Category Archives: medicine and health

New article: coronavirus lingers on surfaces longer than we thought

While most cases of Covid-19 are surely contracted via interperson contact (hugging, respiratory droplets, talking next to someone, handshakes, and so on), this new article from Virology Journal, produced by five Australian researchers, suggests that the virus can linger on various surfaces substantially longer than we suspected, and those infection-bearing surfaces (called “fomites”) can carry […]

Covid 19 may hijack pain receptors, reducing pain and increasing the spread of the virus: a possible result of natural selection

The paper below, which has just been published (click on screenshot to go to page, then click the “download” button to the left to get the pdf), has a unique twist that may say something about evolution in pathogens, but the evolutionary angle hasn’t been mentioned. It’s a complex and technical paper, using rat models […]

Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine goes to three for discovering the Hepatitis C virus

Knowing that the first Nobel Prize for science would be awarded today—in Physiology or Medicine—I made a contest in which readers were to guess just one winner of each of the three science prizes plus the winner of this year’s Literature Nobel. Well, the first prize was awarded this morning, and the contest is already […]

A good article on Covid-19 testing, a way forward, and where we screwed up

I commend to your attention this article in The Atlantic on Covid-19.  The authors, Robinson Meyer and Alexis Madrigal (staff writers on science and technology), discuss the best ways to stem the pandemic, the advantages and disadvantages of various tests for infection, and how the U.S. screwed up in its response. Click on the screenshot […]

The efficacy of different face masks in reducing droplet emission

What kind of mask should you wear during the pandemic? (Yes, you should always wear one if you’re around people.) A new paper in Science Advances (click on screenshot below, free pdf here, reference at bottom) gives a tentative answer to that question, assuming that you’re wearing the mask to avoid infecting other people. And […]

Trump administration places severe restrictions on fetal tissue research, impeding medical progress

Let me make this clear from the outset: fetal tissue used for research is taken from abortions that women elect to undergo.  The tissue has shown enormous promise for medical research, including its past use in developing the polio vaccine, as well as making useful advances in AIDS research, birth defects, Down Syndrome, spinal cord […]

What’s the risk of death from coronavirus? A summary from Nature

A new article in Nature has gathered statistics from several studies to come up with an estimate of the overall death rate from coronavirus (click on screenshot below to read it, pdf here). If you’re paywalled, a judicious request might work. I’ll put the latest estimates at the bottom, as you’ll need to read the […]

My emergency-room bill

On May 6, as I reported, I ripped my ear open on a jagged tree branch while running between the ponds. I didn’t show the picture of the carnage here as it was extremely bloody. I sent a photo to my GP, as it wouldn’t stop bleeding, and he told me to go to the […]

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are not only useless in treating Covid-19, but very harmful

UPDATES: The discussion of this paper has gone back and forth, and the cause is that neither Alex nor I read the paper carefully. I just skimmed it, and Alex read it quickly but paid most of his attention to the tables. That led to this first update in which he concluded (and I agreed) […]

Trump’s doctor, an osteopath, approved his patient’s use of hydroxychloroquine. That’s quackery, regardless of the doctor’s credentials.

As you know, last week Donald Trump asserted that he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive for coronavirus, said that thousands of front-line medical workers were also taking it for the same reason, and argued that the drug had proved efficacious against the virus.  Yesterday I thought that all three claims might be lies (the […]