Effect Measure

Archives for May, 2009

We’ve had occasion to write about the endocrine noise-maker bisphenol-A (BPA) quote a few times (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here for starters). The word about BPA has gotten to consumers and they have fled BPA-containing products like they are swine flu carriers. Meanwhile the scientific evidence is piling up and what…

In the view of New Scientist journalist Amanda Gefter, The Discovery Institute, high priests of Creationism as an allegedly rational enterprise, aren’t really worried about Richard Dawkins. Presumably he’s just a great fund raising device for them. The one who really scares the BeJesus out of them is biologist Francis Collins, the evangelical Christian rumored…

The natural reservoir for most influenza viruses is birds, especially aquatic birds, but some versions of the virus have also become adapted to the host cells of other species, among them sea mammals, horses, dogs and of course pigs and humans (among others). How long is the list? We really don’t know, as there has…

Swine flu: cruise to nowhere

As flu season ramps up in the southern hemisphere, the US, Europe and Asia are keeping an eye on it to see what will happen as swine flu finds new pieces of meat to sate its appetite for human flesh. Sorry about the overheated image. I’ve been reading what’s going on in Australia. Because another…

Swine flu: hospital surveillance data

Influenza surveillance in the US has at least five component parts (depending on how you count it is as many as seven). We discussed the virologic surveillance system in another post. CDC has two surveillance sub-systems that look at hospitalized cases with laboratory confirmed influenza, the New Vaccine Surveillance Network (NVSN) and the Emerging Infections…

Yesterday New York reported two more swine flu deaths (a 41-year-old woman from Queens and a 34-year-old man from Brooklyn). CDC and just about everyone else who knows anything about influenza have been telling people to expect this. The influenza virus kills people all the time. We don’t know exactly how many but we know…

We don’t usually think of power outages as an important cause of poisoning but it is. Electrical power has become such a necessary part of basic needs — think of light at night and refrigeration — that if it is interrupted for more than a few hours people will turn to gasoline powered generators to…

Last week another expedited-review paper appeared in the high profile journal Science, this one summarizing the genetics of the novel H1N1 influenza A virus causing the current outbreak cum pandemic. This time there is quite a bit of interesting material in this paper for non-virologist scientists with a strong interest in knowing what we are…

Memorial Day, 2009

We are now in the seventh Memorial Day of the Iraq War and the eighth of the Afghanistan War. This Priscilla Herdman version of Eric Bogle’s “And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda” appeared here last Memorial Day. Then, we were deeply dismayed by our government’s actions. We remain so today. So here it is again,…

The World Health Organization (WHO) is not the world’s health department or the world’s doctor. It is an intergovernmental agency that is part of the United Nations (UN). The UN, despite what hard right wingnuts might think, is not a world government. The international system is technically anarchic, meaning that there is no governing body…