Harm Reduction

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains one of our biggest killers and an elevated cholesterol one of CVD’s most influential biomarkers. Twenty-five percent of Americans over 40 take one of these medications, $20 billion annually. Are we getting any bang for the buck?
Thinking Aloud is an irregularly-scheduled column that considers how we think about a particular issue. First up: Given all the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, how do you decide how you should behave?
Researchers in the journal Physics of Fluids  just published a visualization of the dispersion of droplets from simulated coughing. It's worth a look.
As we re-open society, science is beginning to return to some of its older memes, like the value of nutritional labeling and taxes. Two new studies by authors, using the same model and data, suggest that fully implementing labeling laws will improve our health and save us money. The same holds for taxing sugary beverages. But if COVID-19 has taught us nothing else, it is that we need to understand and believe the model's assumptions.
Now that the paper published in The Lancet, on the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, has been retracted, we need to look at how eminence continues to trump evidence. When we talk about humans and their behavior, everything is political.
In the first days of the pandemic, our thinking was greatly influenced by models of viral spread and the Imperial College. Also, IHME work comes readily to mind. As we enter months four and five, we have more and more objective evidence from our experience with COVID-19. So the question now is: Should we make policy based upon the models, or the evidence?
SDOH, the social determinants of health, have gotten significant press during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been much discussed in medical and healthcare circles for the last few years. And some feel that like similarly positioned telemedicine, SDOH is about to have its moment.
Last week, The Lancet presented a peer-reviewed paper [1] on hydroxychloroquine, indicating in an observational study that the risk of cardiac arrhythmias outweighed its beneficial use. In addition to the scientific interest, the article was seized upon by those political talking heads that have been concerned with President Trump’s advocacy of what was felt to be an untested and ineffective treatment.
Air pollution and COVID-19 share at least one attribute: their concentrations and your exposure differ inside and outside. Are we better off, indoors or outdoors?
Niche; it can be described as a comfortable, suitable position in life, the equipoise of resources and competition. Having one’s niche, it sounds so comforting; having a special place in the world. COVID-19 may have temporarily disrupted our niche, but climate change could drastically re-alter it.
"A bully pulpit is a conspicuous position that provides an opportunity to speak out and be listened to. This term was coined by United States President Theodore Roosevelt, who referred to his office as a "bully pulpit", by which he meant a terrific platform from which to advocate an agenda. Roosevelt used the word bully as an adjective meaning "superb" or "wonderful", a more common usage at that time." -- Wikipedia
When it comes to unwinding the lockdown, we are faced with the urge to be social once again. And since we are also faced with huge uncertainty, what does "an abundance of caution" actually mean?