Effect Measure

Archives for April, 2008

If you want to know how far we’ve come since the early days of discussing community preparations for a possible influenza pandemic, take a look at a story at CIDRAP News about a new guidance document prepared by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and its partners. This is described as the…

Why we don’t trust the FBI

In July 2005 when there was a terrorist bombing in the London subway system the FBI, using a perfectly valid and legal subpoena, asked for and obtained documents from North Carolina State University about a possible conspirator. That apparently wasn’t good enough for the FBI. They wanted the agent to get the documents using a…

Pandemic flu no worse than seasonal flu?

Peter Doshi has a bone to pick with CDC . His particular idée fixe is that CDC is cooking the books on their estimates of excess mortality attributable to influenza and he aims to set the record straight. He’s done it before. Doshi is not the kind of critic CDC is used to. He is…

Thanks to a local health officer in Colorado I get word that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun an investigation of claims made by my favorite infomercial quacks, the Kinoki Foot Bad folks (see my howl of pain in the post The TV ad that DRIVES ME CRAZY). Here’s some of the…

Chicken McVat

Because of bird flu I probably spend too much time thinking about the world’s industrially produced poultry. Arguably these chicken factories, with tens of thousands of birds crammed together under the most unsanitary conditions are the perfect bioreactor for virulent bird viruses, like influenza A/H5N1. They exit because chicken meat is a good source of…

Opening up vaccine policy and research

I haven’t posted on the vaccine/autism question for several reasons. It is quite well covered by other science bloggers, it tends to generate more heat than light, and we didn’t have anything new to say. I have on several occasions discussed it with two of the world’s top experts on the health effects of mercury…

US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt, is in Indonesia to discuss matters of mutual interest with the Indonesian government. Topic number one was the Indonesian government’s opt out of the international influenza surveillance system which has been in place for almost 60 years and provides vital information on what flu strains to…

Boingboing had a short notice about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (“FARS”), plugging it as an all purpose dicing and slicing source for information on motor vehicle related deaths in the US. You can make your own custom queries to find out about auto fatalities in your own county.…

I’m a supporter of mathematical modeling as another way to get a handle on what might happen in an influenza pandemic. But a recent paper by the group at London’s Imperial College, published in Nature, shows what can happen when modelers allow their work to bear more weight than it can sustain. When a prestigious…

Since we posted here less than a week ago on a recent paper authored by Chinese and US scientists in The Lancet giving scientific details confirming what most people had already assumed was a person to person transmission of H5N1 between a father and son, it was with considerable surprise we read the headline of…