Neuron Culture

Archives for October, 2009

Flu roundup cont’d

Lots of flu news out there. Here’s my short list for the day: Helen Branswell reports that WHO is unpersuaded by the unpublished paper showing seasonal flu vaccine may raise chance of getting swine flu. (Anomalies are usually anomalies.) Canada has been thrown into quite a bit of confusion by this report, with some provinces…

On the reading table lately

Been a while, so these cover a span of reading. I’m in the midst of my friend Adrienne Mayor’s The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy, and can report that Mr. M is quite a poisonous but complicated handful — a dark and deadly echo of his hero and model,…

Notables from the last 24: Over at Gene Expression, Razib casts a skeptical eye on a study of the neuroanatomical variability of religiosity. The brain areas identified in this and the parallel fMRI studies are not unique to processing religion [the study states], but play major roles in social cognition. This implies that religious beliefs…

You have to move fast these days to keep up with the flu. Or outrun it. A quick roundup from the last 24: From the invaluable H5N1: Mexico: 4,000 H1N1 cases in 7 days Spain: 31,322 cases and 6 deaths in one week US: 15 states could run out of hospital beds Scotland sees it…

September 30, 2009 Canada: “An epidemic of confusion” Via the Globe and Mail, Caroline Alphonso writes: Provincial flu strategies all over the map. Excerpt: Two provinces and a territory have split ranks with the rest of Canada’s health authorities in their fall immunization plans, sowing public confusion and raising questions of whether Canadians are being offered…

Last week the Times ran a story by Andrew Pollack, Benefit and Doubt in Vaccine Additive, that covered some of the ground I trod in my Slate story, “To Boost or Not to Boost: The United States’ swine flu vaccines will leave millions worldwide unprotected. Pollack also had the room to explore something I lacked…

As Congress debates healthcare reform, we often hear that hopes for comprehensive reform — fundamental changes, like a public plan or a radical, Netherlands-like overhaul of regulation — simply aren’t realistic. I hope to explore later why this seems so to those casting the votes. In the meantime, a couple reports make an interesting juxtaposition: