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.
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.
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.
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.
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. …
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?
Data sleuths trolling through the FDA filings for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have uncovered, what they say, is a critical fact — these vaccines may be highly effective after just a single dose. Given that vaccine demand vastly outpaces supply, as well as the concern that more coronavirus variants will emerge if we don’t rapidly squelch the infection rate, calls for a one-shot-only approach abound.
Is that the right move? Well, like all things public health, it’s complicated.
But first let’s reconstruct what the researchers did.
If you dig a bit into Pfizer’s FDA filing, you’ll find this table…
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a treatment for COVID-19 that was safe, effective, cheap, and out of the control of faceless pharma executives beholden more to shareholders than to patients? The dream of such a magic bullet has led to a number of similar claims that a given drug, or supplement in some cases, has dramatic effects against COVID-19. We saw it first with hydroxychloroquine, but similar hype surrounded Vitamin D, ivermectin, melatonin, Vitamin C, and of course Zinc.
No one talked about it much, but public health professionals were all aware of a potential nightmare scenario when COVID vaccinations started up in bulk. No, not a slew of severe adverse events — the clinical trials made it clear that these were fairly safe interventions. The nightmare scenario — discussed in small groups online and on campus, was this: What if the vaccines reduce the severity of COVID-19, but not the transmissibility? …
Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. The quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (that’s still weird for this Connecticut boy to say) is quite possibly the greatest quarterback of all time.
Super Bowl Sunday will mark Brady’s 10th — 10th Superbowl — a record. He already has six superbowl wins, a record. His career combined passing yards, over 91,000 are the highest in the NFL. Same with career touchdowns — 661 of them. He’s also the oldest player to be named Superbowl MVP and the oldest player to win a Superbowl as starting quarterback.
Writing about medicine, science, statistics, and the abuses thereof. Commentator at Medscape. Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale University.