In the coronavirus era, pregnant women represent a unique cohort in the hospital. They can have florid COVID-19 symptoms, and deaths have been reported. But of course, they may also be in the hospital just to deliver a baby, and can have COVID detected essentially incidentally.
Early on in the pandemic, a friend of mine — anesthesiologist in New York City — told me how overwhelmed he was with COVID cases. Not in the ICU — he was working in the maternity ward. Ordinary pregnancies became complicated — c-sections spiked — and outcomes worsened. …
Well… it’s 2021. We made it.
But forgive me if I say it doesn’t exactly feel like it. The challenges of 2020 have chased us right into the New Year.
Jason Santosuosso has been in biotech for decades. He has founded and sold companies in that space. So he knew what he was getting into when he volunteered to be part of Pfizer’s phase 3 coronavirus vaccine trial.
Whether you’re an essential worker or not, most of us have spent a lot more time at home this past year than we ever have before, and — let’s face it — there’s not that much to do there. We made our sourdough bread, we binge-watched Queen’s Gambit, but anecdotally — Americans have been doing something else a lot more since they’ve been stuck at home — drinking.
And a new study from the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse suggests this is more than just anecdote. …
This week — we consider a question that has plagued humankind for ages: why am I spending my time running clinical trials of digital health technologies when I could be smoking people up in Denmark and setting them on the highway to see how straight they drive?
I have been beaten to the punch, unfortunately, by this study which is really an elegant approach to quantifying how much driving is impaired by marijuana.
If you got called by a friend or family member asking what advice you have for staying safe while driving drunk, what would you say to them? Would you talk about wearing a seatbelt, or might you tell them to throw their keys in the nearest river?
As the holidays loom and the coronavirus pandemic surges, more and more health professionals are being asked a version of this question — how can I stay safe while still celebrating a large family thanksgiving?
How should we respond to that? There’s a good argument, as pointed out by Vinay Prasad that demanding abstinence hasn’t worked for other health conditions, why should we expect it to work now? …
When we look back on 2020, what will we call it? The year of the pandemic? The year of democracy? From a medical publishing standpoint it’s clear — 2020 is the year of the preprint.
Preprints. Medical manuscripts published for all to see, prior to peer review.
The promise of preprint servers is nothing less than the democratization of medical science. Free, open publishing so researchers and readers of research can come together and make science better. But like all good ideas, it’s about the execution.
While preprint servers like Arxiv have been running for decades servicing the math and physics community, the medical research world has only more recently embraced biorxiv — often for basic science papers — and the newcomer to the scene MedRxiv — for the clinical sciences. …
How much money did your doctor make from industry last year?
If they’re like me, that answer is $0 but it’s not exactly uncommon for docs to get something of value from industry. Of around 900,000 physicians in the US, about 400,000–45% — received a payment from a pharmaceutical or device manufacturer last year.
We know this because of the Open Payments system, established by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services in 2013 which requires disclosure of all non-research payments, whether in the form of cash, or lunches, or trips to exotic locales to physicians from these industries.
So… are you going to get it? The COVID vaccine, I mean. It has been said many times before, but it bears repeating. The fact that we are even talking about mass vaccination for a disease that was unknown a year ago is mind-blowing. Vaccine development takes decades. But through really unprecedented work here we are.
Of course, the speed that we got here has led to some uncertainty. Recent surveys suggest that somewhere between 50 to 70% of US adults said they will get a COVID vaccine when it is developed.
That may not be enough to squelch the pandemic. The vaunted “herd immunity” threshold for SARS-CoV-2 suggests we’ll need about 70% of the population to be vaccinated, or, you know, become infected naturally. But importantly, characteristics of the vaccine may affect uptake. It turns out this matters a lot, as this study, appearing in JAMA Network Open shows us. …
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Vitamin D.
So it’s no surprise, in the COVID-era, that Vitamin D comes up again. I was intrigued when Dr. Anthony Fauci, a sober and responsible voice if ever there was one during this pandemic reported his personal use of Vitamin D. Vitamin D was also part of the presidential cocktail that Trump received during his stay at Walter Reed.
I decided to dig into the data here, but before we do I want to tell you why I am inherently skeptical of Vitamin D studies. …