Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) used to be a death sentence. Now, gene therapy is helping some of these kids lead normal lives.


The Algorithm exploits multiple inherent cognitive biases, and it is contributing to the COVID infodemic.

Medical misinformation is nothing new, but I think we can all agree that the coronavirus pandemic has added fuel to the misinformation fire. For the first time in modern memory, we have a medical issue that literally affects everyone, and it’s a particularly scary one — emerging out of nowhere, with a bizarre range of effects from asymptomatic illness to particularly disturbing deaths, to bizarre long-haul symptoms.

But there’s another culprit, besides COVID-19 itself that has led to this so-called infodemic — that’s social media.

But how? How exactly does social media lead us to bad inference? I don’t have…


Those little humans who are not (yet) eligible for a coronavirus vaccine may prolong the pandemic.

As we face a new struggle to get covid-19 vaccination rates up in this country, we need to remember that there is a group of people with virtually zero vaccine uptake. This group often congregates together in indoor gatherings, coming into close physical contact for extended periods. Fully 24% of Americans are part of this group.

We call them children.

And, as I am putting this together, there is currently no FDA authorized vaccine for kids.

Might that population of children form the reservoir for subsequent COVID outbreaks? While data is pretty clear that safe school re-openings don’t drive community…


A new study refutes prior research linking epidurals with autism spectrum disorder.

You would be hard-pressed to think of a medical innovation that has alleviated more human suffering than epidural analgesia.

Epidurals changed the process of childbirth from what, for many women, was an agonizing, if rewarding experience to one that was, well, manageable and rewarding. In the US, 73% percent of births are to women who have received an epidural. It is not only a common practice, it is the norm.

That epidurals might increase the risk of autism in a child, as reported in an October study in JAMA Pediatrics out of the Kaiser health system, casts a pall over…


There is an ethical limit somewhere. We need to figure out where the line is ASAP.

It’s a tale as old as civilization, and probably older. The human-animal chimera. From the minotaur of King Minos, to the Fly of Jeff Goldblum, we are simultaneously fascinated and horrified at the possibility of bridging the gap between humankind and wild beasts.

To be fair, science fiction has outpaced science fact in this regard. But human-animal chimeras have been created. …


In 2020, the number of kids who lost a parent was 20% higher than normal.

Welcome to Impact Factor, your weekly dose of commentary on a new medical study. I’m Dr. F. Perry Wilson of the Yale School of Medicine.

We have passed through a year of bereavement, a year of grief. The latest numbers, published in a research letter in JAMA found that the excess mortality in the United States from March 1st, 2020 to January 2, 2021 totaled 522,368 individuals. Deaths were 22% higher than expected over that period — the typical yearly variance is about 2% in either direction.

Each of those deaths ripple through the lives of those left behind. A…


A new study suggests the erectile dysfunction drugs may lengthen more than… well…

Alright, let’s get something out of the way. This week, we’re talking about medications for erectile dysfunction and long-term mortality, thanks to this study, appearing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.


It just might not be enough to matter.

Low back pain. If you have it, you know what a burden it can be. If you have patients with it, you know how frustrating it can be to try to treat. The laundry list of therapies is extensive: NSAIDs, physical therapy, muscle relaxants, and of course opioids are all frequently trotted out with limited success. It’s no surprise then that some patients turn to osteopathic manipulation to find relief.

Now, osteopathic manipulation is not chiropracty — we’re not talking back cracking here. …


But there’s fake and there’s FAKE.

What would you say if I told you that a new study shows that individuals with acute kidney injury due to COVID-19 recover faster than those with AKI due to other causes? What if I told you that a new study shows that a quartz crystal placed on your bedside table reduces transmission of COVID-19 by 50%?

These statements are both false, by the way, but I hope you realize they are not false in quite the same way. …


It’s time to start defining our criteria for victory over COVID-19.

After what we’ve all been through, it sounds almost crazy to talk about — but we really should start thinking about what we would call “victory” in the fight against coronavirus.

Lately, there have been a slew of think-pieces about when life will get back to normal, but that’s not really what I want to talk about. I’m thinking farther into the future, 5-years, 10-years. What are the potential scenarios? And what can we honestly say means we won?

F. Perry Wilson, MD MSCE

Writing about medicine, science, statistics, and the abuses thereof. Commentator at Medscape. Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale University.

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