April 12, 2014

3:03 PM | Referral: VDU Blog - Professor Ali Mohamed Zaki On MERS-CoV
Coronavirus – Credit CDC PHIL     # 8465   During the summer of 2012 Egyptian virologist Dr Ali Mohamed Zaki, working at the Virology Laboratory of Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia isolated a previously unknown coronavirus from a 60-year old male patient with pneumonia and acute renal failure.  That virus, we know today as MERS-CoV.   The story of his discovery, and eventual `reward’ (he was fired for going public with his […]
12:48 PM | The Perfect 46 - Trailer
The Perfect 46 - Trailer from Clindar on Vimeo. Trailer for the independent science fiction drama The Perfect 46. Screening at the Newport Beach Film Festival April 26th.
12:43 PM | Read: A Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science
A great complement to the talk I gave last week, this one specifically addresses how to evaluate a scientific paper and/or its coverage in the news. You can read the whole poster here: http://www.compoundchem.com/2014/04/02/a-rough-guide-to-spotting-bad-science/ Continue reading →
11:47 AM | KSA: Public Health Messaging On MERS
  Credit KSA MOH   # 8464   In my last blog (see MERS-CoV: The Twitter Of Their Discontent) I wrote about some of the dubious medical advice being purveyed by Arabic newspapers and on Twitter for dealing with the MERS Coronavirus.  Luckily, more reasoned public health advice is being promoted as well. An example comes from a widely tweeted link to the following SAAID.net story.   8 important questions of Corona Dr. Mohammed Al-Filali Doctor in […]
10:57 AM | MERS-CoV: The Twitter Of Their Discontent
  Looking down the rabbit hole     # 8463   Three days ago in MERS, The Twitterverse & MOH Damage Control, I wrote about the outpouring of concern, the proliferation of rumors, and growing criticisms of the Saudi government over the recent surge in MERS coronavirus cases reported in Saudi Arabia on the popular social media platform twitter.   While twitter traffic containing the word   كورونا (`SK’ or […]
8:00 AM | News digest – when muscle turns to bone, prostate cancer tests, ‘zombie’ cancer cells and more
Catch up on the week's big cancer new stories, including a remarkable link between two rare and devastating diseases, plus much more.
6:22 AM | Dolphin high-speed swimming is just a fluke!
Gray’s paradox was originated by the zoologist James Gray in 1936 (J. Exp. Biol. 13: 192–199, 1936). The paradox questioned how a dolphin is able to swim fast (~10.1 meters per second according to his calculations) with what he saw as a limited ability to generate that much power. Therefore, he concluded that dolphins must have…

April 11, 2014

10:17 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 3 New MERS Cases (1 Fatal)
# 8462   While I was away from my desk for an hour the Saudi MOH posted an update (at midnight their time) describing three additional cases in Jeddah (see Saudi MOH Announces 3 More MERS-CoV Cases In Jeddah and Saudi MOH Statement On Jeddah Cluster for earlier reports on this cluster). In addition to seeing more mild or asymptomatic infections being reported, in recent weeks we have also seen a younger cohort of patients than we’ve seen in the past, with many cases […]
10:09 PM | Countdown to #xBio 2014
Two weeks from today I leave my home and head to glorious San Diego for Experimental Biology 2014, the annual gathering of the organizations that comprise the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, AKA FASEB. My favorite of these groups, the American Physiological Society, once again asked me to blog the meeting. I have […]
8:46 PM | LabBook April 11, 2014
A protein named Tim, Your Inner Fish, schizophrenia and much more in this week’s LabBook, our weekly roundup of University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences research news from our blogs, around campus and the internet.
5:00 PM | Cool animation following the breakdown of starch through the gut
Cool animation following the breakdown of starch through the gut
4:46 PM | Variant Annotation in Coding Regions
The analysis of NGS data comes with many challenges — data management, read alignment, variant calling, etc. — that the bioinformatics community has tackled with some success. Today I want to discuss another critical component of analysis that remains an unsolved problem: annotation of genetic variants. This process, in which we try to predict the […]
4:13 PM | Second annual Pedal the Cause gears up for cancer research
Pedal the Cause kick-off event 2014.
3:46 PM | Shorter list for gamma-ray telescope sites, but no home yet
Where will host the world’s next generation ground-based γ-ray detector, the Cherenkov Telescope Array? The answer is, still no one knows. But a panel of funders have narrowed the field following a meeting in Munich, Germany, this week.  Read more
3:33 PM | Green Light: Mr D.
This is the fifth installment of my autobiographical series on my experiences with hearing loss. You can view earlier posts: Prologue; Chapter 1: Seeing Sounds; Chapter 2: Fearless Leader; Chapter 3: The Black Box. Posts appear every other Friday.  Sometime when I was six or … Continue reading →
1:32 PM | WHO MERS-CoV: Jordan Reports Case With Travel History To KSA
  Photo Credit WHO       # 8461   With the UAE reporting a cluster over night, and Saudi Arabia dealing with a cluster of fairly long duration in Jeddah, I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised to see a MERS case has turned up in Jordan.   According to this release from the World Health Organization, this patient had recent travel history to Jeddah, and visited a hospital there.     Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus […]
1:19 PM | World Wildlife Fund’s Dr Brendan Fraser on improving fish diversity and conservation agriculture in Mozambique
Dr. Brendan Fisher is a research scientist at the World Wildlife Fund. His research and fieldwork lie at the nexus of conservation, development, and natural resource economics. Brendan is the author of over 50 peer-reviewed articles on topics such as poverty, human welfare, ecosystem services and biological conservation, and the co-author of two books, Valuing Ecosystem Services (Earthscan, London, 2008) and A Field Guide to Economics for Conservationists (Forthcoming, Roberts and […]
12:23 PM | Away from home: Collaboration in a global organisation
The ‘Away from home‘ blogging series features Indian postdocs working in foreign labs recounting their experience of working there, the triumphs and challenges, the cultural differences and what they miss about India. They also offer useful tips for their Indian postdocs headed abroad. You can join in the online conversation using the #postdochat hashtag.  Read more
11:47 AM | Saudi MOA Spokesman: Camel Link Unproven, MERS-CoV Is MOH Problem
  Photo Credit Wikipedia   # 8460   Even as evidence that camels are – at least partially – involved in the carriage and transmission of the MERS Coronavirus mounts (see CIDRAP NEWS report WHO sees camels as MERS source, but route uncertain) , the spokesperson for the Saudi Ministry of Agriculture has stated that MERS is essentially not their problem, but the problem of the MOH. Camels are part of the Saudi national identity. Any restrictions on (or […]
11:30 AM | Does Spirituality and Religion Guard Against Depression?
There has long been anecdotal evidence that sustained spiritual or religious practice can help improve people’s mood and general sense of well-being. For the first time, we may be on the cusp of understanding the neurological mechanisms underlying these long reported effects. A recent study from Columbia University has found that there is a strong […]
11:00 AM | Faith healing everywhere in medical academia
When I’m trying to demonstrate the utter implausibility and mystical pseudoscience behind so much of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), which is now more commonly referred to (by its advocates, at least) as “integrative medicine,” I like to point to two examples in particular of modalities that are so utterly ridiculous in concept that anyone…
10:40 AM | UAE Ministry Of Interior Announces 6 MERS-CoV Cases (1 Fatality)
AL AIN (aka AL AYN) population 568,000 (2010)   UPDATED 0800 EDT:   Although earlier reports were ambiguous, additional English Language reporting now makes it appear that there are 6 cases, and 1 fatality in this cluster (see Mers virus claims another victim in UAE –khaleejtimes).   # 8459   The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior’s official twitter stream is https://twitter.com/AbuDhabiPolice, which over the past few hours has been […]
10:06 AM | Under the covers (Nature revealed) – 10 April 2014
In the latest Under the covers (Nature revealed) blog, Nature’s Art Director Kelly Krause discusses the inspiration behind this week’s front cover choice on brain-wide axonal projection patterns.  Read more
7:00 AM | Image of the Week: Varroa Parasitic Mite
This week’s image is of the little mite that might cause the end of food production as we know it. The varroa parasitic mite attacks the honey bee populations needed to pollinate a range of valuable crops including sunflowers, almonds and tomatoes. After attaching itself to the underside of the bee, the mite sucks the […]
7:00 AM | Amber Waves of Woo
As a pediatrician I have an opportunity to observe a wide variety of unusual and sometimes alarming parental efforts meant to help children through illness or keep them well. I have recently noticed one particular intervention that seems to be becoming more prevalent, at least in my practice. I’ve begun to see more and more […]
4:14 AM | A structural example of Influenza virus mutation
This is the atomic resolution top-down structure of the neuraminidase protein found on the surface of the Influenza virus (individual spheres represent individual atoms). Neuraminidase is the protein, along with haemagglutinin which allows for the nomenclature of naming strains of Influenza (i.e. H1N1). These are key proteins used by the virus to establish and maintain […] The post A structural example of Influenza virus mutation appeared first on MostlyScience.
12:09 AM | What does the new Tamiflu data really tell us?
Does Tamiflu have any meaningful effects on the prevention or treatment of influenza? Considering the drug’s been on the market for almost 15 years, and is widely used, you should expect this question has been answered after 15 flu seasons. Answering this question from a science-based perspective requires three steps: Consider prior probability, be systematic […]

Jefferson T., Jones M., Doshi P., Spencer E.A., Onakpoya I. & Heneghan C.J. (2014). Oseltamivir for influenza in adults and children: systematic review of clinical study reports and summary of regulatory comments, BMJ, 348 (apr09 2) g2545-g2545. DOI:

Freemantle N., Shallcross L.J., Kyte D., Rader T. & Calvert M.J. (2014). Oseltamivir: the real world data, BMJ, 348 (apr09 2) g2371-g2371. DOI:

Editor's Pick

April 10, 2014

9:53 PM | Saudi MOH Announces 3 More MERS-CoV Cases In Jeddah
  # 8458   While the Saudi Twitterverse has been rife with (unconfirmed) rumors of additional MERS cases (see yesterday’s MERS, The Twitterverse & MOH Damage Control) over the past 24 hours, we have an announcement late this afternoon from the Saudi MOH confirming three more cases from Jeddah.   Few details are provided, so we don’t know exactly how – epidemiologically speaking - these cases fit into the previously announced outbreak (see Saudi MOH […]
9:47 PM | CRTKL Follow-up: The Videos You Didn’t Get to See
First of all, I want to thank everyone who came to the “Critical Reasoning Tool Kit Lecture” last night at McGill University. I received great feedback from the people who came to see me afterwards and it was particularly stimulating for me to be talking about critical thinking to people outside of the usual local … Continue reading →
9:47 PM | Former NIH stem-cell chief joins New York foundation
Stem-cell biologist Mahendra Rao, who resigned last week as director of the US National Institutes of Health’s Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM), has a new job. On April 9, he was appointed vice-president for regenerative medicine at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), a non-profit organization that funds embryonic stem cell research.  Read more
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