Posts

December 21, 2014

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8:12 PM | What’s so healthy about skepticism?
He was known to the hospital as someone who would try to manipulate his caregivers. And I fell for it anyway. Frequently admitted for pain crises associated with a chronic illness, he spent most of... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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6:13 PM | The dumpster fire (part 2)
Earlier this week Dr. Stephen Calderwood, President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, posted on our blog a response to several posts that we have written to shed light on the problems plaguing the specialty of Infectious Diseases, which are primarily the interlocking issues of low pay relative to other subspecialties of Internal Medicine as well as hospitalists, and the dwindling number of young physicians pursuing training in our field. While we thank Dr. Calderwood and IDSA for […]
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3:08 PM | Biotech Tweets of the Week (December 15-19, 2014)
Another huge week in biotech and pharma news, analysis and discussion on Twitter as 2014 draws to a close. Catch up or review the week with the Tweets of the Week, curated by @23aloha. Patrick Soon-Shiong makes a $20M investment in $SRNE at $5.8 - certainly a encouraging development for the potential Abraxane competitor...— Ian Estepan (@ianestepan) December 15, 2014 @VikramKhanna_ The goal, however, is to get quality in the bargain bin.— David Sobek (@dsobek) December […]
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1:02 PM | ‘Tis The Coronary Season
  # 9471   If history is any gauge the three deadliest coronary days of the year will occur over the next two weeks; Christmas day, the day after Christmas, and New Year’s Day.   Events that are commonly called `Christmas Coronaries’ or `Hanukkah Heart Attacks’.   Fifteen years ago, a study looked at the rate of heart attacks in the United States, and found that Acute Myocardial Infarctions (AMIs) run as much 53% higher during the winter months […]

December 20, 2014

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10:21 PM | Media Reports Of New H5N1 Cases In Egypt
  # 9470   The Egyptian Ministry of Health webpage hasn’t mentioned H5N1 in more than 2 weeks, but we continue to see news reports of new cases announced by the Health Ministry.  On Wednesday, we saw reports from the Egyptian Media: 18th H5N1 Case Of 2014, 14 of whom had been announced since the middle of November. On Friday there were vague reports of a 3 year-old infected who would have made #19, but since we’d just seen a 3 year old reported, it […]
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9:52 PM | Can you hear me now?
New research shows that pearlfish (Onuxodon fowleri) not only reside in black-lip pearl oyster shells, they also use the shells to amplify sounds created by vibrating their swimbladders. According to lead study author Dr. Loic Kéver, “amplification probably improves the efficiency of communication by increasing the propagation distance of the sounds.” Following high resolution CT scans,…
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3:40 PM | The Problem With Standardizing Healthcare
Clinical guidelines are part and parcel of a doctor's life. But do they benefit or harm the patient instead? Dr. Sandeep Jauhar discusses this in The New York Times....
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3:32 PM | Germany: 2nd H5N8 Outbreak In Lower Saxony
Emmsland – Lower Saxony – Near Dutch Border – Credit Wikipedia   # 9469 Detections of highly pathogenic H5N8 – an avian flu subtype practically unknown a year ago – continue with another farm in Germany reporting the virus.  This is the third German farm in just over a month to report an outbreak.   We’ve also seen this highly mobile avian flu virus abruptly show up in North America, Japan, and Italy this week, likely spreading […]
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2:05 PM | Canada: FluWatch Week 50
  Credit Canada’s FluWatch    # 9468     Yesterday we looked at the CDC’s latest FluView Week 50 report, and so this morning a quick peek at flu conditions north of the border.    Like in the United States, Canada is seeing sharply increased flu activity, and the vast majority of H3N2 viruses tested are falling into the `drifted’ category – making them a poor match to this year’s vaccine (see HAN Advisory On […]
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1:16 PM | Last Minute Preparedness Gift Ideas
CDC Infographic   # 9467   When my wife and I lived aboard our sailboat in the 1980s and 1990s, we tended to give each other `practical’ gifts for birthdays, holidays, and special occasions (“Honey, here’s that flare gun you wanted.  Happy Anniversary!”).  Now I know that may not sound very romantic, if you should ever find yourself truly in need of a flare gun, you’ll find that jewelry, flowers, gift certificates -  or […]
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12:01 PM | CDC Investigating Multistate Outbreak Of Listeriosis Linked To Caramel Apples
  # 9466   Listeriosis is an infection caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, and is most commonly seen in the form of food poisoning.   Most healthy people will either have no symptoms or a mild and self-limiting gastroenteritis, but for pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, or those with weakened immune systems this infection can be deadly.   Each year the CDC estimates Listeriosis causes an average of 1600 illnesses, and 28 deaths in the United […]
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12:00 PM | Humans of The Future
A look into the future evolution of human beings is rather speculative, even when it’s dedicated scientists doing the looking. The psychological, social and physical changes humans will experience in the coming thousands of years are simply unknown to us. However, we know that human beings are still evolving, that change is imminent, and that […]
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9:00 AM | News digest – Government science funding, exercise and prostate cancer, drug approval and more
Government science funding announcement, exercise and prostate cancer, plus a handful of stories about drug approval - here’s the week’s cancer news.

December 19, 2014

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10:35 PM | A First: Amputee Controlling Two Prosthetic Arms
ByThe Toombst   A new advance in medical technology. A Colorado man have become the first amputee controlling two prosthetic arms at the same time. In the last couple of years there have been many advances with prosthetic limbs. Earlier this year I mentioned one such advance, an extremely precise way amputees managed to control an artificial limb to eat a grape and using it for other fine motor skills. Now Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory report a new engineering […]
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9:40 PM | Penn Medicine CAREs for the Homeless and Disadvantaged this Holiday Season
Though the city of Philadelphia has had some recent successes in helping the homeless, there are still many who need our help. At any given point in time, the city estimates there are around 650 people living on the streets, and every year, homeless outreach organizations, such as Project HOME,...
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9:08 PM | LabBook December 19, 2014
Life without microbes, lowering diabetes costs and more in this week’s rundown of recent research publications of note from University of Chicago scientists and physicians.
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8:19 PM | USDA/APHIS: H5N8 Detected In Oregon Backyard Flock
  # 9465   While not making huge headlines, one of the big stories of the week has been the encroachment of HPAI H5N8 (and HPAI H5N2) into the Pacific Northwest, likely carried in via migratory birds.   Just above the border in British Columbia, North America’s first outbreak of HPAI H5 (see CFIA: 11th Poultry Operation Identified With H5N2) - which began nearly 3 weeks ago - continues to plague poultry operations.   Today it was announced (h/t Sharon […]
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7:37 PM | Plant micro-ecology: How host genes shape the plant microbial community
Genes that contribute to the make-up of the plant microbial ecosystem are identified in research from the lab of Joy Bergelson, shedding light on how hosts and microbes maintain their deep-rooted commensalism.
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6:27 PM | Introducing The Bifurcated Needle Blog
  From: CDC Image Library   # 9464   My thanks to Matt Watson (@BioAndBaseball) senior analyst and Communications Specialist at UPMC Center for Health Security for the head’s up on a new blog called The Bifurcated Needle, self described  as `featuring views and insights from the diverse group of professionals at the UPMC Center for Health Security’. In just the first week there are already 8 posts (listed below) which live up to that description, […]
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6:25 PM | ‘Tis the season to be shameless
I received two nice holiday gifties: My recent essay on race, genetics, and the Nicholas Wade affair heads up Nature’s top 10 list of Books & Arts pieces for 2014. <blows […]
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6:20 PM | Oops: Repost of Subtle Spirit of the Season
I accidentally posted this a few days ago in some obscure corner of the Scientopia site. It received little attention, and I'm still looking for movies with a holiday twist that are not in-your-face Christmas movies. To that end, I'm re-posting here.   Sure, there are CHRISTMAS flicks, movies that focus on the holiday. Think […]
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5:27 PM | FluView Week 50
# 9463   Earlier this week, in It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like . . . Flu Season, I wrote about the recent media reports on school absences (and some closures) due to influenza.  You’ll also find some advice in that blog on the home treatment of flu, and when to seek medical care, from the CDC.   Although the CDC numbers, and maps, lag about a week behind current conditions - they clearly show that this year’s flu season is well underway across much […]
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4:45 PM | Saudi MOH Reports 1 MERS Case In Al-Kharj
# 9462   In November we saw 5 cases of MERS reported from Al-Kharj, but have not heard anything in several weeks. Today we’ve another case from that region, of a 53 year old male with reported animal exposure.
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4:39 PM | Food Additives Part 1: An Examination of What We Eat
By: Theresa KlepperEdited by: Sharon E. Chin“[The] FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health by, among other things, ensuring that the nation’s food supply for human and animal consumption is safe, sanitary, wholesome and properly labeled ”(2).Picture of 2 week old cappuccino remains with syrupCan we trust what we eat?Our faith in the well-being of the food we eat sits on the shoulders of the FDA; it’s their job to make sure we can trust what we […]
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4:22 PM | This study of hype in press releases will change journalism
New work shows the inflation of scientific results happens at many stages in the press game ScicuriousScience & Society by Bethany Brookshire 12:30pm, December 19, 2014 A survey of press releases on biomedical studies finds that hype may creep from institutions' press releases about the research into news coverage. But this doesn’t give anyone at any stage of the […]
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3:44 PM | Reflexology for Babies?
In the fascinating, if not rational, world of so-called complementary and alternative medicine, the age of the patient rarely seems to matter. This stands in stark contrast to the practice of science-based medicine. Sure, there is some physiological overlap across the spectrum of age, but caring for children often requires a vastly-different approach and there […]
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3:31 PM | Universal Medicine Uses Google To Silence Critics
An Australian based company called Universal Medicine (UM) has been criticized by various skeptical blogs and groups as being a new age alternative medicine cult. Looking through their website, this seems like a reasonable observation. (The term “cult” is fuzzy, but many of the features seem to be present.) In response to this criticism, UM [...]
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3:22 PM | Nizar Ibrahim named 2015 TED Fellow
Paleontologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Nizar Ibrahim, PhD, has been named a 2015 TED Fellow – the first paleontologist in the history of the program.
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2:26 PM | Overactive Habit System causes OCD?
ByThe Toombst New research finds that an overactive habit system in the brain might cause OCD. The implicated brain region called the caudate nucleus which also control voluntary movement. At one time or another I’m sure many of us have felt like we’re affected by OCD, be it’s excessively washing hands or turning off the lights a succession of times before you leave a room. Though disturbing these action probably don’t mean you are suffering from OCD in real way. People […]
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1:47 PM | CFIA: 11th Poultry Operation Identified With H5N2
Credit CFIA   # 9461   Overnight a new farm was added to the CFIA’s  Infected Premises List,  a second chicken farm in the Langley, B.C. area very near Vancouver.   Meanwhile, just south of the Canadian border - in Washington State – at least two wild birds have tested positive for HPAI H5 avian viruses (see OIE/APHIS: HPAI H5N8 & H5N2 Detected In Washington State Wild Birds), although no poultry farm infections have been reported.   […]
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