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 #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…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #126 3/3/21

By Judy Stone | March 3, 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  Refreshing: Biden says pandemic preparedness, health security, and global health are top national security priorities Update: National Security Directive 1 was redesignated as National Security Memorandum 1. Amid the whirlwind of White House activity following inauguration last week, President Biden issued his first presidential directive on national security to designate pandemic response as a priority. “My Administration will treat epidemic and pandemic preparedness, health security, and global health as top national security priorities, and will work with other nations to combat COVID-19 and seek to create a world that is safe and secure from biological threats,” the President wrote. See National Security Directive 1, January 21, 2021. https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2021/01/biden-nsd/ ~ ~ ~ Mutations and Texas idiocy: Houston Is First City to Register Major COVID Strains, New Study Finds Houston is the first city in the country to…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #125 2/28/21

By Judy Stone | February 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  Vaccine finder now available: https://vaccinefinder.org/ ~ ~ ~ Study finds COVID risk communication targeting younger adults may have biggest impact A study of adults in the United States finds that – broadly speaking – the older you are, the more concerned you are about COVID-19, and the more steps you take to reduce your risk from COVID-19. The study suggests that the biggest boost in risk reduction would stem from communication efforts aimed at raising awareness of COVID-19 risks among U.S. adults under the age of 40. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-02/ncsu-sfc022321.php ~ ~ ~ Mutant Covid strains ~ ~ ~ BioNTech and Pfizer Begin 3rd COVID-19 Vaccine Dose Evaluation Germany-based BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc. announced they had begun evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty) (BNT162b2) to understand the…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #124 2/25/21

By Judy Stone | February 25, 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. NEW Post: Mutual Aid – How You Can Help Texas, While Calling From Home http://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/02/25/mutual-aid–how-you-can-help-texas-while-calling-from-home/ Volunteering through Powered by People  is easy and gratifying. There is still a need. News  ~ ~ ~ Maryland ranks 49th in #COVID19Vaccine distribution. Doses distributed to state: 1,634,945 Doses administered: 1,132,483 Percentage of distributed vaccines that have been administered: 69.27 https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/public-health/states-ranked-by-percentage-of-covid-19-vaccines-administered.html ~ ~ ~ How Deadly Is the U.K. Variant? — Updated analyses support worse clinical outcomes https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/91202?xid=nl_secondopinion_2021-02-23&eun=g1184564d0r ~ ~ ~ J&J vaccine will go to FDA for EUA vote this week. ~ ~ ~ Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent last of testing. Drugs and Vaccines: The Lancet: 3-month interval between first and second dose of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine results in higher vaccine efficacy than 6-week interval Exploratory analyses including 17,178 participants find that higher vaccine efficacy…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #123 2/21/20

By Judy Stone | February 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. Texans Need Help: Want to volunteer? I’v been working through Beto’s Powered by People to match people in need of water, food, heat, with local resources. They have a spreadsheet of people and their needs. Volunteers are calling them and then trying to connect them w resources (some provided on other sheets). I’m also entering their info into Crowdsource Rescue for folks who are homebound to see if they have a volunteer who can deliver help. It’s not hard and I can walk you through it if you want. There is also a Slack Group, too: https://join.slack.com/t/pbp-volunteers/shared_invite/zt-lgaxpu0n-gjSIPNLNVsNuWuafzipFiQ This will likely be ongoing for days. People are so appreciative just to get a call! News  The big news is the increasing spread of mutations–especially the B117, which also seems to infect kids more readily….

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #122 2/18/21

By Judy Stone | February 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. Happy to continue to answer your questions/concerns as best I can, so don’t be shy about that. New post:  Covid-19 Vaccines And Autoimmune Disease https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2021/02/17/covid-19-vaccines-and-autoimmune-disease/?sh=6431ccdc4892 News  Thousands of the world’s most trusted brands—including Pepsi, Starbucks, Comcast, Verizon, Marriott, and even the CDC—have funded COVID-19 misinformation, including Chinese and Russian propaganda websites Throughout the pandemic, many of the world’s largest and most trusted brands have been financially supporting misinformation about COVID-19, placing thousands of programmatic advertisements on websites that have published falsehoods and conspiracy theories about the pandemic, undermining public health efforts. From February of 2020 through today, 4,315 brands ran over 42,000 unique ads on websites flagged for publishing COVID-19 falsehoods at NewsGuard’s Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center, likely accounting for millions or tens of millions of ad impressions financed by ad dollars spent on those websites. https://www.newsguardtech.com/special-report-advertising-on-covid-19-misinformation/?utm_source= ~ ~ ~ Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent lack of testing. Drugs and Vaccines:…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #121 2/14/21

By Judy Stone | February 14, 2021 | 1 Comment

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 Did Convalescent Plasma for COVID-19 Unleash Viral Mutation? https://link.broadcaster3.medpagetoday.com/click/22882587.131202/ ~ ~ ~ Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent lack of rapid, accurate testing. FDA Authorizes Use of SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization Antibody Test in Convalescent Plasma Screening the cPass™ kit can assess both prior exposure and the presence of neutralizing antibodies in convalescent [or vaccinated] patients ~ ~ ~ Scent detection dogs can identify individuals infected w COVID-19 In a recent article in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, authors gathered previously published research to summarize current thinking on the feasibility and efficacy of using scent detection dogs to screen for the COVID-19 virus. The researchers report that sensitivity, specificity, and overall success rates reported by the canine scent detection studies are comparable or better than the standard RT-PCR and antigen testing procedures. These findings indicate…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #120 2/11/21

By Judy Stone | February 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  The vaccine rollout cont to be a colossal sh*t show. How did Walgreen’s get the contract? We went from showing appts but then being unable to schedule a few days ago to this, the past 2 days: Walgreen’s saying that an ill 96 yo doesn’t qualify, adding that they follow state eligibility requirements. Lies! I was so angry yesterday that I tweeted this: After hours of calls and refreshing various sites, we (multiple people were trying) finally scored an appointment for Kitty! So unfair to elderly, poor, people who are not tech savvy or can’t stay online for hours. KETV’s Emily Tencer picked up the story; nice human interest focus on Kati, but doesn’t fully capture how awful this system is or what we went through. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiqfW6Heq-A ~ ~ ~ Mutations The B117…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #119 2/7/21

By Judy Stone | February 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. News  ~ ~ ~ How’s your day going? This incompetent rollout of Covid vaccine is inhumane and so unfair to elderly, poor, or those without computer access or skills. One example: Diagnostics: still an incredible, negligent lack of testing. Controversies continue over testing strategies: Daily COVID tests have stagnated in the U.S. since a high of 2 million in mid-January, and this is a problem. (The Atlantic) and ‘A waste of money’: The home Covid-19 test funded by the Biden administration is too costly and complex, critics say https://statnews.us11.list-manage.com/track/click?u=f8609630ae206654824f897b6&id=de32798250&e=f4c6ea30a0 Drugs and Vaccines: FDA experts to meet Feb 26 re EUA on J&J vaccine When Johnson & Johnson reported last week that its vaccine was, on average, 66% efficacious at blocking moderate and severe disease — a figure that ticked up to 72% when just looking at…

Read More

Coronavirus Tidbits #118 2/3/21

By Judy Stone | February 3, 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  ~ ~ ~ Subset of COVID-19 patients have increased bleeding risk A new potential biomarker raises concerns over the current standard for treating COVID-19 induced blood clots with high dose blood thinners. Research has found that patients with COVID-19 are prone to serious blood clotting. This is why many patients receive high dose anticoagulants as part of their treatment. But a new study in Scientific Reports, led by senior author Daniel Lawrence, Ph.D., a Professor of Basic Research in Cardiovascular Medicine at Michigan Medicine, found that aside from this heightened clotting risk, some COVID-19 patients have an unbalanced ability to break down clots as well, which is linked to a potential clinical biomarker seen in later stages of the disease. This abnormal process of breaking down clots can contribute to a high bleeding risk, raising…

Read More