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 #138 5/2/21

By Judy Stone | May 2, 2021 | 0 Comments

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. Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. My latest post, for a friend:  Covid-19 Vaccine And People With Spinal Cord Injuries https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/04/29/covid-19-vaccine-and-people-with-spinal-cord-injuries/?sh=2b0e1fe2363f News  Must read on the disaster in India by my friend Madhukar Pai: Opinion: India’s covid-19 crisis is a dire warning for all countries https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/04/30/indias-covid-19-crisis-is-dire-warning-all-countries/ ~ ~ ~ Where did India’s catastrophic surge come from? Blame a “perfect storm” of political, biological, behavioral, and meteorological factors. (New York Times, USA Today) ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Brazil Senate votes to suspend patent protection on COVID-19 vaccines It now goes to the lower chamber. According to the proposal, patent holders would be obliged to provide authorities with all the information needed to produce COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. Then, if the government were to call a state of emergency,…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #136 4/24/21

By Judy Stone | April 24, 2021 | 0 Comments

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. Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. ~ ~ ~ New post: Malaria Resistant to Artemisinin Emerging in Africa for first time https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/949687 News  US denies India’s request to lift an export ban on raw materials needed to make COVID-19 vaccines! I believe this to be morally corrupt. It also flies in the face of everything the US has been saying about cooperation and pandemic preparedness. With China supplying most of the APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) for the world, and India supplying ~50% of the US’s generic medicine, this also seems colossally short-sighted and NOT in US’ self -interest. What are they thinking? Under some law from the previous regime, the US is not allowed to export the AstraZeneca vax to India either….

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Coronavirus Tidbits #135 4/18/21

By Judy Stone | April 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

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. Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. Latest post: Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout Is Paused – How Much Should You Worry? News  COVID disrupts healthcare in low- and middle-income countries re TB, HIV, and Malaria according to a new report by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The fund found that, from April to September 2020, HIV testing fell 41%, TB referrals declined 59%, and malaria diagnoses fell 31% among 502 health facilities in 32 LMICs in Africa and Asia. According to 85% of the surveyed facilities, COVID-19 was the main reason patients no longer sought healthcare, with most reporting fear of transmission (28%), disruption to public transit (20%), lockdown or stay-at-home orders (20%), and general delayed care-seeking…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #134 4/10/21

By Judy Stone | April 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

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. Tidbits will likely be a bit shorter and a little less frequent for the next little bit. WordPress was possessed; hence the delay in getting out the weekend edition. Apologies. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. News  19.9% of Americans Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19 per CDC ~ ~ ~ Study finds link between COVID-19 infection and subsequent mental health and neurological conditions Study using electronic health records of 236,379 COVID-19 patients mostly from the USA estimates that one in three COVID-19 survivors (34%) were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months of infection. Anxiety (17%) and mood disorders (14%) were the most common. Neurological diagnoses such as stroke and dementia were rarer, but not uncommon in those who had been seriously ill during COVID-19 infection. For example, of those who had been admitted to intensive care,…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #133 4/3/21

By Judy Stone | April 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

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. Tidbits will likely be less frequent for the next little bit, down to weekly. I have been immersed in it and I need to spend a little more time on self-care, which for me means seeing the spring flowers emerge and digging in the dirt. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. ~ ~ ~ https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/03/31/how-counterfeit-covid-19-vaccines-and-vaccination-cards-endanger-us-all/?sh=6f3d42b73649 News  Pfizer-BioNTech Vax in Adolescents in a Phase 3 trial in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age with or without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2 demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses (better than earlier results) ~ ~ ~ COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant on its way to becoming the dominant variant in the United States it is 40-50 percent more transmissible and about 50 percent more likely to cause fatal COVID-19 http://outbreaknewstoday.com/covid-19-b-1-1-7-variant-on-its-way-to-becoming-the-dominant-variant-in-the-united-states-23689/ ~ ~ ~ Nice seeing companies working…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #132 3/28/21

By Judy Stone | March 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

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  Disturbing level of vaccine hesitation in HCWs About 4 in 10 healthcare workers haven’t gotten a COVID-19 vaccine yet, and more than 1 in 3 say they aren’t confident the vaccines have been thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness, according to a new poll from The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The survey queried more than 1,300 front line healthcare workers between February and March, finding just over half (52%) had received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the time. Other findings were more worrisome for vaccination efforts: 3 in 10 said they weren’t sure they were going to get a vaccine, while 1 in 6 said they would quit if their employer forced them to get vaccinated. By comparison, 70% of Americans believe healthcare workers who work…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #131 3/21/21

By Judy Stone | March 21, 2021 | 0 Comments

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  ~ ~ ~ New Variant Classification scheme: defines three classes of SARS-CoV-2 variants: Variant of Interest; Variant of Concern; and Variant of High Consequence. The B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, B.1.427, and B.1.429 variants circulating in the United States are classified as Variants of Concern. These variants share one specific mutation called D614G, which was first documented in the USA in the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Various COVID-19 vaccines have recently launched additional clinical studies to validate efficacy against some of these variants. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/variant-surveillance/variant-info.html ~ ~ ~ Covid-19 and Global Food Security: One Year Later It’s been just over a year since the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) first warned that “Covid-19 could lead to a food security crisis if proper measures are not taken.” The author, former IFPRI director general Shenggen Fan, was…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #129 3/14/21

By Judy Stone | March 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

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  Mutations and Pfizer vax (Press release)  The Israel Ministry of Health (MoH), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) today announced real-world evidence demonstrating dramatically lower incidence rates of COVID-19 disease in individuals fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine (BNT162b2), underscoring the observed substantial public health impact of Israel’s nationwide immunization program. These new data build upon and confirm previously released data from the MoH demonstrating the vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, severe and critical hospitalizations, and deaths. The latest analysis from the MoH proves that two weeks after the second vaccine dose protection is even stronger – vaccine effectiveness was at least 97% in preventing symptomatic disease, severe/critical disease and death. This comprehensive real-world evidence can be of importance to countries around the world as they advance…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #128 3/11/21

By Judy Stone | March 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

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  Antibiotic prescribing during the pandemic raises concern about drug resistance A new study from PEW suggests antibiotics were overprescribed to patients during the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic. https://statnews.us11.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f8609630ae206654824f897b6&id=859b2cad96&e=f4c6ea30a0 ~ ~ ~ the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is particularly attracted to the blood group A antigen found on respiratory cells. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-03-scientists-blood-covid-infection.html? ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent last of testing. Drugs and Vaccines: Do vaccines help long-haulers? ~ ~ ~ bamlanivimab plus etesevimab cut hospitalizations and death by 87% in a phase III trial, Lilly announced. https://www.precisionvaccinations.com/2021/03/10/antibody-therapy-reduced-hospitalization-and-death-risk-87 ~ ~ ~ Study: UK COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7: More deadly than previous strains The highly infectious variant of COVID-19 discovered in Kent, which swept across the UK last year before spreading worldwide, is between 30 and 100 per cent more deadly than previous strains, new…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #127 3/7/21

By Judy Stone | March 7, 2021 | 0 Comments

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. Excited to have my opinion piece in MIT’s Undark science magazine about unintended consequences of hospitals’ visitation restrictions during Covid News  ~ ~ ~ AF, atrial flutter in COVID-19 may be tied to inflammation New-onset atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter are as common in hospitalized patients with influenza as with COVID-19, suggesting the connection between the arrhythmias and COVID-19 is related to the general inflammatory state. Although COVID-19 was known to increase inflammatory markers associated with atrial arrhythmias, the relationship of the inflammation to COVID-19 was not known, so the researchers conducted a retrospective analysis comparing incidence, predictors and outcomes of AF or atrial flutter in patients with COVID-19 and patients with influenza, another viral disease that increases inflammatory markers. https://www.healio.com/news/cardiology/20210304/af-atrial-flutter-in-covid19-may-be-tied-to-inflammation ~ ~ ~ Respiratory symptoms persist 6 months after hospitalization for COVID-19: Survey A…

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