Below you will find pages tagged “Health”
WTF With This AD Drug
As a member of Generation X who spent his early adult years in New York City, I tend to be pretty cynical. That’s why my reaction to news of some new scam is usually along the lines of “Oh. Of course.” I don’t often get that feeling from science news, but a piece last week in Nature certainly did the job. To be clear, this is not a criticism of the news article by Holly Else, which was well reported and written.
The Filtrate: Radio Silence, Eco-COVID, and Dr. Strangefish
Now that everyone has digested their Thanksgiving dinners and leftovers – hopefully from small celebrations that didn’t involve traveling – it’s time to sift through recent science news again. There’s been a ton of COVID-19 related news, of course, but most of that has already been covered thoroughly by regular news outlets. Instead, this issue of the Filtrate will focus on stories that might’ve escaped notice. A broken dish The biggest and saddest non-pandemic science news this week was the collapse of the iconic radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
The Filtrate: COVID Comebacks, Ring Containment, and News Notes
This week, the biggest science story was the news (so far only available in press releases and derived news stories) that both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s experimental COVID-19 vaccines appear to be very effective. We need to see actual, peer-reviewed data of course, and a critical question will be whether these vaccines – both based on the same strategy – confer immunity from infection or only from disease. It’s exciting news in any case.
The Filtrate: Polio Progress, Healthcare for Trees, and Special Deliveries
The big news of the past week, of course, was the promise of competent management returning to the US federal government soon, along with a very preliminary indication that the development of vaccines against COVID-19 is going well. Let’s see what else trickled through to the Filtrate. Still eradicating polio The seemingly endless campaign to eradicate polio grinds on. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed progress a bit, researchers and public health experts hope that a new vaccine design will help the beleaguered effort overcome one of its biggest obstacles.
Self-Care in the Time of COVID-19
A couple of months ago, TWiV fan Dave sent me an email about my apparent emotional stability in the face of, well, all this (imagine me waving my hands at the general state of the world in 2020): Dear sir, How do you stand it? Turbid Plaque and TWiV have been a lifeline for a drowning man, but it’s just not enough. I’m inundated, daily, with extreme behavior – recklessness and over-caution both in ridiculous proportion.
'Immunity Passports' Are a Horrible Idea
A few days ago, the World Health Organization caused a stir by saying that antibody tests may not indicate whether someone is immune from SARS-CoV-2. This led to some understandable confusion, and WHO spokespeople have subsequently walked the comments back a bit. While the messaging might’ve been handled better, the public health experts at the WHO were trying to make a very important point. Several prominent politicians have advanced the idea of issuing “immunity passports” to people who’ve recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Epidemics and Travel Bans
Here’s something that doesn’t happen often: I disagree with my friend, podcast co-host, and former mentor Vincent Racaniello. He’s generally right about most things. But I have to part ways with his take on public health-related travel bans, which he explained in a recent post on his blog: Why is it important to stop travel out of the [Ebola virus] affected countries? While I’m confident that the US can detect and properly contain imported Ebola virus infections, not all countries will be able to do so.
From Jamaica Ginger to Vicks VapoRub
A new paper in the journal CHEST presents the case of a toddler who went into respiratory distress after receiving a smear of Vicks VapoRub under her nose. To figure out what happened, the researchers replicated the treatment in ferrets, whose respiratory systems are a good model for humans. The results were not exactly consistent with the Vicks “Breathe free” slogan: [VapoRub] stimulates mucin secretion and [mucociliary transport] in the … inflamed ferret airway.