Politics, Science, and Other Assorted Musings

I love helping people understand issues and look at them from a different perspective. In this blog, I hope I can offer you some new insights—bridging the gap between basic science and your medicine chest—as I am still a practicing physician, as well as having had broad clinical research experience. I'm interested in developing new medicines and treatments, as well as caring for patients—and explaining these topics for you.

As medicine has evolved, so have my interests. I have also become increasingly interested in health disparities, social justice issues, and ethics. I invite you to join me as we explore a variety of territories. I hope that reading these posts will encourage you to learn, engage, and above all, work for the forces of good.

If there are topics you'd like to see me cover, please let me know—I welcome your input as to what you would like us to discuss in this column.

Coronavirus - COVID19

Please note that I will be posting Coronavirus Tidbits of news here. You can sign up for updates by clicking the box at the right and subscribe to Covid, Politics, and Science. All Covid posts will go here, and I will upload back issues as I have time. Please share w friends. Thanks!

I’m going to have a reference file here for articles I have found particularly worthwhile, and will update this here as we learn new information. Click on the COVID-19 Resources, below, to expand that.

If you see something terrific, please share. We’re all in this together.

Coronavirus Tidbits #198 6/26/22

By Judy Stone | June 26, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #198 6/26/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New post: Life-Threatening Meningococcal Infections Strike Florida https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/06/23/life-threatening-meningococcal-infections-strike-florida/?sh=273116daf4d0 News  Covid: BA.4 and BA.5 may escape antibody responses in people who have been fully vaccinated and boosted and previously infected with COVID-19. (New England Journal of Medicine) ~ ~ ~ A third vaccine dose may increase protection from omicron The mRNA vaccines used against COVID were never designed to battle the omicron variant, a now dominant strain of the coronavirus that recently claimed 18,000 lives in a single week. Yet individuals who receive their third dose appear to be protected from the worst of omicron, and a new study in Nature explains why. In analyzing blood samples from patients who received a booster, researchers showed that the third dose galvanizes memory B cells into producing potent and versatile antibodies that neutralize both the original virus…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #197 6/19/22

By Judy Stone | June 20, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #197 6/19/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. Recent posts: Surgery During a Pandemic? COVID Vax Status Matters – or Not An online survey captured mixed information about people’s willingness to undergo surgery during a viral pandemic in relation to the vaccine status of the patient and staff. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/975477 ~ ~ ~ Dengue Vaccine Candidate Works Without Big Safety Risks Drugmaker Takeda announced Thursday that its dengue vaccine candidate, TAK-003, prevented 84% of hospitalized dengue cases and 61% of symptomatic cases in 4.5 years of follow-up during its phase 3 TIDES trial. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/975354 News  FDA advisers OK COVID-19 vaccines for youngest kids In a step eagerly anticipated by families who want an extra tool to protect babies and young children, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vaccine advisory group today unanimously approved emergency use of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for babies…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #197 6/19/22

By Judy Stone | June 19, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #197 6/19/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. Recent posts: Surgery During a Pandemic? COVID Vax Status Matters – or Not An online survey captured mixed information about people’s willingness to undergo surgery during a viral pandemic in relation to the vaccine status of the patient and staff. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/975477 ~ ~ ~ Dengue Vaccine Candidate Works Without Big Safety Risks Drugmaker Takeda announced Thursday that its dengue vaccine candidate, TAK-003, prevented 84% of hospitalized dengue cases and 61% of symptomatic cases in 4.5 years of follow-up during its phase 3 TIDES trial. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/975354 News  FDA advisers OK COVID-19 vaccines for youngest kids In a step eagerly anticipated by families who want an extra tool to protect babies and young children, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vaccine advisory group today unanimously approved emergency use of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for babies…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #196 6/12/22

By Judy Stone | June 12, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #196 6/12/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New Post: Dengue Vaccine Candidate Works Without Big Safety Risks https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/975354 This is a huge advance–will help Puerto Rico as well as SE Asia.   News  COVID and smell loss: answers begin to emerge A study published last month1 surveyed 616,318 people in the United States who have had COVID-19. It found that, compared with those who had been infected with the original virus, people who had contracted the Alpha variant – the first variant of concern to arise – were 50% as likely to have chemosensory disruption. This probability fell to 44% for the later Delta variant, and to 17% for the latest variant, Omicron. But the news is not all good: a significant portion of people infected early in the pandemic still experience chemosensory effects. A 2021 study2 followed 100 people who had…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #195 6/5/22

By Judy Stone | June 5, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #195 6/5/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. Post: Medicines For Monkeypox – Antivirals And Vaccines Are Available While monkeypox is spreading globally, there is no need for the level of alarm that we had with Covid-19. Why? First, monkeypox is not nearly as transmissible as Covid and requires close contact. There is a <10% household transmission. Second, is that we have several medicines and vaccines at our disposal. The first case of monkeypox in this outbreak was noted on May 6. Since then, it has traveled globally, with the UK, Spain, and Portugal in the lead, followed by others, including Canada and Germany. https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/05/28/medicines-for-monkeypoxantivirals-and-vaccines-are-available/ News  Covid: Kiddie vaccine in sight! Pfizer filing sets scene for FDA consideration Pfizer and BioNTech said yesterday that they have finished submitting an application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #194 5/29/22

By Judy Stone | May 29, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #194 5/29/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New posts: Wild Meat Markets Pose Disease Risk to People, Laos Study Finds https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/974609 ~ ~ ~ Focus on Antivirals, Vaccines as Monkeypox Continues https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/974659 for healthcare professionals ~ ~ ~ Medicines For Monkeypox – Antivirals And Vaccines Are Available https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/05/28/medicines-for-monkeypoxantivirals-and-vaccines-are-available/   for the general public News  Emergency medical staff report high levels of burnout amid COVID Two-plus years into the pandemic, an online survey of emergency-medicine professionals in 89 countries reveals that 62% reported one or more symptoms of COVID-19-related burnout syndrome, and 31% reported two. Women reported more burnout than men (64% vs 59%), as did nurses versus doctors (73% vs 60%). High levels of burnout were tied to frequent understaffing (70% vs 37% of those with adequate staffing) and a higher risk of wanting to leave their workplace (87% vs 40%…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #193 5/22/22

By Judy Stone | May 22, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #193 5/22/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New posts: Bacteria-Killing Viruses Are Successful In Treating Antibiotic-Resistant Infections https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/05/15/bacteria-killing-viruses-are-successful-in-treating-antibiotic-resistant-infections/?sh=5a4248e84e38 ~ ~ ~ CDC Updates PrEP Vaccination Recommendations https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/974298 News  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Alpha-Gal Syndrome and Ticks remainder of thread at https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1413962890579791875.html ~ ~ ~ Monkeypox ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Waning immunity to smallpox might be boosting the new cases of monkeypox. Thread: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1527494313080303617.html ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ FDA Approves Expanded Smallpox – Monkeypox Treatment Formulation New York-based SIGA Technologies, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the intravenous…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #192 5/15/22

By Judy Stone | May 15, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #192 5/15/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. News  North Korea reports first COVID deaths, explosive outbreak spread News reports, citing North Korea’s state media, said the country has reported six COVID-19 deaths, including at least one linked to the Omicron variant, amid explosive spread that has led to about 350,000 people being treated for fevers. Yesterday, 18,000 more people with fever symptoms were reported, with 187,800 under isolation, according to the Associated Press (AP). It’s not clear how many cases are COVID-19, due to lack of information on North Korea’s testing capacity. Global health officials are concerned about the country’s widening health crisis, due to a lack of vaccines and treatments, alongside a weak medical infrastructure. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un was seen wearing a mask for the first time yesterday. He criticized officials for failing to prevent the…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #191 5/8/22

By Judy Stone | May 8, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #191 5/8/22

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. News  ~ ~ ~ Important thread (see Drugs) After ending treatment, if virus rebounds w a strong positive, it is the same virus It is actively replicating/causing test to go from Neg to Pos. It should be considered infectious. ? is also if people should take Paxlovid for 10 days. Do NOT stop isolation at 5 days. Go for at least 5 more days after stopping Paxlovid and have a negative rapid test. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Quite the thread–worth a read on how we are grossly underestimating impact of Covid by not measuring it. ~ ~ ~ Secretary of State Blinken tested positive after dinner. Too dangerous to have our leaders at a likely superspreader event. They did…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #190 May 1, 2022

By Judy Stone | May 1, 2022 | Comments Off on Coronavirus Tidbits #190 May 1, 2022

Quick links News     Diagnostics     Drugs    Devices    Epidemiology/Infection control     Tips     Politics    Feel good du jour     Comic relief     Perspective/Poem     Bits of beauty Announcements: First, there is now a Resources Page here for the most commonly asked questions I’m getting. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New post: We’re Facing A Critical Shortage Of Medical Laboratory Professionals https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2022/04/28/were-facing-a-critical-shortage-of-medical-laboratory-professionals/ News  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new seroprevalence data suggesting that as many as three in four children ages 17 and under in the United States has been infected with COVID-19, most during the Omicron surge. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2022/04/global-covid-deaths-drop-lowest-early-pandemic-months ~ ~ ~ Moderna applies for authorization of vaccine for young children In a welcome development for many parents of young children, Moderna announced today that it has submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months to under 6 years of age. The request is based on a 25-microgram two-dose primary series of mRNA-1273. The application is based on favorable results seen during a phase 2/3 trial. No major…

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