Health & Medicine

A neoteric’s view

Do  booster vaccinations prevent breakthrough infections? Who knows? But is that the right question. Are breakthrough infections important to prevent? Afterall we do know that most breakthrough infections are mild or asymptomatic. Breakthroughs, boosters and severe COVID – are they really related? When we look at deaths from COVID amongst breakthrough cases, they occur at a rate […]

Everyone is worried about our planet. Whether it is the billionaires trying desperately to exit it, the environmentalists and heads of governments trying to manage expectations or the public health pundits trying to minimise the impact of the COVID epidemic. In health care we strive to keep people alive and healthy. In prior centuries, we were […]

Medical evidence is in a state of constant flux. Most of us would feel comfortable if  amassing research evidence was like completing a jigsaw puzzle. Each new piece would add to the greater picture. Unfortunately, that is not the case. When viewing medical research we must learn, as we did as  adolescents, that not everything in our lives […]

For many months now, COVID testing has become a part of everyday life. Beyond identifying if you have COVID, the tests have very little additional use. They don’t provide information we have come to expect from the battery of routine medical tests we are subjected to through our lifetime.  We need global standards for testing, […]

It sounds like a no brainer. Why would you want to further compromise the immune system of someone whose immune system is already compromised? And yet that is what the “expert” committees all around the globe are advocating with their “science-by-committee” advice recommending booster COVID vaccination.   Science-by-committee lacks any proven clinical benefit There just isn’t […]

The way COVID-19 vaccines protect us is still not fully understood. Nor is the level of protection achieved by the various vaccines. Studies are now emerging highlighting the confusion in the community about what constitutes vaccine efficacy. There is a common misconception that vaccine efficacy is measured by the vaccine’s ability to prevent us from […]

Now that the saner populations of the world are reaching a critical mass of  vaccination against COVID, our attention must turn to whether booster vaccinations are necessary. And as with everything emerging about COVID, it is a rapidly changing picture. Choose a different vaccine to boost and only one dose Eleven years ago, US Infectious Disease […]

Vaccines are the best news to emerge from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The rapid and successful deployment of the new vaccines offers a way to limit the devastating effects of the pandemic – for men at least.  Unfortunately, the recent reports of thromboembolic events (clotting) may raise new concerns amongst the unvaccinated. These reports initiated with vaccines […]

Vaccine hesitancy is a real problem in the control of mortality from COVID. It is true that we know very little about the safety of these new generation mRNA vaccines. However, we do know that mRNA vaccines are safer than previous generations of nucleotide vaccines that were based on DNA and therefore could be integrated into our […]

As a public health physician, and as a family physician, I am ashamed. In response to COVID, my colleagues in public health officialdom are losing credibility as they search for politically driven quick fixes and remain silent when individual freedoms are restricted without clear evidence of an enduring relationship to positive outcomes. COVID is here […]

Competing as an Olympian is a dangerous pursuit. In the sixteen days of competition one in ten athletes will sustain an injury during the games.  Of these injuries, one in three will prevent the athlete from competing or continuing to compete. Cycling, gymnastics, and weightlifting earn Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for the most injuries at the Olympics. Taekwondo, […]

I have a passport that identifies my citizenship and permits me to enter countries around the world. It has been sitting quietly in my drawer gathering cobwebs as I watch countries open and shut their borders according to the latest knee jerk quasi-public health prompt.  “Covid” and “passport” should not be used together Passports and […]

The promotion of a COVID vaccine as a cure to the pandemic may be as misguided as the early projections that herd immunity could be a panacea.  To date no vaccination, other than against smallpox, has prevented the existence of a deadly virus and some have even led to the propagation of new wild strains […]

Caring for patients over long periods of time starts out as a romantic courtship. Initially, there is wooing. Both parties can do no wrong.  New patients are relatively unknown to clinicians and vice versa. The main difference is that clinicians are expected to catalyze some change in patients for the better. After taking a history, doing […]

With the data about COVID isolation and its negative effects polluting our senses, it is reassuring that researchers are turning their attention to interventions to assist people sheltering at home.  Caged humans should start planning escapades Bringing the outside world into our homes is one strategy. Stress is reduced in indoor environments enriched with plants […]

Healthy human functioning is a very ordered activity. The gastrointestinal tract is a clear example. Intake occurs at one end and output at another. Gut traffic control will supersede diet Ingestion and excretion have been studied for centuries. Over the last half century, the process in between, gut transit, has become a subject for research, […]

It is human nature to want to name an illness.  This allows patients to come to terms with their symptoms and prognosis.  It also permits physicians to adopt a course of treatment.  In the case of COVID, diagnosing the disease presents pitfalls as well as opportunities.    First, the pitfalls.  As new diseases evolve, many of the symptoms associated with […]

Countries worldwide are racing to vaccinate a significant proportion of their populations against COVID in the coming months. The evidence that vaccination decreases the likelihood of severe disease is promising. What is not so clear is whether the vaccines will eradicate the pandemic. To date there has been very little research into whether the vaccines […]

The COVID context is changing rapidly with the virus mutating and vaccination programs being rolled out globally. The original evidence on vaccine trials still stands. Here is a summary of what we know to date, which is supported by research evidence and not baseless assertion nor media factoid. As always, the primary references are available […]

Now that masks have become common, they also have become big business.  They can be found in a great variety of shapes, patterns and materials, but all masks aren’t created equal. Many factors, including the composition and thickness of the material, and the density of the filter fibres, determine their effectiveness. Non-natural fibres work better to […]