I have a love-hate relationship with ultraprocessed foods — those semi-industrial, nutritionally poor, calorie-dense products that line our grocery store shelves screaming at us with their bright colors and empty promises.
I hate them because, well, don’t they just seem emblematic of all that is wrong with our diets today — easy calories, over-salted, over-sugared, and just sort of unnatural.
But I love them because I have kids and well, they’re easy. I know, I’m a bad parent.
So I was struck by this study, in JAMA Pediatrics, examining the effect of ultra-processed food consumption on body mass index, and…
There’s a meme flying around the interwebs that COVID vaccines might render young people infertile. Taken on its own, this may seem like run-of-the-mill antivax fear-mongering, and it is, but this one seems to have some legs. In fact, a UK survey found that one quarter of young women would decline the vaccine, citing concerns about fertility.
This is actually a sort of old vaccine trope — it’s been trotted out, without any evidence, for the polio vaccine, and the HPV vaccine. And I get why it’s so powerful. Fertility is obviously a huge issue — a basic human function…
This week — we’re going to dive into the lion’s den once again with this study, appearing in PLOS Medicine, failing to show a causal link between Vitamin D levels and COVID-19 incidence or severity.
This week, straight from the, that’s-just-crazy-enough-to-be-true file — a study that suggests that perception of bitter taste can predict whether you’ll catch COVID and how bad your disease will be.
And no — before you go there — this is NOT a study that says that the degree to which you lose taste AFTER you get COVID tells you how sick you’ll get. This study, appearing in JAMA Network Open looked at people before they got the disease.
With mask mandates lifting around the nation, there is a palpable sense of relief — and hope for the future.
The end of the pandemic, long-promised, feels like it is in sight, at least in the US. But what does that mean?
For most of the pandemic, herd immunity — when enough people have been vaccinated, or infected by SARS-CoV-2, that the virus doesn’t have enough viable hosts to continue spreading — was synonymous with the end of the pandemic. Sure, we debated about how many people would need to get vaccinated — 70%, 80%, 85% — but we had…
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…
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…
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…
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.
Writing about medicine, science, statistics, and the abuses thereof. Commentator at Medscape. Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale University.