Posts

October 23, 2014

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12:19 PM | A Brain-Training Update
Can playing video games or specifically designed computer games improve your cognitive function? There are many companies who claim that they can and who would like to sell you such games that they claim are “scientifically designed.” So-called brain-training is a burgeoning business, with perhaps the best known product being Lumosity. Lumosity promises: “Scientifically designed [...]
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11:02 AM | Celebrating 25 Years of the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Project
  The KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Kenya began life in a single building beside the county hospital in Kilifi. 25 years on, this thriving research centre has a string of research breakthroughs under its belt, and is home to an international team of researchers working to improve health in Africa. Professor Kevin […]
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11:02 AM | Celebrating 25 Years of the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme
  The KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Kenya began life in a single building beside the county hospital in Kilifi. 25 years on, this thriving research centre has a string of research breakthroughs under its belt, and is home to an international team of researchers working to improve health in Africa. Professor Kevin […]
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10:44 AM | Qatar SCH Statement On 2nd Recent MERS Case
Qatar’s proximity to Saudi Arabia     # 9236   On October 12th Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health (SCH) announced the evacuation from Saudi Arabia of a 71 year-old Qatari citizen who had contracted the MERS-CoV infection (see KUNA: Qatar Announces MERS Case).   Today the SCH reported a second case for 2014, and despite  its length, it doesn’t tell us very much about the patient, or how the patient might have contracted the virus, although […]
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8:00 AM | Cracked Science Video 3: Homeopathy
It’s October 23rd or 10-23, which has been suggested as Homeopathy Awareness Day, in homage to Avogradro’s number. Today is as good a day as any to investigate the claims made by homeopathy. Reading about homeopathy is one thing; seeing the dilutions is another. I hope this is graphic enough for you. I have also … Continue reading →
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6:00 AM | Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield send a complaint to the CDC about its vaccine research. Everyone yawns.
The antivaccine movement and conspiracy theories go together like beer and Buffalo wings, except that neither are as good as, yes, beer and Buffalo wings. Maybe it’s more like manure and compost. In any case, the antivaccine movement is rife with conspiracy theories. I’ve heard and written about more than I can remember right now,…

October 22, 2014

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9:57 PM | Green coffee beans and weight loss–another dumb myth
If you’re a fan of the Dr. Oz show, you might have heard about his passionate support of green coffee beans, which are just unroasted coffee beans instead of the roasted ones we enjoy in a big mug, for losing weight. In America, weight loss pseudoscience, especially those who claim it’s “easy”, is an obsession, especially since […]Continue reading «Green coffee beans and weight loss–another dumb myth»
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7:27 PM | Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize 2014: The winners are…
  The winners of the fourth Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize were announced this evening at a ceremony held at Wellcome Trust HQ in London. With over 600 entries to choose from, picking a single winner in each category was no simple task… “Communicating with the public in getting their insight into the work you […]
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7:21 PM | Paul Farmer's take on the Ebola Epidemic
Click here for an excellent commentary on the Ebola epidemic by Dr. Paul Farmer in the London Review of Books. I was particulary struck by this paragraph: I’ve been asked more than once what the formula for effective action against Ebola might be. It’s often those reluctant to invest in a comprehensive model of prevention and care for the poor who ask for ready-made solutions. What’s the ‘model’ or the ‘minimum basic package’? What are the […]
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6:39 PM | CDC Statement On Post-Arrival Monitoring Of Travelers From Ebola Impacted Countries
    # 9235   I wasn’t able to listen into today’s CDC press conference, but we have a short press release describing a new system – scheduled to go into effect next week – to actively monitor arrivals from Ebola affected nations for up to 21 days after they enter this country.   CDC Announces Active Post-Arrival Monitoring for Travelers from Impacted Countries Travelers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone will receive a CARE (Check […]
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6:00 PM | Highly effective new anti-cancer drug shows few side effects in mice
The drug, developed with the help of Yusuke Nakamura and his lab, inhibits the action of a protein that is overproduced by several tumor types, including lung and breast.
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5:36 PM | One Size Doesn’t Fit All When it Comes to Calling Codes
Resuscitation techniques have come a long way. Just a few years ago, there were only a handful of hospitals using therapeutic temperature management (TTM), also known as therapeutic hypothermia, to treat cardiac arrest patients. Now, it’s becoming a standard tool of resuscitation, but studies show ‘cooled’ patients with good outcomes...
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5:06 PM | WHO Ebola Roadmap # 9 – Oct 22nd
  # 9234   The World Health Organization has released their 9th update to their Ebola Response Roadmap, indicating that the total number of cases is now just shy of 10,000 infections.  There are, of course, significant gaps in surveillance and reporting, and so these numbers are likely to be a substantial undercount.   Below I’ve posted some excerpts from the 12-page PDF report.  Follow the link to read the report in its entirety.   SUMMARY […]
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5:00 PM | Science Snaps: peering inside an expanding lymph node
Our scientists have shown for the first time how lymph nodes swell during infection, producing some striking images along the way.
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4:48 PM | Save the #ScioX Hashtag Please
Despite the organization's demise, I still have a column in my twitter feed for the #ScioX hashtag. Why? Because the most important part of Science Online was not the organization or the meetings; it was the community. Via this hashtag, I can still connect with this amazing group of people. No other group lets me […]
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3:29 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 1 New MERS Case, 1 Fatal Case
# 9233   The uptick in MERS cases reported out of Saudi Arabia continues today with the announcement of a new case in Madinah.  We are also informed of a fatal outcome in a patient previously reported from Taif.  
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2:06 PM | Video: The Emory Ebola PPE Doffing Protocol
    # 9332   Earlier today, in The Ebola PPE Demonstration Video we looked at the CDC’s recommended PPE doffing procedure when using an N95 respirator, hood and gown, a technique used at the University of Nebraska Medical Center when treating Ebola cases.   Emory University has also treated Ebola cases, but utilizes PAPRs (Powered Air Purifying Respirators) and a `hazmat’ style suit for PPE, and therefore the doffing procedure is somewhat different. […]
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1:34 PM | ECDC Epidemiological Update – MERS In Turkey (ex KSA)
  # 9231     Although there is nothing confirmed yet, Turkish media is reporting that several `suspected’ MERS cases with recent travel history to Saudi Arabia are under investigation (see FluTrackers thread), and the Turkish MOH has stated they are following up on contacts of their single confirmed imported case (see Turkey Announces MERS Fatality – ex KSA). Today the ECDC published the following epidemiological update on this latest exported MERS case […]
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12:59 PM | The Ebola PPE Demonstration Video
  NOTE: For the PAPR Version used at Emory University, you can watch the Video: The Emory Ebola PPE Doffing Protocol   # 9230   For those who missed it, the 25 minute PPE demonstration provided during yesterday’s Webcast Of HCW Ebola Training Session, has been archived and is available for view on the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) website. This demonstration is a `must see’ for every healthcare worker in the country.  […]
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12:29 PM | Hunting for clues to healthy aging, from the lab to the sea floor
Researchers are "making an incredible amount of progress" in the search for molecular mechanisms underlying successful aging, says Steven Austad. His own studies are uncovering the secrets of long-lived animals, and investigating the anti-aging effects of the immunosuppressive drug rapamycin.The longest-lived human on record didn’t make it much past 120 years. That’s nothing compared to the ocean quahog, a fist-sized clam found off the coast of Maine. “They can live 500 years […]
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12:09 PM | A TCM Challenge
In the tradition of James Randi, a Chinese doctor who is an outspoken critic of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has issued a challenge to its proponents. He has put up 50,000 yuan (about $8,000), which has been matched by donors for a total of over 100,000 yuan, to any TCM practitioner who can use pulse […]
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11:00 AM | Comparing the 5 Theories of Emotion
Emotions seem to dominate many aspects of our lives. But what exactly are emotions? The word first appears in our language in the mid-16th century, adapted from the French word émouvoir, which literally means, “to stir up”. However, one can find precursors to the word emotion dating back to the earliest known recordings of language. When […]
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10:58 AM | ECDC: Influenza Characterization – Sept 2014
Credit NIAID   # 9229   Although we tend to talk of seasonal H1N1, or H3N2 (or the B viruses) as individual entities – in truth within each subtype there are many clades and variants, and they are all evolving over time. The more `biologically fit’ strains tend to succeed, while less fit viruses fade away.    Geographically, these viruses can vary widely, and so the dominate strains in Europe may differ from the dominant strains in North America or […]
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10:16 AM | Gut reaction: the impact of intestinal infections on polio vaccination
Could gut infections be making the standard polio vaccine ineffective in children in low-income countries? Edward Parker, a PhD student at Imperial College London is trying to find out, as […]
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9:14 AM | An anonymous Canadian foundation grants $4 million to study “integrative oncology”
Supporters of science-based medicine and keeping pseudoscience out of medicine have a few years to prepare for an onslaught of crappy studies “proving” the value of “integrative” oncology. No doubt at this point you’re wondering just what the heck Orac is talking about. I will tell you. It involves an institution we’ve encountered before and…
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5:05 AM | No, Drinking Your Own Urine Will Not Cure Ebola (Or Anything Else)
Fear does strange things to people. The fear du jour currently permeating the US is, of course, the Ebola virus disease. Despite the august efforts to reassure and educate from CDC and the WHO, there has spread a modicum of panic (often with tragic results); we have seen Ebola response become a political issue, and as pointed out recently by that redoubtable scienceblogger, Orac, a ghastly profusion of conspiracy theories and quackery has crawled out of nooks and crannies, feeding... Read more
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1:11 AM | Ebola has Taught us a Crucial Lesson about our Views of “Irrational” Health Behaviors
Sara Gorman compares irrational reactions to the Ebola outbreak by Americans as well as those in Western Africa. As Ebola rears its ugly head in the U.S., there has been a lot of discussion about how afraid we really should … Continue reading »The post Ebola has Taught us a Crucial Lesson about our Views of “Irrational” Health Behaviors appeared first on Speaking of Medicine.

October 21, 2014

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10:52 PM | Read: Yuan Tibet? Place Your Money Where Your Traditional Chinese Medicine Is
The James Randi of China? “A sceptic of traditional Chinese medicine is challenging practitioners of the age-old craft to prove themselves by putting his own money on the line. One has accepted the challenge. At stake is the claim that practitioners can discern whether a woman is pregnant by her pulse.” Way to go, Dr. … Continue reading →
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5:51 PM | MCQ #2 Answer
If you want to take another stab at the question, have a go at this before reading on further! The criteria for a hospital’s Baby Friendly accreditation include: Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy. Inform all pregnant…
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4:39 PM | A tempting source of data, social media is uncharted ethical territory for medical research
Social media is a huge potential source of data for medical researchers, but UChicago's Jeanne Farnan says questions of consent and user intent raise plenty of ethical concerns.
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