Medicine

Everything old is new again. For years on this blog, I wrote about HIV denial and the few fringe scientists and journalists who espoused it. I attracted a host of trolls, some of whom repeatedly attacked my credibility, my appearance, even showed up at my academic office. One of the most prolific of these was…

The metabolism of most animals follows a circadian rhythm that differs between the day and night. Mexican cavefish living in constant darkness, lost this circadian rhythm some time ago. In a newly published study in PLOS ONE, researchers compared the metabolic rate of both cave- and surface-dwelling Mexican tetra fish (Astyanax mexicanus). They hypothesized that…

Ever since the latest outbreak of Ebola viral disease in West Africa, there has been panic that’s metastasized to the US, even though the risk of a major outbreak here is very low. Unfortunately, whenever there’s panic over a disease, whatever the disease is, there soon follows quackery in response to that panic, from quacks…

ERVs vs HIV– Maybe a bad idea

For quite a while, now, there has been a connection between Endogenous Retroviruses and HIV. For some unknown reason, some of the young ERVs in humans, the ones that can still code for a protein here and there, are reactivated in HIV+ patients. Scientists have found ERV RNA in HIV+ patient plasma, and they have…

Is NFL football a sport or gladiatorial combat to entertain the masses?

I’m a State Farm customer. I have been for a very long time. To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s inertia or the discounts that State Farm gives me because I’ve been with the company for so long. On the other had, I’ve had no complaints. State Farm’s service has been fine, and on…

Where do we stand on Ebola?

Have a new article up at Slate. Nine months into the worst-ever Ebola outbreak, here’s where we stand.

Quackery has been steadily infiltrating academic medicine for at least two decades now in the form of what was once called “complementary and alternative medicine” but is now more commonly referred to as “integrative medicine.” Of course, as I’ve written many times before, what “integrative medicine” really means is the “integration” of quackery with science-…

That people who work nights have their sleep cycles thrown out of balance has serious consequences but urging a potentially habit-forming, psychoactive drug on an economically stressed, overworked workforce, would seem to be a symptom, at the minimum, of a pharmaceutical industry gone awry. Shouldn’t we instead be figuring out how to reduce the occupational health risks of work schedules?

Regular readers know that I’ve been a big Star Trek geek (more or less) ever since I first discovered reruns of the original Star Trek episodes in the 1970s, having been too young (but not by much!) to have caught the show during its original 1966-1969 run. True, my interest waxed and waned through the…