Posts

February 28, 2015

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10:33 PM | Rare Disease Day 2015: How Rare Disease is Shaping the Future of Healthcare
An infographic to explain how rare disease communities are playing a leading role in the development of precision medicine.
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4:11 PM | Rare Disease Day 2015: Day-by-day, Hand-in-hand
Rare Disease Day 2015 puts the focus on the daily lives of patients, families and caregivers who are living with a rare disease.
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3:37 PM | NECSS and SfSBM: A weekend of science and skepticism
A day of Science-Based Medicine, a weekend of science and skepticism Registration for NECSS, the North-East Conference on Science and Skepticism, is open. Included in the program will be a day of Science-Based Medicine. Full Conference schedule here with Bill Nye as the Keynote speaker. SfSBM speakers will be Harriet Hall, Jann Bellamy, David Gorski, […]
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1:25 PM | Día Mundial de las Enfermedades Raras
28 Febrero 2015http://www.rarediseaseday.org/http://www.genomicseducation.hee.nhs.uk/supporting-patients-and-families-with-a-rare-disease/
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12:45 PM | CDC H5 Avian Flu Update
Major Global Migratory Flyways – Credit FAO   # 9766   Although currently a far greater concern to poultry producers than to public health, we’ve been watching the first incursion of HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) Eurasian H5 viruses into North America over the past few months, as has the CDC.     Until November of last year, HPAI H5N8 had been essentially a threat only to East Asia.   It first appeared in Korea in January of […]
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11:00 AM | Guangdong & Anhui Provinces Report H7N9 Cases
      # 9765   Unlike last winter, day-to-day reporting of H7N9 cases from much of Mainland China has been slow, although it isn’t entirely clear how much of this is due to an actual reduction in cases and how much is due to a change in the way some provinces are reporting.    We’ve seen some case announcements turn up belatedly in Provincial EOM epidemiological reports. Earlier this week the World Health Organization, in their most […]
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9:00 AM | News digest – smoking mortality, tobacco industry tactics, ‘head-transplants’ and more.
New research suggests 2/3 smokers could die from their habit. The tobacco industry fails to overturn anti-tobacco legislation again plus, ‘head-transplants’?

February 27, 2015

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7:43 PM | Diving into Penn's African American History
During this year, when we are celebrating our 250th anniversary, it is important to recognize the contributions of African Americans to building the institution we are today. Our archives provide a rich source of information that reveals the importance of personal resilience and significant institutional milestones. The medical school opened...
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7:14 PM | Oman Worries Over H5N1 Blowin’ In The Wind
Dust Movement Across The Globe – Credit NASA     # 9765   An unusual story has appeared in Omani press his week, where worries are expressed that avian flu (or MERS) might be carried in from other regions via the long-lived dust storms that frequent the Middle East during the spring.   While there isn’t a lot of evidence to support the notion that viable avian flu viruses could be carried sucessfully over long distances by dust storms, the idea […]
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6:54 PM | New Species appropriately nicknamed ‘Sparklemuffin’ and ‘Skeletorus’
I really never thought of spiders as being “pretty” until I came across these two new species of peacock spiders discovered in southeast Queensland, Australia by Madeline Girard (graduate student from the University of California, Berkeley, who is specializing in peacock spiders). Peacock spiders are not only beautiful, they also engage in elaborate dances during…
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6:45 PM | Biotech Tweets of the Week (February 23-27, 2015)
Another fast-paced week on the biotech Twitter stream. Catch up on all the highlights with the latest edition of the Biotech Tweets of the Week. Thanks as always to @23aloha for collecting most of these! [...]
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3:43 PM | How do Omega-3 fatty acids work ?
ByThe Toombst Do Omega-3 supplementation reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke ? Let’s start by taking a look at the history and mode of action. How do Omega-3 fatty acids work ? This article is based on two review articles, One published in the European Heart Journal in 2012 and one published in Current Cardiovascular Risk Rep in 2014. Essential fatty acids were discovered way back in 1929. The discovery showed that certain fatty acids couldn’t be produced by the human body, […]
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2:00 PM | SSPE: A Deadly and Not-That-Rare Complication of Measles
[Editor’s note: We have two posts today, this post by our regular contributor Dr. Clay Jones, and an excellent guest post by William London about a chiropractor’s dubious neuropathy treatment protocol. Enjoy today or over the weekend!] As a pediatrician, even one who has spent the majority of his career caring only for hospitalized children, […]
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12:57 PM | What Color Is This Dress? It’s An Optical Illusion
This is pretty amazing – almost as much for how quickly this has gone viral as for the effect itself. There is now an intense debate going on in the intertubes over whether this dress is black and blue or white and gold. Take a look and decide for yourself. Buzzfeed has a poll which currently [...]
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12:10 PM | WHO: H5 Currently The Most Obvious Avian Flu Threat
How viruses shuffle their genes (reassort)   # 9763     In the `Good Old Days’ – that is, before the spring of 2013 – the bird flu threat around the world was pretty much centered around the H5N1 virus, which re-emerged in 2003 after making a brief appearance in the mid-1990s in Hong Kong and Southern China.    Sure, there were some `minor’ players – primarily H7 viruses and H9N2 – that had shown the ability to infect […]
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12:00 PM | Living with Schizoaffective Disorder – A Personal Story
Being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder was a real blow. I felt alone. I felt helpless. I felt my life had ended. I can’t tell you how many times I sat in a bathtub staring at the vein in my arm, wondering how much it would hurt to cut through the skin, or how frightened I’d […]
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11:35 AM | The Wellness Warrior, Jess Ainscough, has passed away
Two months ago, I took note of a somewhat cryptic blog post by a young woman named Jess Ainscough. In Australia and much of the world, Ainscough was known as the Wellness Warrior. She was a young woman who developed an epithelioid sarcoma in 2008 and ended up choosing “natural healing” to treat her cancer.…
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10:23 AM | A look back at Peter Medawar
Peter Medawar, Nobel Laureate and Director of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in the 1960s, was born 100 years ago on 28 February. Here Frank Norman, Head of […]
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8:00 AM | Image of the Week: The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
This unsettling image of a doll meeting her untimely end, carries a deadly serious purpose. It is a close up portrait of one the twenty miniature crime scenes created by American heiress and criminologist Frances Glessner Lee in the 1940s and 50s. Termed ‘The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death’, each of these macabre dollhouse scenes […]
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6:21 AM | Penguins have poor taste
Researchers sequencing the five different taste receptors in penguins were surprised to discover that the animals do not have genes that encode for receptors that are specific for savory meaty flavors (like fish!), sweet or bitter tastes. Instead, the data suggest that penguins are only able to taste the saltiness or sourness of their foods…
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5:01 AM | The Straw Protocol: A Chiropractor’s Aggressively Promoted Neuropathy Treatment
Full-page ads promoting free dinner seminars addressing the topic of “Non-surgical, drug-free approach to relief from Peripheral [sic] Neuropathy [sic]” appeared last year on at least nine Sundays in the main news section of the print edition of The Los Angeles Times. The seminars were scheduled at various restaurants in Orange County, Los Angeles County, […]
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1:46 AM | Stabilizing Atherosclerosis with Nanoparticles
Scientists from Columbia University and Harvard Medical School have found a possible new solution for atherosclerosis. ...
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12:19 AM | WHO Warns On Evolving Influenza Threat
Credit NIAID     # 9762   The World Health Organization has issued a lengthy and strong statement on the emergence and proliferation of new subtypes of novel influenza around the world, and the potential risks they pose to global health.  Themes that are familiar to regular readers of this blog.   Helen Branswell has a report this evening summarizing the statement, and I’ve posted a link to it and a few excerpts.  I’ll have more to say […]

February 26, 2015

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11:57 PM | And the Skeptical Raptor has returned from internet hell
For fans, haters, and those looking for information, you probably knew that this website and blog wasn’t working for the last 7 days. Obviously, we’re back. I won’t give you the long story, but the short one was that I was stressing out the servers for the old web host, because so many people were […]Continue reading «And the Skeptical Raptor has returned from internet hell»
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10:08 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 3 New MERS Cases & 3 Deaths
  # 9761   We’ve an unusually late update today from the Saudi MOH, where they cite 3 new cases and three recent fatalities. But disappointingly, and without explanation, their English version doesn’t carry the usual line listing.   The Arabic version (see below) has a line listing, but as it is a graphic format, doesn’t lend itself to our normal translation tools. However, we can piece together that one case is from Al-Jawaf, another from Riyadh, […]
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7:32 PM | Aspirin underutilized as pre-hospital care for heart attack patients
Giving heart attack patients aspirin as soon as possible can save lives, but as many as half of patients in the US do not receive it on their way to the hospital, reports UChicago Medicine's Katie Tataris in a new study.
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6:17 PM | #NephMadness 2015: It’s almost here
It’s almost March, time to fill out your bracket. No not college hoops, it’s time for the annual Nephrology SoMed educational phenomenon that is NephMadness. The brainchild of Matt Sparks and Joel Topf has grown legs in its 3 years of existence and now represents a highlight of the Nephrology #FOAM calendar.NephMadness is a homage to the NCAA Basketball Tournament, March Madness, but instead of matching up college basketball teams, NephMadness throws some of the most important […]
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5:54 PM | ECDC: Rapid Risk Assessment On Novel Bornavirus Detected In EU
Variegated Squirrel – Credit Wikipedia    # 9760   As it’s been nearly a week since I’ve written about a newly discovered, deadly zoonotic pathogen affecting humans (see CDC & EID Journal On The Recently Discovered Bourbon Virus), allow me to introduce you to a recently identified bornavirus that appears to be behind a cluster of acute fatal encephalitis in three squirrel breeders in Europe.   Variegated squirrel breeders may have died as a […]
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5:52 PM | Why Do So Many Psychologists Write So Badly?
As this blog has evolved, I’ve spent a great deal of time and energy looking at psychological research, exploring some of the best the field has to offer and examining how poorly conducted or communicated research can leave us misinformed. This job has been made much more time-consuming than necessary by the fact that [...]
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5:47 PM | Politics is an Eight-Letter Word
A number of years ago, the librarians at Lamar Soutter Library, UMass Medical School, received the directive, “Get Out!” Our Library Director wanted us out of our cubicles and away from our desks. She wanted us to go to the people that we served. If people didn’t need to come to the Library anymore, the Library needed […]
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