News and Views

Instagram set off a social media firestorm by removing a photo deemed “offensive” of a young boy with a congenital syndrome replete with facial deformities. According to Charlie Beswick— the child’s mother, this was not the first time. 

The most recent photo post (with hashtags) in question for her @ouralteredlife account here:

#ouralteredlife #...

The cancer drug business is quite a profitable one. A “high risk, high reward” proposition has been the narrative for those in research and development (R&D). Successes, marketing, patent protection and discovery cost money. Failures cost money. Not pursuing a different path with a failure or even a success costs money. As does lost revenue while performing R&D. 

Can an accurate dollar value even be placed on what it takes from idea conception through utilization to develop a new drug? Due to the opaque nature of the industry’s disclosures, a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine sought to quantify a standard amount by focusing on new cancer drugs and analyzing the...

Biohackers walk a blurry line between science and pseudoscience.

But, today, they fall square on the science side due to their recent decision to disinvite David Avocado Wolfe from the Biohacker Summit - the largest biohacking event in Europe. The meeting, held in Helsinki, Finland in mid-October, will have 1,000 attendees - all of whom will (thankfully) not be hearing what Wolfe has to say. This includes, among other things, that mushrooms have intelligence and consciousness, that chocolate is an octave of male sun energy and that the Earth is flat. 

In case you don't know, biohacking is the practice of people taking biology into their own hands. It's a cross between DIY Bio and citizen science. Whatever form it takes, it's driven by people taking an interest in science...

When it comes to medical issues as they relate to connecting out-of-the-way rural areas to cities, there remains a long list of challenges. But for one of those – transporting delicate medical samples over great distances – significant, record-setting progress is being made. And it's being done with the use of drones. 

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University report that they've set a new delivery distance record by using medical drones to safely deliver human blood samples 161 miles, while ensuring the contents "were viable for laboratory analysis after landing." 

This recent achievement continues to bridge the gap between larger hospitals in urban areas and remote areas, especially where land transport is challenging, treacherous or simply impossible.

"Drones...

What causes autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? We're not sure.

How many different types of ASD exist? Good question. 

How many treatments are available for ASD? Not enough. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is taking this lack of understanding seriously. In case anyone doubts this, the NIH put its money where its mouth is last week when the agency announced the awarding of nine research grants totaling almost $100 million, over the next five years. This is roughly ten times more than the average research grant given to a researcher. 

These grants are part of the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) program - created a decade ago to support research projects that aim to understand autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Centers for Disease Control and...

The news of the cholera epidemic in Yemen is beyond comprehension. The disease is spreading with unprecedented speed. There are over 600,000 people infected and 2,000 dead - in about six months time. 

In July, the numbers being reported were a staggering 5,000 new cases a day. Although the overall rate of newly infected has slowed recently, down to around 3,000 cases per day - that is certainly no reason for celebration. This still remains the most explosive cholera epidemic on record. 

How does a bacterium that is micrometers long cause such devastation? 

Vibrio cholerae naturally exists in two places - water and the human small intestine. The bacteria sets up an infection in someone after they consume water contaminated with Vibrio cholerae. ...

Kurt Eichenwald is an interesting guy -- in the same way that a 47-car pileup on the freeway is interesting. He is, according to his Twitter bio, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a New York Times bestselling author. He also has written for Newsweek, where he penned one of the best essays I have ever read about conspiracy theories.

You would think that a man with such enormous influence would wield it with great responsibility. But you would be wrong. Last year, he tweeted -- without any evidence whatsoever -- that he believed Donald Trump...

I have traveled all across America and to 18 countries in Europe. My wife, who was born and raised in Poland, agrees with me: The Pacific Northwest is the most beautiful part of the world*.

Come visit in the summertime, when the weather is almost certain to be sunny and in the 70s. (We pay for this natural beauty with rain the other nine months of the year.) In Seattle, on a clear day, you can see the Olympic Mountains to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east. To the southeast is the glorious Mt. Rainier, which towers over the region at a breathtaking 14,411 feet. Because most trees in this neck of the woods are evergreen, the Pacific Northwest is beautiful all year round.

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I cannot say enough how important it is for physicians to have a working knowledge of junk science. While it sometimes can be difficult to not get snarky when patients claim they have nonsense diagnoses, it behooves the clinician to approach this type of situation with extreme diplomacy.  We cannot do this if we are not equipped with the knowledge to combat the plague which is medical quackery. 

The really sexy word around town, as I have noticed, is "wellness." Empires are built on the notion that we are, at baseline, not well.  And unless we buy what they sell, we will not attain both inner and outer beauty. What I did not know is how pervasive these wellness "clinics" are and the plethora of websites touting benefits that have no real foundation in evidence based medicine...

A disturbing video (start at minute 4:55) went viral of Utah nurse Alex Wubbels being handcuffed, while screaming as she tried to do her job. The images obtained from University Hospital and Detective Jeff Payne's body cameras reveal the standoff. At issue: if the police officer could obtain a blood sample from her patient who was hurt from a July 26 collision that involved a fatality. 

In an ironic twist, as the nurse painstakingly endeavors not to violate the rights of her patient she ultimately is handcuffed screaming, "You are assaulting me! Help!"

Nurse Wubbels contended that she was not permitted to take blood from an unconscious patient unless these conditions were met: 1) the patient was under arrest, 2)...