henry copeland @hc

Creating https://t.co/yaIkIOcF20, an online toolkit the average person can use for personal (n-of-1) experiments. Way back when: Y84, bond trader, journalist.

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Key opinion leaders — a critical perspective | Nature Reviews Rheumatology

By the mid-1950s, Lazarsfeld’s group had extended their argument into medicine, through a study contracted by Pfizer about the factors that influenced doctors in the USA to adopt a new drug. In this landmark study5, the authors asked the fundamental question that continues to drive every pharmaceutical marketing operation to this day: “What were the social processes that intervened between the initial trials of the drug by a few local innovators and its final use by virtually the whole medical community?” The simple answer: the implementation of a new drug is all about promoting and expanding “the effectiveness of interpersonal relations at each stage of the diffusion process”.

A moratorium on strong recommendations is needed | The BMJ

Medicine is addicted to so-called hopium, an unwarranted confidence in the value of its tests and treatments. Clinicians overestimate their value,1 while experts on guideline panels make strong recommendations about care backed by untrustworthy evidence.2 Rigorous guideline methods can highlight this problem, but they are far from a perfect antidote—it is time for a moratorium on strong recommendations. In a linked paper (doi:10.1136/BMJ-2021-066045),3 Yao and colleagues report that almost half (1246 of 2528) of the recommendations issued by the leading American cardiology and oncology professional societies were strong, “just do it” recommendations.4 About a quarter (354 of these were based on low certainty evidence. Compared to a consensus process, an evidence based guideline process reduced the risk of issuing such inappropriately strong recommendations, but not completely: the evidence based approach produced about a third (105 of 354) of the inappropriately strong recommendations in this study. Most of them simply conveyed the panels’ overconfidence in the benefit of following their recommendation.

The Inflation Miscalculation Complicating Biden’s Agenda - The New York Times

Administration officials overestimated how quickly Americans would start spending money in restaurants and theme parks, and they underestimated how many people wanted to order new cars and couches.

Insulin in the brain influences dopamins levels -- ScienceDaily

Analysis of the study showed that the intranasal administration of insulin lowered dopamine levels and led to changes in the brain's network structure. "The study provides direct evidence of how and where in the brain signals triggered after eating -- such as insulin release and the reward system -- interact," said Professor Martin Heni, last author of the study, summarizing the results. "We were able to show that insulin is able to decrease dopamine levels in the striatum in normal-weight individuals. The insulin-dependent change in dopamine levels was also associated with functional connectivity changes in whoe-brain networks. Changes in this system may be an important driver of obesity and related diseases."

‘Confusing Time’ for Managers Weighing Stock Bubble, Page Says - Bloomberg

If I look at the price-earnings ratio on the S&P 500, it’s in the 99th percentile compared to the last 30 years. But if you think stocks are expensive, have you looked at bonds recently? And if you compare the valuation of stocks -- that PE ratio, and you can invert it and look at the yield, which makes an easier comparison -- with bond yields and in particular real rates -- the yield you get on bonds after inflation -- then you get to the conclusion that it’s in the bottom 1%. So stocks are as cheap as they’ve ever been.

Overdiagnosis: it’s official | The BMJ

“The labeling of a person with a disease or abnormal condition that would not have caused the person harm if left undiscovered, creating new diagnoses by medicalizing ordinary life experiences, or expanding existing diagnoses by lowering thresholds or widening criteria without evidence of improved outcomes. Individuals derive no clinical benefit from overdiagnosis, although they may experience physical, psychological, or financial harm.”

Why Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky Thinks the Home Is the Future of Travel - The Atlantic

The most compelling statistic for me is the number of people who are using Airbnb for long-term stays. Twenty percent of our nights booked now are for 28 days or longer. Half of our stays are for a week or longer. These are big increases from before the pandemic, and I think it’s related to the fact that people don’t have to go back to the office. Another data point we’re seeing is an increase in people traveling with pets, as people are staying longer. Use of the Wi-Fi filter on Airbnb has increased by 55 percent since before the pandemic, so people obviously care more about their Wi-Fi connection, and they want to verify the speed of the internet if they’re doing Zooms. Another data point is that Mondays and Tuesday are the fastest-growing days of the week for travel. More people are treating ordinary weekends like long holiday weekends. This is also part of the flexibility afforded by remote work.

Brain tissue inflammation is key to Alzheimer's disease progression

For the first time ever, the researchers showed in living patients that neuroinflammation—or activation of the brain's resident immune cells, called microglial cells—is not merely a consequence of disease progression; rather, it is a key upstream mechanism that is indispensable for disease development.

Agatston score | Radiology Reference Article | Radiopaedia.org

Agatston score is a semi-automated tool to calculate a score based on the extent of coronary artery calcification detected by an unenhanced low-dose CT scan, which is routinely performed in patients undergoing cardiac CT. Due to an extensive body of research, it allows for early risk stratification as patients with a high Agatston score (>160) have an increased risk for a major adverse cardiac event (MACE) 2. Although it does not allow for the assessment of soft non-calcified plaques, it has shown a good correlation with contrast-enhanced CT coronary angiography 1.

Why Jeff Goldblum Eliminated Caffeine From His Diet - WSJ

Sanford Meisner was my great acting teacher, who I had at a formative stage, just when I graduated high school. On one of the stones of his foundation would be written, “Use what exists,” and that’s an ever-revealing bit of wisdom. I take it to mean, Use what exists all around you, not only when you’re acting but in life, too. Pay attention to the present moment, receive it openly, and don’t resist it. There’s something about whatever surrounds you that’s perfect in some way and, if navigated in a certain way, can teach infinitely.

Anxiety effectively treated with exercise -- ScienceDaily

Most individuals in the treatment groups went from a baseline level of moderate to high anxiety to a low anxiety level after the 12-week program. For those who exercised at relatively low intensity, the chance of improvement in terms of anxiety symptoms rose by a factor of 3.62. The corresponding factor for those who exercised at higher intensity was 4.88. Participants had no knowledge of the physical training or counseling people outside their own group were receiving.

Scammers impersonate guest editors to get sham papers published

Hundreds of articles published in peer-reviewed journals are being retracted after scammers exploited the processes for publishing special issues to get poor-quality papers — sometimes consisting of complete gibberish — into established journals. In some cases, fraudsters posed as scientists and offered to guest-edit issues that they then filled with sham papers.

What sponges can tell us about the evolution of the brain -- ScienceDaily

Sponges use their digestive chambers to filter out food from the water and interact with environmental microbes. To understand what the cells expressing synaptic genes do, the Arendt group joined forces with six EMBL teams as well as collaborators in Europe and worldwide. Working with EMBL's Electron Microscopy Core Facility, Yannick Schwab's team and Thomas Schneider's group operating synchrotron beamlines at EMBL Hamburg the researchers developed a new correlative imaging approach. "By combining electron microscopy with X-ray imaging on a synchrotron beamline we were able to visualize the stunning behaviour of these cells," Dr Schwab explained. The scientists captured three-dimensional snapshots of cells crawling throughout the digestive chamber to clear out bacterial invaders and sending out long arms that enwrap the feeding apparatus of specific digestive cells. This behaviour creates an interface for targeted cell-cell communication, as it also happens across synapses between neuronal cells in our brains.

Experimental depression treatment is nearly 80% effective in controlled study | News Center | Stanford Medicine

In the study, the researchers first used MRI to locate the best location to target within each participant’s dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which regulates executive functions, such as problem solving and inhibiting unwanted responses. They applied the stimulation in a subregion that has the strongest relationship with the subgenual cingulate, a part of the brain that is overactive in people experiencing depression. The transcranial magnetic stimulation strengthens the connection between the two regions, facilitating dorsolateral prefrontal cortex control of the activity in the subgenual cingulate. The researchers also used 1,800 pulses per session instead of 600. (The larger amount has been used safely in other forms of brain stimulation for neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.) And instead of providing one treatment a day, they gave participants 10 10-minute treatments, with 50-minute breaks in between.

PWF | Ludvík Vaculík: Two Thousand Words

The power they wielded was that of a self-willed group spreading out through the party apparatus into every district and community. It was this apparatus that decided what might and might not be done: It ran the cooperative farms for the cooperative farmers, the factories for the workers, and the National Committees for the public. No organizations, not even communist ones, were really controlled by their own members. The chief sin and deception of these rulers was to have explained their own whims as the "will of the workers". Were we to accept this pretense, we would have to blame the workers today for the decline of our economy, for crimes committed against the innocent, and for the introduction of censorship to prevent anyone writing about these things. The workers would be to blame for misconceived investments, for losses suffered in foreign trade, and for the housing shortage. Obviously no sensible person will hold the working class responsible for such things.

PWF | Ludvík Vaculík: Two Thousand Words

Truth is merely what remains when everything else has been frittered away.

A diet of essential amino acids could keep dementia at bay: Consuming Amino LP7, a specific combination of essential amino acids, could inhibit the development of dementia, shows a study from Japan -- ScienceDaily

In a recent study published in Science Advances, Japanese researchers showed that a low protein diet can accelerate brain degeneration in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease. More importantly, they found that Amino LP7 -- a supplement containing seven specific amino acids -- can slow down brain degeneration and dementia development in these animals. Their work expands on previous studies, which have demonstrated the effectiveness of Amino LP7 in improving cognitive function.

The True Foucault | Dissent Magazine

His pronouncements on politics were made in a similar vein. He is commonly associated with a bleak assessment of modern society, in which power, far from being confined to the state and economics, is disseminated through a network of disciplinary institutions—schools, hospitals, social services, asylums, and prisons, among others. Many are familiar with Foucault’s claim that the authority wielded by such entities is derived from their claims to specialized knowledge, which he succinctly dubbed “power-knowledge.” But, to Foucault, this argument was just one part of a broader framework. He relentlessly insisted that, even if power is a pervasive force in our collective lives, it always manifests itself in concrete struggles. He wanted us to see practices such as the military regimentation of bodies or the relationship between therapists and patients as akin to hand-to-hand combat—judo matches, rather than Orwellian thought control. Power is always an effort to control someone’s conduct: finding the right hold, identifying vulnerabilities, creating incentives for compliance.

Intermittent fasting makes fruit flies live longer — will it work for people? -- ScienceDaily

The researchers put their flies on one of four different schedules: 24-hour unrestricted access to food, 12-hour daytime access to food, 24-hour fasting following by 24-hour unrestricted feeding, or what the researchers called intermittent time-restricted fasting or iTRF (20 hours of fasting followed by a recovery day of unlimited feeding). advertisement Among the four eating schedules, only iTRF significantly extended the lifespan -- 18% for females and 13% for males. And the timing of the 20-hour fast was critical: Lifespan increased only for flies that fasted at night and broke their fast around lunchtime. The lifespans of flies that instead fasted all day, eating only at night, did not change.

Mindful breathing for pain control: Like Yin and Yang -- ScienceDaily

"(I was surprised) that both meditative breathing methods decreased pain sensitivity, but oppositely in the brain, like yin and yang," DaSilva said. "One by engaging the brain in an immersive exterior 3D experience of our own breathing, or exteroception -- yang, and the other by focusing on our interior world, interoception -- yin."

U.S. employers added only 194,000 jobs in September as the Delta wave persisted. - The New York Times

The unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent, but that was partly a result of people leaving the labor force entirely — a sign that public health fears and other disruptions from Covid are still keeping people from looking for work.

Prescribed blood thinners can help reduce hospitalizations related to COVID-19, study finds -- ScienceDaily

Published in Lancet's Open Access EClinical Medicine, the study found that: patients on blood thinners before having COVID-19 were admitted less often to the hospital, despite being older and having more chronic medical conditions than their peers; blood thinners -- regardless of if they are being used before being infected with COVID-19 or started when admitted to the hospital for treatment of COVID-19 -- reduce deaths by almost half; and, hospitalized COVID-19 patients benefit from blood thinners regardless of the type or dose of the medication used.

When to break from the herd to make a better decision -- ScienceDaily

Researchers found that when people saw others in their group hesitating before making a choice, they were about twice as likely to break from the group and make a different choice. "When we see other people hesitate before making a choice, that tells us they were conflicted, that they weren't entirely sure they were making the right decision," said Ian Krajbich, co-author of the study and professor of psychology and economics at The Ohio State University. "That makes people less confident in the group consensus and frees them to make decisions based on their own information. That can help groups to escape bad outcomes."

Wiggling worms suggest link between vitamin B12 and Alzheimer's -- ScienceDaily

"The read-out is black or white -- the worms are either moving or they are not," Tanis said. "When we gave vitamin B12 to the worms that were vitamin B12 deficient, paralysis occurred much more slowly, which immediately told us that B12 was beneficial. The worms with B12 also had higher energy levels and lower oxidative stress in their cells."

Why Is Every Young Person in America Watching ‘The Sopranos’? - The New York Times

“Decline not as a romantic, singular, aesthetically breathtaking act of destruction,” he said, but as a humiliating, slow-motion slide down a hill into a puddle of filth. “You don’t flee a burning Rome with your beautiful beloved in your arms, barely escaping a murderous horde of barbarians; you sit down for 18 hours a day, enjoy fewer things than you used to, and take on the worst qualities of your parents while you watch your kids take on the worst qualities of you.”

Brain molecule helps 'wake up' cells that could help tackle MS and similar diseases -- ScienceDaily

Voronova's team is now investigating the remyelination capacity of fractalkine in a mouse model of MS. Voronova also plans to examine whether fractalkine could affect myelination in other neurodegenerative disorders. She added that the immunological nature of fractalkine could also be important for future drug development, as MS and neurodegenerative disorders have a strong immune component.