Preventing Malaria: A Glimmer of Hope?

A recent clinical trial tested a new approach to malaria prevention involving monoclonal antibodies.  Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted through mosquito bites. There are 200-400 million new cases each year, with 400,000 annual deaths, plus great morbidity and economic burdens. It has been especially devastating for children in sub-Saharan Africa. Mosquito-control measures, insect repellents,

Get Your Flu Shot!

COVID-19 vaccines are important, but so are flu shots. They are safe, effective, and protect others (the elderly, the immunocompromised, and those too young to get the vaccine). While we are rightfully preoccupied with COVID-19 and the new vaccines, we mustn’t forget about flu shots. While the number of influenza cases has dropped dramatically (probably

Do Surgeons Who Wear N95 Masks Have Lower Oxygen Levels and Make More Mistakes?

An individual who was both an anti-vaxxer and anti-masker claimed that “studies were done that show that surgeons who wore N95 masks for extended periods of time were shown to have decreased oxygen levels and were more prone to mistakes.”  His argument was – “imagine what that would do to kids who were forced to wear masks all

Science Goes Viral

Joe Schwarcz has done it again! His new book is not only packed with good science-based information, but is highly entertaining. Joe Schwarcz’s prolific output continues. His latest book is Science Goes Viral. It’s not actually out yet (I read an advance copy) but can be pre-ordered on the Amazon website. As usual, it offers a cornucopia of

Observational Studies and Experimental Studies

Research studies can be divided into two types: observational studies and experimental studies. Observational studies simply observe the effect of a variable in a population. They can assess the strength of a relationship, for instance between dietary factors and disease. Are vegetarians less likely to develop cancer? Are patients treated with a new diabetes drug

Are Muscle Relaxants an Effective Adjunct for Treating Acute Low Back Pain? Yes and No

The journal American Family Physician left me confused about adding muscle relaxants to analgesics for acute low back pain. One article says it isn’t effective, but another article in the same issue says it is. For 22 years, American Family Physician (the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians) has been publishing an annual review of

Genetic Testing for Selection of Psychotropic Medications

GeneSight is a blood test to determine which neuropsychiatric medications are indicated for an individual based on genetic analysis. The test is expensive and not likely to be helpful for most patients. Patients who suffer from major depression and other neuropsychiatric conditions usually improve with medication, but about half of patients fail to respond to

Lumen’s Information Is Not So Illuminating

Lumen is a handheld device that you can supposedly use to “hack your metabolism”. The science behind it is not convincing. Users are essentially navel-gazing. An introductory video on the website for Lumen presents it as the first device for hacking your metabolism. They make a lot of claims that have not been substantiated by

Green Lipped Mussels for Arthritis

What are green-lipped mussels? My imagination conjures up a SpongeBob SquarePants episode featuring a clam-like creature with green lips, and I can’t help wondering what would happen if they applied red lipstick? Imagination can be fun; but to get back to reality, green-lipped mussels are a shellfish naturally found in New Zealand and now cultivated

Scroll to top