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 #152 8/8/21

By Judy Stone | August 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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. My latest posts: Probable Marburg virus in W. Africa for first time https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/08/06/probable-case-of-ebola-like-marburg-virus-in-guinea/?sh=6f6aed1f1373   interesting issues at play between economic development and #publichealth: Malaria Transmission in Africa Worsened by Small Dams https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/956114?src=soc_tw_share via Medscape News  Monoclonal Antibody Cocktail Authorized for Post-COVID Exposure ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Research shows many with mild COVID-19 infections still experience long-term symptoms The majority of individuals who experience mild or moderate COVID-19 infection also experience long COVID, or persistent symptoms more than 30 days after they test positive, according to research data from the longitudinal CoVHORT study at the University of Arizona Health Sciences. Among participants who tested positive for COVID-19, 68.7% experienced at least one symptom after 30 days, marking the distinction for long COVID. This prevalence increased to 77% after 60 days of follow-up. Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent lack of testing. A test that detects COVID-19 variants in your spit Drugs and Vaccines: ~ ~ ~ One dose of Pfizer vaccine may be enough for folks who’ve…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #151 8/1/21

By Judy Stone | August 1, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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. Politics Trumping Science Is Increasingly Disheartening https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/955487 and Summer, Saltwater, And Sickness From Vibrio Untreatable, Drug-Resistant Fungus (C. auris) Found in Texas and Washington, DC   News  New Covid cases reported on July 23, 2020 => 70,006 New Covid cases reported on July 23, 2021 => 81,732 ~  ~ ~ Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Vermont & Florida have banned schools from requiring masks. #Texas passed #NewYork in #COVID19 deaths ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent last of testing. Drugs and Vaccines: ACOG and SMFM Recommend COVID-19 Vaccination for Pregnant Individuals American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), Data from tens of thousands of pregnant people show vaccines are safe during pregnancy, but a COVID infection puts pregnant people at increased risk of severe complications & death. Only about 22% of pregnant people have received one or more doses of the COVID vaccine. ~…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #150 7/25/21

By Judy Stone | July 25, 2021 | 1 Comment

Quick links 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  A coming wave of diabetes? The link with COVID-19 Researchers are observing a new long-term health concern in patients hospitalized with COVID-19-an increase in new-onset hyperglycemia lasting months after infection. An Italian study found that about half of the patients admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 during the start of the pandemic had new cases of hyperglycemia, or high levels of blood sugar. They also had poorer outcomes. ~ ~ ~ How concerned should we be about breakthrough coronavirus infections? One expert weighs in https://www.statnews.com/2021/07/23/how-concerned-should-we-be-about-breakthrough-coronavirus-infections-one-expert-weighs-in/? Joshua P. Cohen has an article in Forbes that: fully vaccinated healthcare workers who contract coronavirus can transmit it, whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic. Also, According to the Dutch RIVM (CDC counterpart in the Netherlands), 9% of all positive cases tallied last week in the Netherlands were fully vaccinated individuals, ~ ~ ~ _ _ _ Novel autoantibody adds fuel to COVID-19 ‘firestorm’ of inflammation, blood clots, may guide future Rx Researchers at Michigan Medicine have discovered yet another functional autoantibody in…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #149 7/18/21

By Judy Stone | July 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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. Hospitals Separating Patients And Families Due To Covid-19 Causes Needless Suffering also Even ID Specialists Can Get Tick-borne Diseases in Medscape News  ~ ~ ~ COVID and the brain: researchers zero in on how damage occurs Growing evidence suggests that the coronavirus causes ‘brain fog’ and other neurological symptoms through multiple mechanisms. How COVID-19 damages the brain is becoming clearer. New evidence suggests that the coronavirus’s assault on the brain could be multipronged: it might attack certain brain cells directly, reduce blood flow to brain tissue or trigger production of immune molecules that can harm brain cells. Infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can cause memory loss, strokes and other effects on the brain. The question, says Serena Spudich, a neurologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, is: “Can we intervene early to address these abnormalities so that people don’t have long-term problems?” With so many people affected – neurological symptoms appeared in 80% of the people hospitalized with COVID-19 who were surveyed in one study1 – researchers hope…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #148 7/11/21

By Judy Stone | July 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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  Long Covid: Persistent symptoms in adult patients one year after COVID-19: a prospective cohort study  Long COVID is defined as the persistence of symptoms beyond 3 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection. To better understand the long-term course and etiology of symptoms we analyzed a cohort of COVID-19 patients prospectively. Patients were included at 5 months after acute COVID-19 in this prospective, non-interventional follow-up study. Patients followed until 12 months after COVID-19 symptom onset (n=96, 32.3% hospitalised, 55.2% females) were included in this analysis of symptoms, quality of life (based on a SF-12 survey), laboratory parameters including antinuclear antibodies (ANA), and SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels. At month 12, only 22.9% of patients were completely free of symptoms and the most frequent symptoms were reduced exercise capacity (56.3%), fatigue (53.1%), dyspnoea (37.5%), concentration problems (39.6%), problems finding words (32.3%), and sleeping problems (26.0%). Females showed significantly more neurocognitive symptoms than males. ANA titres were ≥1:160 in 43.6% of patients at 12 months post COVID-19 symptom onset, and neurocognitive symptom frequency…

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Coronavirus Tidbits # 147 7/4/21

By Judy Stone | July 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent lack of testing. If used every 3 days, rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 are about as accurate as RT-PCR testing RTqPCR tests are more effective than antigen tests at identifying infected individuals prior to or early during the infectious period and thus for minimizing forward transmission (given timely results reporting). All tests showed >98% sensitivity for identifying infected individuals if used at least every three days. Daily screening using antigen tests can achieve ~90% sensitivity for identifying infected individuals while they are viral culture positive. Drugs and Vaccines: COVID-19 Vaccine Found Safe for People with HIV Preliminary data from a sub-study published by The Lancet on June 18, 2021, shows that the Vaxzevria COVID-19 Vaccine (AstraZeneca, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) vaccine given as prime-boost dosing given 4-6 weeks apart was found well tolerated and produced equivalent immune responses in people living with HIV who are well controlled on ART compared with a similar adult population…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #146 6/27/21

By Judy Stone | June 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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  ~ ~ ~ Amidst the growing scrutiny over the possibility of leakage of Coronavirus from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, reports have now emerged about the defection of a top Chinese official to the United States. In February this year, China’s top counter-intelligence official Dong Jingwei reportedly flew to the US from Hong Kong with his daughter. The development was confirmed by a former top Chinese Ministry official named Dr. Han Lianchao, who had defected to the States after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. A pro-democracy activist in the US, Dr. Han said that the defection of Dong was discussed by top Chinese and US officials during a meeting in Alaska in May. According to him, the request to send Dong Jingwei back was turned down by State Secretary Anthony Blinken. Interestingly, the top law enforcement of China i.e. Central Political Legal Affairs Commission had posted on social media about Dong Jingwei’s supposed warning to ‘anti-China’ forces. It alleged that Dong had directed spies to look out for…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #145 6/20/21

By Judy Stone | June 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

Quick links 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  More than 70% of COVID-19 patients experience at least one persistent symptom for at least 60 days, according to the results of a systematic review recently published in JAMA Network Open. ~ ~ ~ Nearly one-fifth of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients went on to develop signs of long-haul COVID 30 days or more after diagnosis, according to a FAIR Health analysis of private insurance claims. ~ ~ ~ The Doctor Who Eliminated Smallpox Says COVID-19 Is Here to Stay The Daily Beast  — Harry Siegel In some pockets of the United States, if you squint hard enough, the coronavirus pandemic might feel like it’s almost over. Larry Brilliant would beg to disagree. With U.S. COVID-19 deaths soon to surpass the domestic toll from the great influenza of a century ago even as widely available vaccines have worked wonders, Brilliant, the epidemiologist who worked with the WHO to help eradicate smallpox and was the science adviser for the eerily prescient film Contagion, thinks there’s still plenty left to worry about-but…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #144 6/13/21

By Judy Stone | June 12, 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 Group Will Focus on Shoring Up Drug Supply Chain, White House Says — 50 to 100 essential drugs will be chosen to bring their production onshore https://www.medpagetoday.com/publichealthpolicy/healthpolicy/92981? ~ ~~ States Are Passing Laws That Threaten Public Health, Report Finds Scary article. Many of the comments are ignorant about the need for public health. Want a resurgence of TB? Typhoid? so many others? The comments focus on “individual” freedom and “liberty” to infect others. https://www.medpagetoday.com/publichealthpolicy/healthpolicy/92915? Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent last of testing. Drugs and Vaccines: J&J’s COVID-19 Vaccine Found to be Effective Against Variants of Concern This work is published in Nature, in the paper, “Immunogenicity of Ad26.COV2.S vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 variants in humans.” https://www.genengnews.com/topics/drug-discovery/jjs-covid-19-vaccine-found-to-be-effective-against-variants-of-concern/ ~ ~ ~ SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine recipients have lower…

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Coronavirus Tidbits #143 6/6/21

By Judy Stone | June 6, 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. My latest posts: Dengue Vaccine: Takeda Reports Promising Results. My latest for Medscape https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/952476 ~ ~ ~ There is a fascinating and tragic mystery unfolding in India: What Is Behind The Deadly Rise In Mucormycosis Infections In India? https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/06/03/murder-mystery-what-is-behind-the-deadly-rise-in-mucormycosis-infections-in-india/?sh=5b51a115f13c News  Prior COVID-19 infection reduces infection risk for up to 10 months The risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is substantially reduced for up to 10 months following a first infection, according to new findings from the Vivaldi study led by UCL researchers. https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-prior-covid-infection-months.html? ~  ~ ~ Cool story: Diagnostics: Not Covid, but fascinating article: Drugs and Vaccines: What Drives COVID Vaccine Hesitancy Among Moms? — Social pressures, misinformation are at play https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19vaccine/92880? ~ ~ ~ School scholarships, custom hunting rifles and shotguns, and over $2 million in cash are…

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