Effect Measure

Archives for October, 2007

European bird flu: an open book?

Two months ago Germany reported H5N1 in asymptomatic ducks and geese. Now the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization is saying this may be a sign that there is already a reservoir of hidden infection in healthy domestic birds in Europe. The FAO points to a huge popuation of chicken and waterfowl in the Black Sea…

Gold salts for arthritis: how do they work?

Gold salts have been used for a long time to treat arthritis, although how it worked or more pertinently, if it worked, was unclear. Injecting gold salts for inflamed and swollen rheumatic joints took weeks to work and often had nasty side effects: rashes, mouth ulcers, impaired kidney function and sometimes bone marrow depression. My…

The “experts” have spoken to WHO and WHO has spoken to us: because of the march of science, there’s been a large upswing in the estimates of how much vaccine the world could produce in a pandemic — if such a vaccine existed and there was a way to deliver it. But if there was…

White House “eviscerates” CDC testimony

CDC Director Julie Gerberding’s draft testimony to be presented before a Senate committee was “eviscerated” by the Office of Management and Budget according to an AP story by Josef Hebert (hat tip MF). The missing pieces related to the potential health impacts of climate change:

There’s a line forming for the pandemic vaccine that doesn’t yet exist. Sort of like a new Harry Potter book except it’s not first come first served. Like a sinking ship, it’s (pregnant) women and children first — or among the first. The deployed military? Police, I understand. But deployed military? They come ahead of…

Stonewalling at the ACS

Two weeks ago we reported getting an anonymous email from within the fetid bowels of the American Chemical Society. We weren’t the only ones. Apparently it was also sent to college librarians, ACS administrators and a science writing listserv. Now it is making its way onto more conventional media (more conventional than this blog, anyway;…

Listening to the earache vaccine

If you have or have had small children you may be all too familiar with earaches. When our kids were small we felt as if we were single-handedly supporting the amoxicillin makers. A major cause of middle ear infection is the organism Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae), which sometimes it invades other tissues and causes bacterial…

The Wilhelm Scream

I like movies but I’m not a film buff. I have no reason why I find cinema’s most famous scream interesting. But I do: In case you haven’t had enough, here’s a Wilhelm scream compilation: Just because.

West Nile complications: bad luck?

Human infection with West Nile Virus (WNV) first made its appearance in the US in 1999 in, of all places, Queens, New York. Humans are an incidental host of the virus which circulates in small land based birds, passing between them via mosquitoes. It’s hard to find a place to bite a bird if you…

The lab chief

The biggest breakthrough in the treatment of tuberculosis was discovery of the antibiotic, streptomycin. It was isolated on October 19, 1943 by a graduate student, Albert Schatz, working in the laboratory of Selman Waksman. Waksman got the Nobel Prize for this in 1952. Schatz got the shaft. He sued Waksman and Rutgers, to whom he…