Category Archives: Medicine

The Delta Variant and Herd Immunity

CNN’s medical contributor Dr Leana Wen said: “So now we have this delta variant that is much more contagious. Because it’s more contagious, it’s going to be even harder for us to reach herd immunity.” Dr Wen who seems very intelligent and well trained (in Emergency Medicine) must have been on autopilot when she made…


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Noise – Book Review

Noise – A Flaw in Human Judgement is a book by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony, and Cass Sunstein. The noise that is their subject is not that of honking geese or backfiring motorcycles; it’s the unwanted variability in judgement or decision making when the facts behind the decision or judgement are the same. Noise and…


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How Long Does COVID Immunity Last?

Now that the COVID epidemic is receding in the United States, a critical question is how long will the immunity to the disease persist in patients who have recovered from the infection or in subjects who have been vaccinated against it? A study published in Nature suggests that immunity may last a lifetime. The study…


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On the Practice of Medicine

As student, trainee, educator, scientist, practitioner, and occasionally as a patient I have observed medicine as an insider for close to two thirds of a century. While the power of medical technology has grown exponentially over this span, the general principles of medical practice remain the same. My subject is the interplay between these two…


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The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?

The title above is that of a detailed report by the eminent science writer Nicholas Wade. In it he discusses the the possible scenarios for how the COVID-19 epidemic originated. No one else has examined all the evidence concerning the appearance of this virus with as much rigor and thoroughness as has Wade. His list…


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Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia Associated With the AstraZeneca Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca (AZ) has been widely used in Europe, but not in the US. Its technical nomenclature is a recombinant adenoviral vector encoding the spike protein antigen of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (ChAdOx1 nCov-19. Not long after the introduction of this vaccine cases of clots associated with low…


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One Flu Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

There are books abut white fragility which get a lot of attention, both pro and con. Someone needs to write a tome entitled Fragility without any modifier. The pandemic now stalking the world is not the one caused by a newish virus, it’s the one due to a fervid worldwide outbreak of the woollies and…


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Brief Medical Updates

Three recent medical reports. The first is from Science. A conference held by Biogen in February of this year was a superspreader event. Phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 in Boston highlights the impact of superspreading events reports the spread of SARS-CoV-2 following an international business conference in at the Marriott Long Wharf on Feb 26-27. By…


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Asymptomatic Subjects Do Not Transmit the Coronavirus

Post-lockdown SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid screening in nearly ten million residents of Wuhan, China is the title of a paper published in Nature Communications. First, a few caveats. The article is from China and its content was obviously scrutinized by a repressive regime before it was allowed publication in a western journal. Second, Nature Communications is…


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Effectiveness of Masks

Those who advise, sometime with the threat of jail time, that everyone use masks as a palliative against the coronavirus are usually the same who proclaim that we should follow the science. Well, when it comes to masks and the current pandemic there isn’t much science. The Annals of Internal Medicine has just published Effectiveness…


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