A Germ of an Idea

Along with very talented British illustrator Kevin Howell, I recently published a children’s book called There’s No Such Thing as a Tooth Fairy. (If you’re interested, it’s available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and BookBaby.com.) That book idea had been percolating in my mind on and off for several years. The germination of the idea

Does Vitamin D Prevent Autoimmune Disease?

A new study published in The BMJ suggests vitamin D might prevent autoimmune disease, but there are reasons to be cautious. Up to 75% of American teens and adults are said to be deficient in vitamin D, but there is no agreement on what level constitutes deficiency. Claims for the health benefits of vitamin D supplements abound,

The Facemaker

Lindsey Fitzharris’ book describes the amazing innovations in plastic surgery brought about because of the horrors of World War I. War is hell, but often it leads to advances in medical technique that translate to peacetime. In The Facemaker, Lindsey Fitzharris tells the inspiring story of Harold Gillies, a visionary surgeon who battled to mend the

PreP for HIV/AIDS

Two pills and an injection are FDA-approved to prevent HIV infection. Not enough patients and providers know about them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes guidelines and updates for preventing HIV infection. They call it Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP. People at risk for HIV infection can be “PrEP-ared” to avoid infection. FDA-approved medications for

Is Olive Oil Good Medicine?

A study found that olive oil increased longevity and reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases, but it only showed correlation, not causation. I enjoy the taste of olive oil and use it for cooking. It has been recommended as part of the Mediterranean diet for heart health and as a

TB Or Not TB? Don’t Rely on a Blood Test

TB can’t be diagnosed with a blood test. Tuberculosis has been infecting humans since prehistoric times. It’s still with us. It usually can be cured today with good medical care but is still a serious problem in much of the world, especially among underprivileged socioeconomic groups and some ethnic populations. It kills 1.5 million people

Announcing a New Children’s Book that Promotes Critical Thinking

A new book teaches young children about critical thinking and evidence. It’s not only educational but colorful and funny. Too many adults are like Henry, the little boy in the story who rejects clear evidence and persists in what he wants to believe. Back in 2006 I wrote an article for Skeptical Inquirer titled “Teaching Pigs to Sing“.

A Desperate Choice

A therapy for brain tumors in young children involves deliberately infecting them with a virus. Scary, and is it worth it? In a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine I read about a novel possibility for treating cancer that I had not been aware of. The study’s title was “Oncolytic DNX-2401 Virus for Pediatric Diffuse Intrinsic

100% Cure Rate Is Hard to Believe

An experimental cancer drug made 100% of rectal cancers disappear in a small trial, allowing subjects to avoid the standard treatment of chemotherapy and surgery . “Some scientists say these kinds of results have never been seen in the history of cancer research.” 100% is hard to believe; the 95% confidence interval was 74 to 100. Whatever the true

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