores the long, interrelated history of two ways of seeing the world The Conversation

Girija Kaimal, Professor of Art Therapy Research, Drexel University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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The Conversation

Boost your immune system with this centuries-old health hack: Vaccines

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theconversation.com – Aimee Pugh Bernard, Assistant Professor of Immunology and Microbiology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus – 2024-06-20 07:24:38

When it comes to vaccines and immune , the results aren't too good to be true.

Jena Ardell/Moment via Getty Images

Aimee Pugh Bernard, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and David Higgins, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

There are a dizzying number of tips, hacks and recommendations on how to stay healthy, from dietary supplements to what color of clothes promotes optimal wellness. Some of these tips are helpful and based on good evidence, while others are not.

However, one of the easiest, most effective and safest ways to stay healthy is rarely mentioned: vaccination.

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We are a preventive medicine physician and an immunologist who want people to live the healthiest lives possible. Among the many research-backed ways to live healthier, we encourage people to eat well, exercise regularly, get good sleep and care for their mental health.

And when it comes to your immune system, nothing can replace the essential role vaccines play in promoting whole health. The protection that vaccines provide is an irreplaceable part of living the healthiest lifestyle possible.

Vaccines are essential to health

Some healthy people think they don't need a vaccine. But your immune system needs more than just a healthy lifestyle to protect your body when vaccine-preventable diseases come knocking on the door.

Imagine the cells of your immune system as athletes preparing for the Olympics. Just as athletes undergo rigorous and specialized training to meet every possible challenge they might face in their event, immune cells need to be primed and ready to fight off every pathogenic challenge you encounter.

Vaccines expose your immune cells to inactivated versions of a pathogen, providing them with practice sessions to recognize and combat the real threat with speed and precision. Vaccines ensure that your immune cells are at their peak performance when faced with the actual infection. Just as well-trained athletes can tackle their competition with skill and confidence, vaccinated immune cells can swiftly and effectively protect your body from diseases.

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If a person is unvaccinated and exposed to a disease they haven't encountered before, their immune cells are unprepared and must play catch-up to fight the pathogen. This leaves your body vulnerable to severe disease.

Without vaccination, even young, healthy people are vulnerable to diseases like the flu.

Even people at the pinnacle of health can unnecessarily suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases because their immune systems might not have been well-trained. Take the story of Austin Booth, a healthy and athletic 17-year-old who was not vaccinated for influenza. Just days after he started to feel ill, he died of the disease.

For healthy people, vaccination can reduce the risk of death from influenza by two-thirds. When people choose to skip vaccines recommended as an essential part of their overall health, there is a greater chance of serious complications or death from a vaccine-preventable disease, regardless of how healthy they may be. These people are playing a potentially life-altering and deadly game of chance.

Vaccine-preventable diseases are still common. In the U.S., hundreds of thousands of adults are hospitalized and thousands die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases such as influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19. And tens of thousands of adults develop cancer every year from vaccine-preventable diseases such as HPV.

Vaccines are the safest immune health hack

Many of the trendiest health hacks have little to no evidence of improving health. Some are even dangerous. But vaccines are one of the most tested and proven ways to stay healthy.

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Vaccines have been used for centuries. In the past 50 years, they have saved an estimated 154 million lives worldwide. Mathematical models estimate that a 25-year-old now has a 35% greater chance of living to their next birthday thanks to vaccines alone.

Smiling person rolling up sleeve to show bandaid on upper arm that reads 'fight flu'

Vaccines are a tried and true way to improve your health.

CDC/Robin Spratling

Not only are vaccines effective, but they are also safe. Yes, vaccines can come with mild and limited side effects – who hasn't felt a little sluggish or bumped their sore arm after getting vaccinated? More severe vaccine side effects are extremely rare. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor. As opposed to dietary supplements, trendy health hacks and even many over-the-counter medications, there are robust systems in place to test and monitor the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

Of all the tips available to improve your health, one recommendation is clear: Even healthy, fit people need recommended vaccines to stay healthy and live well.The Conversation

Aimee Pugh Bernard, Assistant Professor of Immunology and Microbiology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and David Higgins, Research fellow, Instructor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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The Conversation

Raw milk health risks significantly outweigh any potential benefits − food scientists and nutritionists explain why

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theconversation.com – Juan Silva, Professor of Food Science, Nutrition and Promotion, Mississippi State University – 2024-06-19 07:45:26
Influencers extoll the benefits of drinking raw milk over pasteurized milk, but there isn't substantive evidence to support these claims.
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Juan Silva, Mississippi State University; Joel Komakech, Mississippi State University, and Mandy Conrad, Mississippi State University

Despite an ongoing outbreak of bird flu in dairy cows, the popularity of raw milk has only risen. Advocates claim raw milk has superior health benefits over pasteurized milk. There is little evidence to support these claims, however, and the risk of serious illness is much greater.

Mississippi State University food scientists Juan Silva and Joel Komakech and nutritionist Mandy Conrad explain the difference between pasteurized and raw milk, addressing common misconceptions about the health risks and purported benefits of consuming unpasteurized milk. These questions are more important than ever, since cattle can shed viral material into their milk. Not only can pathogens end up in milk, but at least three farmworkers reportedly have contracted H5N1, the virus that causes avian influenza, in 2024. Farmworkers can get sick by handling infected animals or their byproducts, such as raw milk.

What is pasteurization? Does it destroy nutrients?

Pasteurization is a process that involves heating beverages and foods at high temperatures – over 145 degrees Fahrenheit (62.78 degrees Celsius) – to kill harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. This reduces the total number of microorganisms in the product and also inactivates enzymes that could contribute to spoilage.

The taste, nutritional value and quality of pasteurized products aren't significantly affected by the process.

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While pasteurization can lead to some nutrient losses, the changes are generally minimal and outweighed by the benefits. Pasteurization typically causes minor denaturation of proteins and has little effect on fats and carbohydrates. While water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and some B vitamins, usually not abundant in milk except vitamin B2, can be partially degraded during pasteurization, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K, found in significant amounts in milk) are more heat stable and suffer minimal loss.

Thus, nutritional losses in milk due to pasteurization are generally small compared with the significant benefits of reducing foodborne illnesses and spoilage.

Is raw milk healthier than pasteurized milk?

Studies have compared the benefits of raw milk with pasteurized milk and have found little evidence that raw milk is superior to pasteurized milk. The perceived advantages of raw milk are outweighed by its health risks.

First, raw milk does not improve lactose intolerance.

Raw milk also does not have more vitamins than pasteurized milk. Milk is not a good source of vitamin C or other heat-sensitive vitamins, and pasteurization does little to reduce vitamin B2 or riboflavin, which is not as sensitive to heat. Moreover, Vitamin D is added to pasteurized milk to enhance your body's ability to absorb the calcium in milk.

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Assortment of milk products in grocery store aisle
Pasteurized milk is fortified with vitamin D and other nutrients.
Burke/Triolo Productions/The Image Bank via Getty Images

Fortified milk replaces nutrients that may be lost in the pasteurization process. Vitamin D is added to milk to enhance uptake of the calcium found in the milk. No single food is perfect, so it is OK for milk to lack some nutrients, as these can be obtained from other foods.

Some people believe that probiotics – foods or supplements that contain live bacteria beneficial to health – are more prevalent in unpasteurized milk and products made from raw milk. However, raw milk is generally lacking in probiotics and has significantly more harmful bacteria. Probiotics are added to many dairy foods such as yogurt after pasteurization.

Furthermore, a 2011 review of the available research on the health benefits of raw milk found that many of these studies were conducted with poor methods, meaning their results should be interpreted with caution.

What are the health risks of consuming raw milk?

The health risks of consuming raw, unpasteurized milk come from the harmful microorganisms that may be present.

Raw milk has been associated with hundreds of foodborne disease outbreaks. Between 1998 and 2018, 202 outbreaks resulted in 2,645 illnesses and 228 hospitalizations. More recently, from 2022 to 2023, there were 18 outbreaks and recalls associated with raw milk. A number of outbreaks and recalls associated with pathogens in raw milk have already occurred in 2024. In all cases, pathogens in the raw milk that cause human diseases were directly responsible for these illnesses.

Hind legs of cows standing in a stall
Pathogens from infected cattle can be found in their raw milk.
Tunvarat Pruksachat/Moment via Getty Images

Some illnesses from the pathogens in raw milk can have serious long-term effects, including paralysis, kidney failure and death.

Researchers found that areas where raw milk was legally sold in the U.S. from 1998 to 2018 had over three times more outbreaks than areas where selling raw milk was illegal. Areas where raw milk was allowed to be sold in retail stores had nearly four times more outbreaks than areas where sales were allowed only on farms.

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Is it safe to eat foods made from raw milk?

Many, if not all, dairy products made from unpasteurized milk are not safe to eat. A number of products can be made from raw milk, including soft cheeses, such as brie and Camembert; Mexican-style soft cheeses, such as queso fresco, panela, asadero and queso blanco; yogurt and puddings; and ice cream or frozen yogurt. Pathogens in raw milk can survive the processes involved in making these types of dairy products and thus be unsafe for consumption.

Only products that undergo a process to inhibit or kill harmful microorganisms may be safe enough to be made from unpasteurized milk. However, the potential for cross contamination of raw and cooked food as well as the survival of pathogens from inadequate processing is high when products are made with raw milk.

Can pasteurized milk still get you sick?

The few reported outbreaks associated with pasteurized milk can be traced to contamination after pasteurization. When handled properly, pasteurized milk is a very safe product.

The U.S. government requires farmers to destroy milk from herds infected with avian influenza. As of June 2024, 12 states have reported herds positive with H1N5, the virus that causes bird flu.

There is currently no evidence that consuming pasteurized milk from infected cows causes illness in people. Based on the evidence available, the Food and Drug Administration currently states that pasteurization is able to destroy or inactivate heat-sensitive viruses such as H5N1 in milk.

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Consuming raw milk, however, may pose a risk of disease transmission to people.

Can you gain immunity from H5N1 from drinking raw milk?

Some people believe that drinking raw milk can strengthen their immune system. However, there is no scientific evidence to support that drinking raw milk can improve immunity against disease.

Vaccines train your body to protect itself from future infections without actually getting sick from that infection. They do this by exposing your immune system to very small amounts of dead or significantly weakened pathogen.

Bird flu is spreading among dairy cows in the U.S.

Raw milk contains live H5N1 virus, meaning it could still infect you and make you sick. Rather than contributing to your immunity, raw milk exposes you to the virus at its full strength and can result in severe illness. Any protective antibodies that may be present in raw milk are likely degraded in stomach acid.

Moreover, people who contract bird flu from raw milk run the risk of transmitting it to other people or animals by giving the virus a chance to adapt and improve its ability to spread between people. This increases the risk of more widespread disease outbreaks.The Conversation

Juan Silva, Professor of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, Mississippi State University; Joel Komakech, Assisstant Professor of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, Mississippi State University, and Mandy Conrad, Assistant Clinical Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, Mississippi State University

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This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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