Effect Measure

Archives for November, 2009

The common cold and influenza

We’ve talked aplenty about how much we still need to understand about influenza. Not just its basic biology but its dynamics. How does it spread over space and time and how existing infection rates affect future infection rates and how each are related to the number of susceptibles in the population. It’s even more than…

Confusion between H1N1 and swine flu

We’re writing this at an altitude of 20,000 feet, being on the road again and except for a few minutes here or there, without access to the internet most of the day. This means a lot of comments will probably go unanswered, so we’ll say what we usually do in circumstances like this: talk amongst…

I don’t know if the rest of the world laughs at the US, but I feel quite sure they at least shake their collective heads when they hear how we lack one of the most important non-pharmaceutical measures against pandemic flu: paid sick leave. Of course only those countries with a policy of paid sick…

Armistice Day, 2009: Bring ‘em Home

This is an exact repeat of a post one year ago today. Except for this preamble about how disgusted we are that we have to repeat it: The Reveres, November 11, 2009, year six of the War in Iraq and year eight of the War in Afghanistan

Nursing homes (Long Term Care Facilities, LTCFs) are a favorite hunting ground for respiratory viruses, including flu. They are open to the general community, where visitors and employees mingle freely with the residents. The residents are usually of an advanced age, have other sicknesses that make them vulnerable and often have less active immune defenses.…

We only just got to the surgical/N95 mask article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). We’ve been traveling and haven’t been able to keep up with what others were saying, but we’re sure it’s been well covered by the usual suspects. So we’ll just add our take here, for what it’s worth.

Acknowledging Obama’s failures

It looks like there’s going to be some kind of health care reform bill, but we’re not celebrating. It’s legislation that could have been important and meaningful and instead is a neutered industry-friendly cup of weak tea with a Draconian anti-choice amendment. That Obama would disappoint us is no surprise. We expected it and predicted…

Richard Dawkins has taken a lot of abuse himself for having the temerity to suggest that some kinds of religious upbringings can be considered abusive even if no physical harm is involved. We know that Catholic children suffered abuse at the hands of priests and nuns, and that some fundamentalist Christians have also engaged in…

I first read Barbara Ehrenreich in 1971 when she wrote The American Health Empire: Power, Profits, and Politics with her (then) husband John Ehrenreich (Health PAC, 1971). She was by then a PhD in cell biology (Rockefeller University) and anti-war activist. We traveled in the same circles and I knew her slightly at the time.…

Swine flu in a cat and other matters

Helen Branswell, the Canadian Press’s extraordinary flu reporter, is one of the few reporters who could have written the article, “Flu dogma being rewritten by a strange virus no one pegged to trigger a pandemic”. She’s been following flu for years and has watched as one thing after another we thought we knew about flu…