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Category Archives: Medicine

Vital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases – US and Territories, 2004–201

CDC Early Release, MMWR, May 1, 2018: “Vectorborne diseases are major causes of death and illness worldwide. In the United States, the most common vectorborne pathogens are transmitted by ticks or mosquitoes, including those causing Lyme disease; Rocky Mountain spotted fever; and West Nile, dengue, and Zika virus diseases. This report examines trends in occurrence… Continue Reading

Book Review – ‘The Efficiency Paradox’ Review: Big Data, Big Problems

WSJ – Though technology is making our lives ever more convenient, it also may be having the unintended effect of lowering our skill set. Gregg Easterbrook reviews “The Efficiency Paradox” by Edward Tenner. “‘Big Data” is the Big Bad of our moment. Companies and governments amass enormous troves of information about our online and offline… Continue Reading

Report: Boosting Energy Efficiency Would Bring Vast Health Benefits

Environmental Working Group: “A new report estimated the sweeping public health benefits that a 15 percent reduction in energy demand would yield in one year. The February report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or ACEEE, and Physicians for Social Responsibility, or PSR, found that the savings from modestly cutting energy demand in… Continue Reading

‘Gag Clauses’ and Prescription Drug Prices – Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports – “When you fill a prescription at your local drugstore, you probably assume that using your insurance is the best—maybe even the only—way to pay. So you might be surprised to learn that you can sometimes pay less if you don’t use your insurance. And there’s a good reason that counterintuitive cost-saving strategy… Continue Reading

Research – Humans produce new brain cells throughout their lives

Findings could help hunt for treatment for degenerative conditions such as Alzheimers, and psychiatric problems: “Humans continue to produce new neurons in a part of their brain involved in learning, memory and emotion throughout adulthood, scientists have revealed, countering previous theories that production stopped after adolescence. The findings could help in developing treatments for neurological… Continue Reading

Research and data support dispensary-based marijuana for pain rather than opiods

Statnews: “As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana, doctors may be replacing opioid prescriptions with suggestions to visit a local marijuana dispensary. Two papers published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine analyzing more than five years of Medicare Part D and Medicaid prescription data found that after states legalized weed, the number of opioid prescriptions… Continue Reading

Without Context Or Cushion, Do Online Medical Results Make Sense?

Kaiser Health News: “…The push for [patient] portals has been fueled by several factors: the widespread embrace of technology, incentive payments to medical practices and hospitals that were part of 2009 federal legislation to encourage “meaningful use” of electronic records, and a 2014 federal rule giving patients direct access to their results. Policymakers have long… Continue Reading

Government Databases of Adverse Drug Events

Russ Kick – The Memory Hole 2: “The governments of several countries (plus the European Union and the United Nations) have programs for medical practitioners, members of the public, and pharmaceutical companies to report “adverse events” regarding prescription and over-the-counter drugs (as well as medical devices, personal care products, and occasionally other things). As defined… Continue Reading

ClinicalTrials.gov: Further Enhancements to Functionality

“On December 18, 2017, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) released a new set of updates to ClinicalTrials.gov as part of its ongoing effort to enhance the usability of the database (see ClinicalTrials.gov: First in a Series of Changes to Improve Usability for Stakeholders). Most of the features provided in the current release were previously… Continue Reading

Google Genomics – big data collection, genomic patient info and privacy

“Google Genomics helps the life science community organize the world’s genomic information and make it accessible and useful. Big genomic data is here today, with petabytes rapidly growing toward exabytes. Through our extensions to Google Cloud Platform, you can apply the same technologies that power Google Search and Maps to securely store, process, explore, and… Continue Reading

Report from President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis

Dated November 1, 2017 this report is clearly watermarked on every page with the word DRAFT, but the White House announced today that this is the commission’s final report: “The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis has submitted its final report, recommending how the Federal Government can address the drug addiction… Continue Reading

Intellectual Property for the Twenty-First-Century Economy

Intellectual Property for the Twenty-First-Century Economy, Joseph E. Stiglitz, Dean Baker, Arjun Jayadev. October 17, 2017. “Developing countries are increasingly pushing back against the intellectual property regime foisted on them by the advanced economies over the last 30 years. They are right to do so, because what matters is not only the production of knowledge,… Continue Reading