Category: Research

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 […]

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 […]

To date, none of the available vaccines prevent transmission from one individual to another. Most focus on decreasing the severity of symptoms. In the short term, that is a very effective strategy. In the longer term it can turn into a double-edged sword.  Evolving new strains of COVID may be more beneficial than detrimental. Consider […]

Since March 2020, most places in the world have been through several versions of CoVID-19 lockdown. The most extreme level, currently in force in several cities in the USA, prohibits social contact beyond the immediate household throughout the rest of the year. Those who can work from home are expected to do so. Those who […]

CoVID has brought the age-old problem of containing infectious diseases back into the limelight. To date, clinicians and patients have focussed on the individual and human aspects of infectious containment, but the spread of infections in our built environment must become a priority. Humid environments mean less viral spread in air. Take hospital architecture. Like […]

As the world battles with localised CoVID-19 outbreaks, it is now clear that a major source of transmission of infection is no longer from the influx of expatriates nor travellers. CoVID-19 is now a community problem. The politicizing of the pandemic has obfuscated the fact that, in most countries, communities and family groups have been […]

(This blog is the Gordon Reid MacDonald Memorial Lecture which I have been asked to deliver in Edmonton Alberta this month. It is much longer than my usual blogs) If there is one thing that the pandemic has shown us, it is that modern healthcare is undemocratic, antisocial and thus largely unresponsive to its patients’ […]

Absolute risk is the likelihood an event will occur. Relative risk is the likelihood an event will occur in one group compared to another. In CoVID-19 terms, the absolute risk of dying from the disease is low. However, if we look at very old residents of care facilities who have multiple health problems compared with […]

Over the past two decades, three human coronaviruses (SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2) have emerged worldwide and there is still no approved vaccine for any of them. Greedy nations race each other in a drug-ridden CoVID Olympics, spending billions to find the gold medal vaccine. Yet we are told the greatest elite performer on earth – […]

A new epidemic has broken out, and it’s not CoVID-19.  The symptoms are an inability to subtract, and a tendency just to add.  It’s sweeping through physicians around the world who, instead of weaning patients off antidepressants, continue to layer on two or even more psychoactive drugs, despite evidence that this strategy is ineffective. Depression […]

Every couple of years a group of experts lowers the level of blood pressure required to diagnose and treat hypertension. On the face of it, the advice seems reasonable: obesity and diabetes are on the increase across the globe and both are related to hypertension and its result, cardiovascular disease. So, dropping the upper limits […]

Hospitals are full of people sick with CoVID but not all of them are patients. More and more staff in our hospitals are turning up for work that they are unable to do. They are present, but not working at their best, either due to their own health problems, increased CoVID-related workload, or CoVID anxiety. […]