Genomics, Medicine, and Pseudoscience - RSS Feed

This is Steven Salzberg's blog on genomics, pseudoscience, medical breakthroughs, higher education, and other topics, including skepticism about unscientific medical practices. Here's where I can say what I really think about abuses and distortions o

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Leave the bats in their caves: it's time to put an end to gain-of-function research on viruses

Why have scientists spent years exploring remote bat caves, pulling out bats infected with novel coronaviruses, and transporting them into major cities? If you asked the scientists, they’d explain that their research would help prevent the next pandemic. Instead, they might have caused it.A new released set of documents, including a rejected grant proposal,...

Yes, we should all get boosters! Eventually.

The hubbub for the past few weeks in the U.S. has been all about whether or not the government should recommend that people get booster shots for Covid-19. Conflicting messages have emerged, with some officials saying boosters will be recommended, and others saying boosters are unnecessary or premature. Just this past Friday, an expert panel at the...

Ivermectin doesn't work for treating or preventing Covid-19, even if your favorite FoxNews host says it does

Recently the world has been treated to a flood of misinformation about ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug that some people thinks can treat or prevent the Covid-19 virus.It can’t, but that hasn’t stopped a variety of Fox News hosts, including Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Laura Ingraham, from pushing it for months. As a result, prescriptions for...

The FDA needs to approve the COVID-19 vaccines. Right now.

I’ve spent untold hours fighting bureaucracy during the course of my life. Sometimes the issues are big, sometimes small, but I often get incredibly frustrated when I see organizations–and the people who work for them–enforcing rules without thinking, often to the detriment of everyone involved.Usually, though, bureaucratic rules are little more than...

It's time to shut down the Disinformation Dozen

I’ve been writing about anti-vaxxers for a dozen years now, warning of the threat to public health that they represent. Today, though, the threat is far greater than it was in the past, because we're in the midst of a deadly pandemic, and vaccines are our only tool out of it. Merely educating the public on the benefits of vaccines isn’t working in the...

Does drinking coffee reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation? Maybe just a little.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of heart arrhythmia in the U.S. and Europe, affecting millions of people every day. A-fib is a condition where your heart beats irregularly and less efficiently than normal. Some people experience a-fib without even being aware of it, but it is a serious condition that leads to an estimated 750,000 hospitalizations...

Why the "Lab Leak" Hypothesis Doesn’t Mean the COVID-19 Virus was Engineered

The “lab leak” hypothesis about the origin of Covid-19 has been getting a lot of attention lately, and deservedly so. This is the idea that the SARS-CoV-2 virus accidentally escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, that conducts research on coronaviruses. Just a few weeks ago, a group of highly respected virologists and epidemiologists published a...

Patenting the Covid-19 vaccine is wrong

The world has recorded at least 166 million cases of Covid-19 and over 3.4 million deaths, according to the Hopkins coronavirus dashboard, and the true numbers are certainly far higher. The only way we will defeat this virus is through vaccines, and fortunately science has delivered the goods, with multiple highly-effective vaccines now being produced....

Should women be taking estrogen to treat the effects of menopause? New research says yes.

Until about 20 years ago, physicians routinely prescribed the hormones estrogen and progestin for women after menopause, when levels of both of these hormones decline. This seemed like a logical treatment, and the hope was that it would slow down bone loss (osteoporosis), reduce the risk of heart disease, and treat other age-related problems. Estrogen...

Europe's pause on the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine plays right into anti-vaxxers' hands

Last week, more than a dozen European countries suspended the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. They claimed it was out of an excess of caution, but instead they played right into the hands of those who continue to spread anti-vaccine misinformation.On Thursday, the European Medicines Agency announced that there was nothing to worry about, that the AstraZeneca...

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