Category: Basic Science

Aragorn at the Black Gate of Mordor

After 15 years of SBM: Lessons learned and what the future holds

Last week, Dr. Novella discussed what SBM has accomplished over the last 15 years. I'm going to discuss lessons learned, what has changed, and remaining huge challenges. Unfortunately, after the pandemic, our position in 2022 reminds me even more than ever of Aragorn at the Black Gate of Mordor, but that does not mean things are hopeless.

/ December 26, 2022
Turbo cancer?

Do COVID-19 vaccines cause “turbo cancer”?

Over the last several months, antivaxxers have been claiming that COVID-19 vaccines cause "turbo cancer", cancers (or cancer recurrences) of a particularly aggressive and fast-growing variety diagnosed in younger and younger patients. "Turbo cancer" is not a thing, and the evidence cited is as weak as any antivax "evidence", including anecdotes and misinterpretation of epidemiology.

/ December 19, 2022

Serologies

“You keep using those words: positive serology. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

/ December 15, 2022
The NIH grant process is not The Godfather.

Improving how the NIH decides which grants to fund: Reality vs. conspiracy

Last week, the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a plan to decrease the problem of reputational bias in grant funding. I couldn't help but contrast how hard the NIH tries to use the most rigorous scientific criteria to decide whose grants to fund with the conspiracy theory that Anthony Fauci personally doles out NIH dollars like a mob boss...

/ December 12, 2022

How the “Don’t take this medication with grapefruit juice” warning originated

How a chance discovery by one scientist improved the safety of consumers worldwide.

/ September 29, 2022

The rise and fall of the lab leak hypothesis for the origin of SARS-CoV-2

Two new studies were published last week that strongly support a natural zoonotic origin for COVID-19 centered at the wet market in Wuhan, China. Naturally, lab leak proponents soberly considered this new evidence and thought about changing their minds. Just kidding! They doubled down on the conspiracy mongering, because of course they did.

/ August 1, 2022
Pulse oximeters

COVID-19 puts the spotlight on an unexpected racial disparity in health care

Evidence increasingly suggests that pulse oximeters, the little finger clips that measure blood oxygen, overestimate the blood oxygenation in Black patients. It's a problem that's been discussed a long time that took a pandemic to bring to public consciousness. How can SBM decrease or eliminate such healthcare disparities?

/ July 18, 2022

The Science of Biological Sex

What does the science actually say about biological sex?

/ July 13, 2022

100% Cure Rate Is Hard to Believe

An experimental cancer drug made 100% of rectal cancers disappear in a small trial, allowing subjects to avoid the standard treatment of chemotherapy and surgery . “Some scientists say these kinds of results have never been seen in the history of cancer research.” 100% is hard to believe; the 95% confidence interval was 74 to 100. Whatever the true percentage, if this...

/ July 12, 2022

A Pox on All Our Houses

‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Monkeypox. What’s Monkeypox? It is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What’s in a name? That which we call an orthopoxvirus By any other name would sicken as much; So Monkeypox would, were...

/ June 16, 2022