Guide to the Emergency Department

This book is a handy reference that explains what happens when you visit the Emergency Department and provides tips on how you can handle some problems at home. I was asked to review this new book: Your Inside Guide to the Emergency Department and How to Prevent Having to Go, by Fred Voon, MD, a Canadian

Blue Zones Diet: Speculation Based on Misinformation

The Blue Zones where people live longer may be a myth. The Blue Zone Diet is based on speculation, not solid science. The so-called Blue Zones are geographical locations where people are said to live longer than elsewhere. These include Sardinia, Okinawa, Loma Linda (California), the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, and Icaria, Greece. They

Laser Therapy for Vaginal Rejuvenation

Some doctors are offering laser therapy for “vaginal rejuvenation”. It is no more effective than placebo, can cause harm, and is very expensive. After menopause, the absence of estrogen may cause a number of symptoms. About half of women develop vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA). The lack of estrogen causes thinning and fragility of the vulvar and

So-Called Alternative Medicine for Cancer

Edzard Ernst’s new book on alternative medicine for cancer addresses cancer prevention, treatment, and palliative care. It is an invaluable, accessible guide to the evidence for each modality Edzard Ernst definitely knows what he’s talking about. The world’s first professor of complementary medicine, he headed a research team that conducted dozens of clinical trials, did

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

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