News and Views

1. Physics: Man hits 88 MPH in a DeLorean, gets a speeding ticket rather than a trip to 1955

Spencer White bought a 1982 DeLorean so he did what everyone wants to do ever since the 1985 movie “Back to The Future” - he cranked it up to 88 MPH. In the movie, bananas science related to that speed and a flux capacitor (which to me looked just like the Oscillation Overthruster from Buckaroo Banzai: Across The 8th Dimension) caused a trip 30 years back in time. 

It was less exciting, and more expensive, in 2017. A California Highway Patrol officer pulled him over and asked if he knew how fast he was going. White knew exactly how fast he was going, and...

Pfizer was recently in the news over ‘their’ shortage of Bicillin and the NY Times reports that Pfizer is also responsible for the lack of another crucial medication, sodium bicarbonate – the ubiquitous kitchen product that most of us use either to bake or to keep our refrigerators smelling fresh. Shortages of pharmaceuticals is a persistent problem. As a physician, I have been asked to postponed elective care while drugs in short supply were prioritized to more critical patients and I have had that experience working in academic medical centers and small rural...

My colleague has written about the latest offering from the American Institute for Cancer Research(AICR), New Report: Just One Alcoholic Drink a Day Increases Breast Cancer Risk. I will leave it in her capable hands to discuss the problem with that headline, but I did want to note in passing some information deep within the report itself. Well, a report may be the wrong word, it is a meta-analysis by their experts on meta-analysis papers...

"Follow the money!" activists shout. The money trail, according to this logic, always leads to lies and deception.

This puerile fallacy, argumentum ad aurum, is just a thinly disguised ad hominem attack commonly used against scientists. Instead of criticizing the quality or conclusions of the research, activists instead assault the integrity of the scientist.

For certain, money can be a corrupting influence. That's why journals require scientists to disclose financial ties to industry. But money isn't the only source of corruption. Indeed, anything that causes a person to reject evidence-based science should be considered a...

Soliris is a pharmaceutical used to treat an orphan disease, atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome (aHUS). An orphan disease by definition effects 200,000 people or less in the United States. aHUS is a genetic disease, where blood elements (cells and platelets) are destroyed by the immune system, and their debris interferes with kidney function resulting in high blood pressure and ultimately renal failure. Before 2011 treatment consisted of transfusions to replace the blood elements lost, use of blood pressure medications to control hypertension and as necessary plasmapheresis. Plasmapheresis clears the blood of the debris that injures the kidney. Plasmapheresis, like dialysis, involves being ‘hooked...

As part of the newly published proposed budget are significant cuts to research and the prime target are indirect expenses, what seems to be a slush fund to some and a critical financial asset to others.

“I was struck by one thing at NIH,” Price said, “and that is that about 30 percent of the grant money that goes out is used for indirect expenses, which as you know means that that money goes for something other than the research that’s being done.” [1]

Widely cited in this discussion are figures noting indirect cost payments of 27.9% ($6.6 billion out of $23.5 billion) or Johns Hopkins receiving $156 million in indirect costs associated with $1....

Hospital acquired infections (HAI) are a frequent and costly problem. Prior estimates indicated that about 4% of patients admitted to the hospital develop new infections after admission (predominantly pneumonia, surgical site, gastrointestinal, urinary or blood borne). The CDC, as well as the entire medical community, has made several efforts to reduce the incidence of this problem including hand washing, checklists and standard approaches to invasive procedures associated with HAI and understanding factors within the hospital environment that facilitate or mitigate HAIs. In fact, the CDC gathered experts together in 2015 to consider

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I was at a meeting with an agriculture executive and he handed me a print-off from the Whole Foods website, their Organic landing page. A few things were highlighted. "Can that be right?" he asked.

I chuckled at the question. I was pretty confident that if I had the agriculture knowledge in his brain I could donate mine to research but that was his modest way of introducing something that he knows but I may not have been aware of, yet would agree is completely bananas. And I did.

"There is so much wrong with this," I remember thinking as I looked at the Whole Foods page, but writing is no longer my real job. We are opening an office in D.C., we have grown in leaps and bounds in the last year, and if you...

The United States is a great place to get generic drugs. Our prices are among the lowest in the developed world because Costco, Kmart, Safeway, Target, Walmart, and many other supermarkets sell hundreds of generic drugs for $10 to $20 for a 3-month supply. But for brand-name medicine, you need to go outside the U.S. for real savings—which an estimated 5 million Americans do each year.

Drug prices are far higher in the United States than anywhere else. Prescription Justice, a non-profit group dedicated to tackling the crisis of high drug prices, has reported that about 45 million Americans did not fill a prescription due to the cost last year. The factors that contribute to the high prices include barriers to personal importation and the inability of the Medicare program to...

A year ago, Robert De Niro pulled the highly controversial anti-vaccine movie ‘VAXXED: From Cover Up To Controversy’ from the Tribeca film festival held in NYC.

It was a wise decision that was inspired by the outrage of the other filmmakers involved in the festival and applauded by the scientific community.  

However, what happened next was disheartening.

Almost immediately following the announcement to exclude the film, De Niro publicly questioned the decision and, in doing so, lent support to the fraudulent and dangerous anti-vaccine movement. As a response, I wrote a letter to De Niro, offering to sit down and discuss the abundance of science behind herd immunity and the lack...