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

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

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

American Academy of Family Physicians Supports “Integrative Medicine”

Is integrative medicine “strong medicine”? I thought I could trust the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) to recommend the best medicine available. My family practice residency followed their philosophy. By learning what the AAFP taught I was able to pass the board certification exam with flying colors. Their flagship journal American Family Physician rates its recommendations

Misogyny in Medicine

Misogyny persists in clinical and academic medicine. We need to be aware of subtle micro aggressions and report abuses, but we mustn’t get carried away into paranoia and conspiracy theories. We should be guided by common sense and moderation in all things. In the June 17, 2021 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine Dr. Erica

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