Posts

October 24, 2014

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3:28 AM | Excerpt: Child Maltreatment Alters Hormone Levels Linked to Obesity
Children who are maltreated may be at an increased risk of obesity and inflammatory disorders because of low levels of leptin—a hormone involved in regulating appetite, according to new research from King's College London.Dr. Andrea Danese, from the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre and the Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's, who led the study, said: "Previous studies […]
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2:29 AM | Morebola
The news tonight about Dr. Craig Spencer, an MSF volunteer who recently returned from caring for Ebola patients in Guinea, is sobering for several reasons. There are many details to come, but I thought I’d post a few quick initial thoughts (or reminders) about how this tragic development should, or shouldn’t, change the way we think about the Ebola virus outbreak:This outbreak is occurring in West Africa. Not in the US. West Africa. The level of hysteria in the US is directly […]
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2:10 AM | Biotech Reading List
Compound Properties: Starting a RenunciationDerek Lowe (In the Pipeline)The Empire of Edge: How a doctor, a trader, and the billionaire Steven A. Cohen got entangled in a vast financial scandal.Patrick Radden Keefe (The New Yorker)Cellular Immunotherapy & Unum Therapeutics: Out of Many, OneBruce Booth (LifeSci VC)Great perspective along with the news of another entrant into the CAR-T space along with Novartis, Kite, Juno, etc.Authors retract green coffee bean diet paper touted by […]

October 23, 2014

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9:45 PM | Reuters: Mali Reports 1st Confirmed Ebola Case
  # 9241   Although this case has been on the radar for a couple of days (see FluTrackers thread), according to Reuters Mali’s Health Minister has confirmed that country’s first case of Ebola.   First case of Ebola confirmed in Mali - health minister Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:32pm GMT BAMAKO Oct 23 (Reuters) - Mali said on Thursday it had detected its first confirmed case of Ebola, making it the sixth West African country to be touched by the worst […]
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7:56 PM | NYC Health Dept Statement On Symptomatic HCW From Guinea
  UPDATED:  Added a statement from Doctors without Borders (MSF).  16:50 hrs EDT   # 9240   Normally I don’t report on suspected cases of Ebola since most will turn out to be false alarms, but since it is already all over the media, and the New York City Department of Health has issued a statement, I’ve reproduced it here.   Statement on Patient at Bellevue Hospital October 23rd, 3:05 pm Today, EMS HAZ TAC Units […]
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7:00 PM | WHO: Locally Acquired Chikungunya In France
Credit ECDC – Aedes Albopictus (Red & Yellow regions)   # 9239   Although it isn’t the first time that local transmission of the Chikungunya virus has been reported in Europe, today’s World Health Organization DON (Disease Outbreak News) report of autochthonous transmission of this mosquito-borne virus Southeastern France is still noteworthy.    Chikungunya – until 2005 – was an obscure virus pretty much limited to causing […]
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6:00 PM | New Microscope Puts the Life Back in Biology (with Videos!)
Life moves. Or more precisely, as neuroscientist Eric Betzig and his colleagues put it in today’s issue of …
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4:32 PM | Why people with Down syndrome invariably develop Alzheimer’s disease
How beta-amyloid plaques are made in individuals with Down syndrome and Alzheimer's pateints.
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4:13 PM | Uses expand for drug developed at UChicago
It took 29 years, but the FDA finally approved a drug developed at UChicago to provide relief for patients taking powerful pain relievers.
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3:59 PM | Homeopathy Is Not Scientific
The Prince Arthur Herald, a McGill University student publication, has just published a short piece I wrote on homeopathy. Here is an excerpt: “In the mid-2000s, semi-isolated acts of “suicide by homeopathy” were performed as demonstrations of the lack of efficacy of this antiquated belief system, culminating in the Liverpudlian 10:23 challenge which extended this act … Continue reading →
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3:13 PM | Why Ebola Is a Wake Up for Infection Control
Just as the CDC’s and other experts’ thoughts on Ebola and infection control have evolved with experience, mine have taken a slight twist as well. Given the missteps at Dallas’s Texas Presbyterian Hospital, which could have occurred in any community, I now agree with the current recommendations to centralize care in specialty centers. My perspective [...]
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3:13 PM | Research Ethics and Ebola
Every day we learn of new suspected cases of Ebola infection in the United States, causing worries among the population and renewed efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contain the epidemic. A student in the postgraduate course in research ethics that I teach at Einstein recently asked whether we could discuss [...]
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2:20 PM | Smartphone App Boosts Alcoholism Treatment Outcome
Smartphone apps and other mobile technology are emerging as promising tools in medical treatment.A recent randomized study published in JAMA Psychiatry found evidence that a smartphone app improves alcoholism treatment outcomes.David Gustafson and colleagues conducted a study funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.A series of 349 adults with DSM-IV alcohol dependence were enrolled as they entered a alcoholism residential treatment program.Approximately half of the […]
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2:14 PM | ECDC: Management Of Contacts Of Ebola Virus Disease Cases In The EU
  # 9339   One of the `moving targets’ in the global public health response to Ebola has been what constitutes a `low risk exposure’ vs.  a `high risk exposure’, and what kind of monitoring, or movement restrictions, are appropriate.     Previously, we’ve looked at the CDC’s original guidance (see CDC Issues New Ebola Case Definitions)  along with some of updates (see CDC Updated Interim Guidance On Ebola) over […]
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1:34 PM | WHO Statement On 3rd Meeting Of IHR Emergency Committee On Ebola
Credit WHO Ebola Roadmap #7   # 9238   Yesterday the World Health Organization’s IHR Emergency Committee met to discuss the ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa.     Today the WHO issued the following statement, which – among other things – reiterates their opposition to any general ban on international travel or trade with the affected nations, and calls for continued and strengthened exit screening travelers leaving the affected […]
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1:27 PM | Eman’s Emails from Liberia: Through September
Emmanuel Gokpolu, who lives in Liberia, calls me Mom, although he has a wonderful real mother. In Africa, family isn’t only about DNA. Eman contacted me in 2007, after using my human genetics textbook in college. My husband Larry and I had been … Continue reading »The post Eman’s Emails from Liberia: Through September appeared first on DNA Science Blog.
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1:00 PM | Lessons from the dubious rise and inevitable fall of green coffee beans
News this week that a randomized controlled trial of green coffee bean (GCB) has been officially retracted from the medical literature signals what is hopefully the end to one of the most questionable diet products to appear on the market in years. Plucked from obscurity and then subjected to bogus research, it’s now clear that […]
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12:32 PM | Avian H10N7 Linked To Dead European Seals
    # 9237   In 2011 a die off of seals in New England made headlines, which was eventually linked to an avian flu virus (see New England Seal Deaths Tied to H3N8 Flu Virus).  While not a new revelation that seals were susceptible to influenza viruses, this did raise concerns as in 2012, in mBio: A Mammalian Adapted H3N8 In Seals, we saw the first hints that this virus had recently adapted to bind to alpha 2,6 receptor cells, the type found in the human upper respiratory […]
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12:31 PM | Q&A: The ins and outs of the Clinical Research Capabilities and Technologies Initiative
Today Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced the recipients of our Clinical Research Capabilities and Technologies Initiative, with 23 projects receiving a total of just over £170m. But what […]
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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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