Deciding Which Risks to Take

No medical treatment is risk-free. Paul Offit’s new book covers the history of innovations that went awry and advises how to balance the risks of new medical innovations with the risk of not treating. It is always risky to use a new treatment before all the evidence is in, but it’s also risky to let

The World’s Most Deadly Animal

Animals can be hazardous to human health. When asked to name the most dangerous animal, many people will give the wrong answer. Sharks have captured the attention of the public, and other animals that kill people may come to mind, like black widow spiders, rabid dogs, and venomous snakes. And don’t forget the human animal:

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

Quienes niegan las vacunas no son estúpidos

[This article is also available in English. Thanks to Pensar for the Spanish translation.] Ahora tenemos varias vacunas para el COVID-19. Han sido probadas adecuadamente. Son seguras y eficaces; y a medida que más personas se han vacunado, las tasas de infección, de hospitalización y de mortalidad han disminuido. La inmunidad colectiva puede estar a

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

New book: Anti-vaxxers: How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement

This book is a handy compendium of everything worth knowing about the anti-vaccine movement and how to challenge the misinformation. Jonathan Berman’s new book Anti-vaxxers: How to Challenge a Misinformed Movement has two goals: to provide a complete picture of the anti-vaccine movement and to provide a counterpoint to some of the misinformation that has been

How You Can Really Boost Your Immune System

As fears of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) spread, alternative medicine was quick to provide false reassurance in the form of misinformation and bogus remedies. A recurring theme in complementary and alternative medicine and a common mantra of those who make questionable health claims has long been “boosting the immune system.” So much so that boosting

No, Everything You Thought You Knew About Disease Is Not Wrong

The authors of this book are not doctors or scientists, but they try to convince readers that science-based medicine gets it all wrong, that germs don’t cause disease, and that drugs and vaccines can’t possibly work. No, the book gets it all wrong. The book What Really Makes You Ill?: Why Everything You Thought You Knew

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