A new study in mice shows a connection between gut microbiome and willingness to exercise. Could this discovery lead to improved motivation to exercise in humans? Possibly, but we don’t yet know if humans share the same pathway. A study from the University of Pennsylvania, published in Nature on December 14, 2022 reported… read more "Motivation to Exercise in Mice"
The Polypill Comes of Age
The polypill is effective for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. By combining drugs in a single pill, it improves convenience and compliance. The polypill, not polypharmacy. Polypharmacy is the use of multiple medications by a single patient, which is sometimes appropriate and necessary, but can be ill-advised and result in… read more "The Polypill Comes of Age"
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… read more "Does Vitamin D Prevent Autoimmune Disease?"
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… read more "100% Cure Rate Is Hard to Believe"
Pain Reprocessing Therapy
In a trial of Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT), 2/3 of patients with chronic low back pain reported significant pain relief with psychotherapy that helped them reconceptualize the pain as nondangerous. Impressive if true, but flaws in research design make the study untrustworthy. I don’t usually get my medical information from Reader’s… read more "Pain Reprocessing Therapy"
Two New Promising COVID-19 Drugs – Analysis and Questions
[Este artículo está disponible en español. La traducción al español apareció por primera vez en la revista Pensar.] The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over yet. Despite the success of vaccines, people continue to get the disease. Most cases are in the unvaccinated, but even those who have been fully vaccinated can have… read more "Two New Promising COVID-19 Drugs – Analysis and Questions"
Dos nuevos fármacos prometedores contra el COVID-19: análisis y preguntas
[This article is also available in English. Thanks to Pensar for the Spanish translation.] La pandemia del COVID-19 aún no ha terminado. A pesar del éxito de las vacunas, las personas continúan contrayendo la enfermedad. La mayoría de los casos corresponden a personas no vacunadas, pero incluso aquellas que han… read more "Dos nuevos fármacos prometedores contra el COVID-19: análisis y preguntas"
Virtual Reality Therapy
On November 16, 2021 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had authorized marketing of EaseVRx, which they described as “a prescription-use immersive virtual reality (VR) system that uses cognitive behavioral therapy and other behavioral methods to help with pain reduction in patients 18 years of age and… read more "Virtual Reality Therapy"
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… read more "Laser Therapy for Vaginal Rejuvenation"
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… read more "Preventing Malaria: A Glimmer of Hope?"