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,

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

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

A Blood Test for Fibromyalgia?

The FM/a test is advertised as a definitive test to diagnose fibromyalgia. It isn’t definitive. It is expensive. It has not been shown to change patient outcomes. I was surprised to learn that there is a blood test to diagnose fibromyalgia, the FM/a test. Is it accurate? Is it useful? Fibromyalgia is still a disputed

Eye Drops for Dry Eyes

I could have chosen a prescription eye drop for my dry eyes. I decided not to. Here’s why. Dry eyes can have many causes: disease, medications, environmental irritants, or just age. Tear production tends to decrease as we get older. My husband (age 80) and I (age 75) were both diagnosed with dry eyes by

Does Public Water Fluoridation Make Children Less Intelligent?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. In a recent statement, the American Dental Association (ADA) stressed that it is “committed to fluoridation of public water supplies as the single most effective public health measure to help prevent tooth decay” and pointed out that

A New Medication to Combat Obesity

New study in The New England Journal of Medicine finds impressive evidence that weekly semaglutide injections produce clinically significant weight loss as well as many other benefits, approaching the improvements seen with weight loss surgery. Not a definitive answer to obesity, but a very encouraging step in the right direction. Science works. Science works. The rapid development

Hepatitis C Vaccine Fails Testing

A vaccine regimen intended to prevent chronic HCV infection was tested in a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. It failed. The incidence of chronic HCV infection was the same in the vaccinated group as in the placebo group. Hepatitis C is a virus that has infected millions of people worldwide. In 75-85% of cases, the infection becomes

‘Clinically Tested’—What Does That Mean?

They used to call useless treatments “snake oil.” We don’t hear that term anymore; now they may be called “dietary supplements” or “natural remedies.” A dietary supplement may contain a single herb or a combination of several ingredients. The ads frequently say they have been “clinically tested” or “clinically proven.” Do you believe that? I

Statin Side Effects Revisited

Patients on statins frequently report muscle pain and other side effects, but controlled studies have shown side effects are not more frequent than with placebo. Why this discrepancy? A new study sheds some light. His muscles hurt. Is it from statins or some other cause? Something strange is going on. People who take statins frequently

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