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There are many steps in research that, like making-sausage, are rarely viewed. Specifically, the process of collecting data, cleaning up the inconsistencies, standardizing it in some way all to create a “data set,” that is, in turn, analyzed and then discussed. Creating the dataset involves any number of decisions that are not felt necessary to report in the article’s methodology. Those decisions that shape the dataset also shape the analysis. A new study in economics looks at the reproducibility crisis from that viewpoint. The findings can be generalized to other of those softer sciences.

The researchers identified two published articles from reputable journals, with a clear outcome, based on publicly available data that could be easily found. By various means, they recruited...

Are you a chocolate connoisseur who won’t touch a cocoa content of less than 70 percent, or do you prefer your candy milky and sweet?

Bully for you if you’re in the former category, but spare us the spiel that you’re treating your body like a temple while the rest of us deserve diabetes and death for scoffing Hershey Kisses or M&Ms.

Food snobbery of any type is unattractive, but it gains an unpleasant extra edge when it teeters over into health zealotry.

Besides, the idea that one type of chocolate is a “superfood” while another is “junk food” is as daft as they come. Here are the three commonest assertions made by chocolate health snobs (and why you should ignore them and enjoy the chocolate you like the most this Easter):

CLAIM Dark...

JB: Dr. Kolodny, I can't possibly express how grateful I am that you agreed to do another interview for me, ACSH, and your many pain patient fans out there. My readers and I are very curious about how your life has changed after you reportedly collected a half-million dollars by testifying against Johnson & Johnson in Oklahoma?

AK: That's incorrect. I did not earn that much. It was only $500,000.

 

JB: I'm fairly certain that those numbers are the same. 

AK: No way! As a psychiatrist, who flew through middle school algebra (twice), I believe that I have expertise in math. And everything else. Those numbers are not the same.

 

JB....

“The pandemic today is almost unrecognizably different. In the United States, an acute, terrifying catastrophe has given way to the monotony of lowered expectations. There are no makeshift morgues in the streets. Businesses are opening despite a thousand American deaths a day. This week, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered New York City employees back to work, regardless of their vaccination status, while case counts in the city are on a high plateau. The pervasive sense is that we can’t wait forever for the pandemic to end.

When, exactly, will we reach a point that could be considered a ...

#An opinion piece by ACSH advisor Dr. Jeffery Singer and Dr. Josh Bloom entitled "Stop Making Surgeons Undertreat Postoperative Pain" was published in the latest issue of General Surgery News. The first three paragraphs (below) are reprinted with permission. The remainder of the article can be found here.

Indisputable evidence shows the absence of a correlation between the number of opioid prescriptions and opioid abuse or addiction. This has not, however, dissuaded practicing physicians from buying into the false narrative that prescribing opioids for pain is fueling the overdose crisis.

According to statistics from the CDC, the number...

Randy Weingarten, President of the AFT, sent a letter to the Director of the CDC and the Secretary of Education.  She made two arguments. Concerning the scientific basis for the CDC’s recommendations, discussed here, she noted that the schools had implemented a variety of mitigation strategies, especially around upgraded HVAC (ventilation) systems, that were not addressed and might well impact the findings. The researchers had noted this as well. Her second argument was that the studies were not conducted in high-density, poor schools, so the results might...

The survey was completed in the San Francisco Bay area, comparing about 3900 randomly selected households and 2500 healthcare workers who are agreed to bi-monthly testing for COVID-19.

While being a healthcare worker reduced vaccine hesitancy compared to the general population, the clear distinctions based upon race and ethnicity held for both groups. The, at this point, usual reasons were given, less confidence in the vaccine working, less confidence in the company manufacturing the vaccines (this was during the period when only Pfizer and Moderna were available), and less trust in the approval process.

The researchers end by...

"Over 100 fully vaccinated people contract COVID-19 in Washington state, officials say."

That ridiculous headline is from a new ABC News story. Whoever wrote it should be ashamed of him or herself. It's disgraceful journalism like this that scares people, especially those who read only the headline – probably a healthy percentage of us. 

Was ABC's article an attempt to prevent people from getting a very safe vaccine? Or was it clickbait? Who knows, but the article's accurate headline should have been:

...

If you remember flying, then certainly you will remember the injunction during the safety presentation. 

“Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”

That, in the context of COVID-19 vaccinations, is an example of vaccine nationalism. It wasn’t until earlier last week that we began exporting vaccines to our neighbors, Canada and Mexico. And it wasn’t Pfizer or Moderna, but AstraZeneca’s – make of that what you will. We are not the only ones with an us-first attitude. The EU, faced with a slow vaccination roll-out and rising cases, is not restricting exports so much as requiring companies to meet their contractual...

So, are vaccine passports legal? In a word, yes. They are legal if the various governments want them to be.  But are they ethical? That’s another story. 

The idea of health-related travel documents is not new.  The World Health Organization (WHO created the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP), known as the Carte Jaune or Yellow Card, for those coming from or traveling through areas infected by yellow fever to arrest global transmission of the diseases. It’s been around since 1933. In Europe, health passes were adopted following outbreaks of the Black Death...