News and Views

Let the games begin. With an announcement just made by Intermountain Health, it appears the organization will be leading a multi-system collaborative effort, which controls 450 U.S. hospitals, in making a strategic play in the generic drug market. The stated goal: to reduce drug shortages and lower prices.

Before we delve further into this seemingly disruptive move, a little background is necessary. As of late, the pharmaceutical industry has been much maligned in a very high profile way, in particular throughout the presidential election as a target of blame for rising health care costs and continuing to reach a national stage...

When an infectious agent (viruses, primarily) transfer from an animal host to humans, it's referred to ask a spillover event. Most of the time, it occurs when there are close interactions between those two groups (ie. people sleeping in a pen where pigs sleep) and it can be disastrous. 

For example, human immunodeficieny syndrome (HIV) spilled over from non-human primates in West Africa to humans through bushmeat handling. More frequent occurrences are spillovers from bats to humans.

Sometimes, the spillover is an isolated case - a child being bitten by a bat. Sometimes, it sparks a worldwide health crisis as seen in the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a lesser known virus that is ...

One of the biggest problems of our hyperpartisan culture is that everything has been turned into a morbid game show.

Gone are the days when politicians and the media acted in the best interest of the American people. Instead, we have manufactured controversy and faux outrage over the most mundane of events. Instead of world news, we get 24/7 coverage of the President's Twitter feed. And instead of serious analysis, we get programming that resembles some horrifying merger of Family Feud, Hunger Games, and Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Consider CNN's coverage of the government shutdown. They are masters at...

It turns out you can explain the spread of rioting as well as fake news by understanding the spread of a communicable disease, such as the flu. Both actions and ideas spread like a virus; you need both an infectious idea and a receptive audience. A recent article in Scientific Reports applies that metaphorical thinking and some mathematical formulations to the 2005 riots in France.

The metaphor comes from an epidemiologic model called SIR, for "susceptible, infected and recovered." It describes the interaction of the infected with the susceptible. For this article, let's ignore the recovered because rioters infrequently return for more rioting and we rarely change our opinions back to what we once believed.

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Three people walk into a bar. They all pick up a strain of Streptococcus. Person A has no symptoms. Person B is laid up for a week in bed with Strep throat. And, person C ends up in the ICU. How? 

When studying "host-pathogen" interactions, or how bacteria and humans interact, one big question is how much of the infection is caused by the characteristics of the "host" and how much is due to the "pathogen?" 

Many times, researchers look to the differences between the hosts. So, if two people exhibit large differences in how an infection takes hold in their bodies - that the difference must lie between the two of you.

However, new research from the Fischetti Lab at The Rockefeller University sought the answer by looking at the other player - the bacteria that are ...

When I watched the questioning by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta of White House physician Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson during the marathon press conference over the results of President Trump’s first periodic medical exam in office, all that came to mind was the puffing of peacock feathers.

I can’t begin to know what is in Dr. Gupta’s heart or head, so I would never proclaim he is an arrogant person. But, his tone and line of questioning came across so and my lasting impression was an intent to undermine and engage in a game of semantics.

It’s funny because I started my career in medicine thinking I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. In medical school, I did research in deep brain stimulation in those with Parkinson’s and Essential Tremor while heavily focusing my electives in the field. I...

Much buzz has surrounded President Trump's "Fake News Awards." Given that part of our mission is debunking pseudoscience and bogus health claims, we felt obliged to offer our own Fake News Award ... for junk science.

Websites like Food Babe, Mercola, InfoWars, and Natural News are perennial contenders. But giving them the award is too easy and predictable. Anyone with a halfway decent frontal lobe knows that these websites are pure garbage.

So, the Fake News Award for Science should go to a media outlet that has credibility (in some people's eyes, anyway), yet consistently gets the science wrong, likely for ideological reasons. With those criteria in...

President Donald Trump is fit for duty - medically, mentally, cognitively, psychologically, emotionally, physically and otherwise. In quite frankly the most transparent briefing on presidential health in recent memory, White House physician Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson confirmed this at a press conference yesterday whose Q&A portion lasted nearly an hour when he released a verbal and formally written medical assessment that reflects a thorough, comprehensive evaluation.

Dressed in his official U.S. Navy military uniform, Jackson made clear the President insisted on full disclosure, "He said, 'I want you to get out there and I want you to talk to them and I want you to answer every single question they have.' " He was told Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was to give him the podium...

Predicting the future is not only the provenance of fortune tellers or media pundits. Predictive algorithms, based on extensive datasets and statistics have overtaken wholesale and retail operations as any online shopper knows. And in the last few years algorithms, are used to automate decision making for bank loans, school admissions, hiring and infamously in predicting recidivism – the probability that a defendant will commit another crime in the next two years.

COMPAS, which stands for Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions, is such a program and was singled out by ProPublica earlier this year as being racially biased. COMPAS utilizes 137...

With the focus in the last few weeks on President Trump’s first routine physical in office and the published description that Friday’s exam at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center went “exceptionally well,” the internet - in particular, twitter - went wild about such a description.

Taking a moment to google a prior report released from the same doctor would have revealed a consistent word selection (e.g. “excellent health”) throughout multiple administrations (See President Obama’s medical letter here).

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had released the following statement:

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