Archives for January, 2008

As I noted last week, Shelley mentioned a topic that’s been brought up here a few times in the comments section: alternative theories for causes of the Black Plague (the devastating plague that ravaged Europe beginning in ~1347 and eventually killed more than a third of the population). Though the bacterium Yersinia pestis is almost…

Did Yersinia pestis really cause Black Plague? Part 1: Objections to Y. pestis causation Did Yersinia pestis really cause Black Plague? Part 2: Examination of the criticisms Did Yersinia pestis really cause Black Plague? Part 3: Paleomicrobiology and the detection of Y. pestis in corpses Did Yersinia pestis really cause Black Plague? Part 4: Plague…

Over at Evolgen, RPM notes an interesting study in PNAS, looking at antibiotic use and how it serves to drive the emergence and maintenance of antibiotic-resistant strains. The current paradigm for antibiotic use is to prescribe relatively high doses of drugs for a few days to a few weeks (or months, in the case of…

Where did syphilis come from?

Some infectious agents, it seems, have been with us since the rise of humanity. Bacteria like E. coli or salmonella don’t appear to have one moment enshrined in history where they first appeared on the scene. They’ve probably long been with us, causing disease sporadically but not spectacularly. Other agents, however, seem to make their…

Medblog awards open for voting

Every year, the folks over at Medgadget.com host the Medical Weblog Awards. I’ve been nominated a few times, and even did OK in the best new blog category a few years back. This year, I’m apparently nominated in the Best Clinical Weblog category–which, honestly, I don’t think I fit into. So I won’t ask for…

Darwin Day 2008 in Iowa City

Darwin Day is fast approaching, and we’ll be celebrating with 2 and a half days’ worth of festivities here in Iowa next month. We’ll kick off Thursday night, February 14th, with Dr. Massimo Pigliucci reading from his latest book at Live from Prairie Lights, with drinks and snacks following at a location TBA. Friday February…

Heh

This would be funnier if people didn’t actually believe it… (via Orac).

Retrospectacle does plague

I’ll have new posts up here next week, but meanwhile, over at Retrospectacle, Shelley’s made this week plague week. She introduces the topic here, and next dishes about plague fashion. Also in the comments, it’s asked: I recently heard that there is some doubt now that the Black Death may not have been bubonic plague.…

Aetiology–live from LA

No, I’ve not dropped off the face of the earth. I’m currently here in rainy Los Angeles for a meeting with the WIRED SCIENCE/Correlations people, where I met up with fellow Correlations bloggers Clifford Johnson, Michael Tobis, and Sheril Kirshenbaum, as well as WIRED SCIENCE producer Damon Gambuto and a number of other folks who…