Harm Reduction

In the rush to legalize marijuana for recreational use, driven by changing opinion and the increasing need for tax revenues, should we consider weed’s carbon footprint?
Does our need for speed influence what we see and hear in the media? Short answer yes. And for Science, with a capital S, that may be not such a good thing.
Race is a social construct; until we consider healthcare and research, where it is an increasingly outdated biomarker. Before treatment disparities get worse, we need to have a discussion. Let’s get started.
This week, Jay Barber, one of our readers wrote to us asking about an article he had seen in The Intercept regarding the EPA ignoring a possible cancer risk. Luckily we have two toxicologists among our Board of Scientific Advisors, one of who was able to offer a critique.
Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are well-known for the misinformation they spread, not as content providers – but as platforms. But Amazon? How could the superstore behemoth sow the same problematic information? For the answer, one only has to look to its algorithm.
As the news cycle brings us more COVID-19 variants and reports of the efficacy of the new vaccines by J&J, Novavax, and AstraZeneca, you have to wonder which vaccine is best and why.
For those who want to short version: the more things change, the more they stay the same – especially the percentages. Here are some quick details.
Good, better, and best. We seem to be better, but a long way from best.
Ah, for the old times, when our biggest fear was seasonal flu. Roughly 80% of healthcare workers get vaccinated, more the docs and nurses, less the aides. Where it is required, the vaccination rate rises to 90%. [1] Those not getting vaccinated are doing harm, as a new study shows.
One concern about administering the COVID-19 vaccine is anaphylactic reactions. A new report on this topic should give us all some relief.
On Nov. 25, 2020, the Supreme Court decided Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Andrew Cuomo [1] in a 5-4 ruling. That decision struck down Gov. Cuomo's executive order limiting to ten the number of individuals who could gather in places of worship in hard-hit “red zones.”  As COVID's US toll continues to increase and vaccination efforts fumble, we can expect frustrated governors and public health officials to seek to enforce a broader panoply of lockdown orders. The Diocese case teaches a few lessons to assure new orders don’t trespass on the new-found Religious devotion of the Supreme Court.
While most medical reports on artificial intelligence algorithms note how well they perform against clinical judgment, lawyers focus on the prize. Who is liable for the bad outcome, the physician or the algorithm? It makes a difference in trying to get money from deep or deeper pockets.