Category Archives: Science – General

General Public health and other interesting cross-topic subjects.

Why Don’t Bats Get Ebola?

Scientific American Blog Anna Fagre 18 July 2016

Ebola, rabies, SARS, Nipah, and MERS-CoV all have something in common. They are all viruses, spread by bats, that often cause lethal disease in humans—the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak killed over 11,000 people1—yet they don’t sicken or kill their bat hosts.

So what is it about bats that allow them to act as reservoirs for over 60 human pathogens?   Part of my work focuses on this – digging in to the genome of these new viruses to investigate how closely related they may be to known viruses that infect humans.

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We need to talk about the bad science being funded

The Conversation Simon Gandevia 19 July 2016

A report on the issue, published in Nature this May, found that about 90% of some 1,576 researchers surveyed now believe there is a reproducibility crisis in science.  Spectacular failures to replicate key scientific findings have been documented of late, particularly in biology, psychology and medicine.

One contributing factor is easily identified. It is the high rate of so-called false discoveries in the literature. They are false-positive findings and lead to the erroneous perception that a definitive scientific discovery has been made.

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The 7 biggest problems facing science, according to 270 scientists

Vox Julia Belluz, Brad Plumer, Brian Resnick 14 July 2016

In the past several years, many scientists have become afflicted with a serious case of doubt — doubt in the very institution of science.

As reporters covering medicine, psychology, climate change, and other areas of research, we wanted to understand this epidemic of doubt. So we sent scientists a survey asking this simple question: If you could change one thing about how science works today, what would it be and why?

Today, scientists’ success often isn’t measured by the quality of their questions or the rigor of their methods. It’s instead measured by how much grant money they win, the number of studies they publish, and how they spin their findings to appeal to the public.

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Zika epidemic likely to end within three years

Science Daily 14 July 2016

The current Zika epidemic in Latin America is likely to burn itself out within three years, suggests new research. The Zika virus is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, but the team cautioned any large-scale government programs to target the mosquitoes may have limited impact.

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Why the health scheme for coal workers is inadequate to detect black lung

The Conversation Malcolm Sim 15 July 2016

A review for the Queensland government on the health assessment of miners has identified serious deficiencies at virtually all levels of the scheme.   The review found several major deficiencies. These include:

  • a lack of appropriate training for doctors working within the scheme and a standardised process of deciding who should have chest x-rays
  • poor-quality tests to measure the functioning of the lungs
  • radiologists not being informed what they’re looking for in chest x-rays
  • inadequate data collection
  • a lack of clinical guidelines for when follow-up tests and specialist referral are necessary.

A key original purpose of the health assessments was to identify early stages of black lung in any affected coal miners so that measures could be put in place to reduce coal dust exposure. In more recent years, this purpose has been lost. The prime focus of the health assessments has instead become a pre-employment medical assessment.

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Antibiotic overuse prescription for danger warns departing chief medical officer Chris Baggoley

Sydney Morning Herald Stephen Jeffery 17 July 2016

Australia’s outgoing medical chief says the country faces “extraordinary” economic and health impacts if it continues to overuse antibiotics.

Professor Chris Baggoley, who retired as the nation’s chief medical officer on Friday, said the unnecessary prescription of antibiotics for viral illnesses remained at high levels in Australia, risking the spread of medication-resistant bacterial infections.

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Study: Gut bacteria can cause, predict and prevent rheumatoid arthritis

(Mayo Clinic11 July 2016) The bacteria in your gut do more than break down your food. They also can predict susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis, suggests Veena Taneja, Ph.D., an immunologist at Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine.

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