Effect Measure

Archives for October, 2009

Statins for influenza are in the news again, this time because of a paper given at the Annual Meeting of the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA). We’ll get to it in a moment, but first a little background.

Swine flu: How bad was the first wave?

One frequently hears claims that the current swine flu pandemic has been exaggerated because there are “only” 1000 or so deaths, while seasonal flu is estimated to contribute to tens of thousands of deaths a year. There are two reasons why this is not an apt comparison. We’ve discussed both here fairly often. The first…

One of the by-products of the brouhaha (here, here) over The Atlantic article on vaccines was some interesting issues raised by the way the Knight Science Journalism Tracker handled it (here, here). If you aren’t familiar with KSJ Tracker, it’s a site that does “peer review” of science journalism. It’s goal “is to provide a…

Yuck! This coffee tastes like poison!

Medical institutions in the US northeast have always been competitive, and Harvard has always been toward the top of the list in that category. I don’t mean just competitive to get into. I mean competitive, period. I went to another big research medical school in the northeast in the sixties and we used to joke…

The Atlantic article: sur rebuttal

On Saturday we posted our take on The Atlantic magazine article by Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer. It’s a major story in the November issue, a banner across the top of the cover page reading: Swine flu: Does the vaccine really work? We tried to ignore it. People kept asking us to comment on it,…

CDC is again warning parents not to send your children to a swine flu party. The idea is to provide them with immunity, like used to be done with chickenpox parties. It’s pretty hard to believe this is a live issue and CDC admits it doesn’t have evidence that any have actually occurred. When it…

Franken-sense: it’s about time

Al Franken may have made his name as a comedian on Saturday Night Live, but as a Senator (D-MN) he’s a force to reckon with. In this clip from hearings this week he nails a witness from the right wing Hudson Institute pimping for the health care industry. Her claim? That health care reform would…

R. Crumb has an illustrated version of the Book of Genesis out in graphic novel format. It’s gotten rave reviews from both the skeptic and non-skeptic sides of the house. Consider this, from Greta Christina at Alternet: Crumb’s Genesis emphasizes biblical accuracy — he’s a non-believer, but he has a deep respect for the book’s…

I keep getting asked about the Atlantic Magazine article, Does the Vaccine Matter? by Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, two reporters whose particular bias is that we as a nation are “over treated.” As a generalization that’s probably true, and finding examples isn’t hard. Unfortunately by taking as their main example flu vaccine during a…

While we don’t yet know with certainty the relative contributions of the three most likely modes of transmission for influenza (large droplets, small aerosols of viral laden material that remain suspended in the air for hours or days, inanimate objects like door knobs or desk tops), it is certain that if you are in the…