Category Archives: Medicine

Nobel Prizes for discovery of anti parasite and anti protozoal drugs

Good news, people out there doing good work.

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Starve a cold feed a fever, take meds for fever–well not so fast

Fever is a defense mechanism, treating fever is treating the mom mostly but it does reduce the achy miserable feeling and reduces fluid loss.

Treat the symptoms–allow the fever if the person or child is not too fussy and miserable.

Sudden onset of high fever causes a benign siezure called febrile seizures that scares the beejesus out of parents. Kids prone to febrile seizures should be monitored for fever just to avoid the scares, until they outgrow their tendency.

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Leon Gordis, MD MPH Dr. PH, giant of public health epidemiology, former Chair at Johns Ho;pkins, dies RIP great one

I have an intense admiration for Leon Gordis, because he taught me the rules of epidemiology.

Hie work is forever, for many reasons, one reason is that he was one of the three authors of the Federal Judicial Center’s Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence chapter on Epidemiology for all three editions, 1994, 2000 and 2011. The Reference Manual was organized and published to educate Judges on their role as gatekeepers of reliable scientific evidence and testimony in the federal courtrooms.

Dr. Gordis taught me so much about how to deal with population studies and evaluate methodology for proving up toxicity and benefits. He taught me the limits of observational studies, used so much by the Public Health and social sciences communities.

Too bad his students, or colleagues who have been active and influential on air pollution issues in the EPA didn’t learn anything or forgot everything he taught them about the weaknesses of observational population studies, the importance of a simple thing like the importance of robust associations. The fraud of putting up observational studies as though they were randomized controlled trials and could be trusted for reliable small associations.

I have a friend, colleague, fellow emergency physician, Clyde Turner, (Col. Ret. US Army)who got an MPH at Johns Hopkins, I think probably when he was working at the Pentagon, just up the road. Clyde was a student of Leon Gordis, when we talked about Gordis he had vivid memories of Gordis and his energetic teaching. Clyde sent me the announcement sent out to former students, friends and colleagues by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Dept. of Epidemiology.

Here it is:

Department of Epidemiology

October 3, 2015

Dear Clyde,

It is with great sadness that I write to share with you the passing of one of our school’s most venerated educators – Leon Gordis, MD, MPH ‘66, DrPH ‘68, Professor and former Chair (1975-93) died on September 7, 2015, at Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital in New York at the age of 81 years.
Almost all students at the school between 1975 and 2008 learned about epidemiology from Dr. Gordis. And we all have a very healthy fear of egg and tuna salad to show for it! His humor and patient, clear descriptions of the principles underlying epidemiology made this foundational course a central part of our education. Leon taught legions of public health and medical students epidemiology for 30+ years, and he continued to teach in our Summer Institute until five years ago. He will be deeply missed but his passion for epidemiology and, indeed, for pedagogy, lives on in all the students whose lives and minds he touched.

To learn more about Dr. Gordis and his career, his impact, and his legacy click here:

Over the past two weeks I have received many calls and emails from alumni asking how they can make a donation in honor of Dr. Gordis. Contributions to honor and remember Dr. Gordis may be made to the Leon Gordis Memorial Fund at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Funds donated in honor of Dr. Gordis will be used to enhance and expand the teaching opportunities for doctoral students in the Department of Epidemiology.

To join me and Jon Samet in making a gift to honor and remember Dr. Gordis, click here:

Of note, Moyses Szklo is heading a planning committee for a symposium to honor and remember Dr. Gordis. It will take place at the Bloomberg School in the spring of 2016. More details to come.

Kind regards,

Heroin ODs are often polysubstance ODs–big surprise?

This isn’t exactly new, but worth revisiting–many of the Heroin OD deaths had some other stuff on board–even just alcohol.

There are additive effects of central nervous system depressants.

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Gut Flora as a “vaccine” to reduce hypersensitivity and asthma–the Hygiene theory get’s some support

Paul Driessen saw this WSJ discussion of gut flora and asthma. It relates to the hygiene theory that exposure at a young age to allergens reduces hypersensitivity and allergic disease, including asthma.

I would second that motion. Anyone who knows asthmatics and allergies knows that desensitization is one way to reduce the severity of the allergic phenomena.

A very clean environment can cause a hypersensitive child, then adult, goes the theory. Expose yourself to dirt and bacteria and allergens, reduce your sensitivity.

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Hookworms reduce auto immune diseases?

The idea is that they release an inhibitor substance to reduce the body’s tendency to reject the hookworms.

And the hope is that it might be an inhibitor that reduces autoimmune disorders that are sometimes devastating like Celiac Sprue, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Dermatomyositis, Scleroderma.

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British study of healthy smokers reveals what we knew

What we knew, as serious students of medicine and toxicology, is that a toxin has a threshold for causing injury and the subject has a profile of variable susceptibility that changes the threshold.

Clearly those two factors interact and result in an expression of the toxic effects that varies. Continue reading