Health

Category archives for Health

It seems like every time I take Huxley (now 18 months old) to the doctor, the following things happen: 1) Somebody says “Well, he won’t need to get stuck with any needles for a long while now …. his next scheduled immunization is [insert phrase indicating 'a long time into the future']“; and 2) Huxley…

Why is my poop green?

As a science blogger, I hear a lot of interesting questions, and this is one of the more interesting questions I’ve heard in a while. It is, I’m sure, rather disconcerting to notice that your feces are the color of a corroded penny, and not know why. Or, if your feces are the usual brown…

A Universal, One-Shot Flu Vaccine?

A Better Grip: T Cells Strengthen Our Hand against Influenza Clinical Infectious Diseases, 52 (1), 8-9 DOI: 10.1093/cid/ciq018Flu vaccines are important and useful, but also relatively ineffective compared to many other vaccines. Immunity is imperfect, there are many ‘strains’ of influenza in a given year only some of which are addressed by the available vaccine…

I See Dead People Everywhere

And most of them are boys with their toys

Well, maybe, but probably not. Even though milk allergies in infants and very young toddlers are the most common food allergy, they still occur in only about 2.5 percent of the population in the US and other Western groups. For this reason, I was rather perplexed some months back when I encountered a group of…

Bedbugs (Insects of the Cimicidae family, commonly Cimex lectularius) are annoying, might carry diseases (though this is unclear, so probably nothing importat1, and are apparently becoming more common in the US. Interestingly, there has been very little study done of their genetics. A new study just out in PLoS ONE looks at the bedbug genome…

It is very reasonable for a parent to worry about vaccines. For one thing, most of them involve sticking the baby or child with a sharp object, thus making the little one cry, and it would be abnormal to not have an automatic reaction to that. For another thing, they are drugs, in a sense.…

Don’t forget to get your flu shot

According to the FluView report for the week ending January 1, influenza activity has picked up over the last few weeks in the United States. This increase in activity is typical of the start of flu season. The number of states reporting regional or widespread influenza activity increased. Although influenza activity can rise and fall…

How to make homeopathy work

Homeopathy involves the acquisition of a substance often chosen because of its harmful nature (but sometimes for other reasons) followed by the dilution of that substance, or an extract of it, in water numerous times until the substance itself is essentially gone, but the memory of the substance is retained by the water. This water,…

How social networks predict epidemics

You will recall my post: A genetic cause of rapid degeneration in some Alzheimer’s patients. Well, now it (the topic) is a Ted Video. But before you watch it, I need to take down Nicholas Christakis for saying the dumbest thing I’ve heard all week. No, Nicholas, it is not true in any way whatsoever…