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.

Recent quotes:

Screening + Drug Treatment = Increase in Veteran Suicides - Mad In America

There is clear evidence that SSRIs and SNRI antidepressants can provoke suicidal impulses and acts in some users, and the reason is well known. SSRIs and other antidepressants can stir extreme restlessness, agitation, insomnia, severe anxiety, mania and psychotic episodes. The agitation and anxiety, which is clinically described as akathisia, may reach “unbearable” levels, and akathisia is known to be associated with suicide and acts of violence, including homicide.

Eva Amsen, also an ex-scientist, current epic science communicator and Outreach Manager for F1000Research.

Next up, Eva gave an account of how F1000 is pushing the boundaries of the current publishing models by allowing fast publication combined with post-publication peer review. She gave a nice historical overview of publishing, pointing out that since the first publication in 1665, and the first instance of peer review as we currently know it in the mid-20th Century, nothing much has changed about how we publish until recently. Journals used to act as the gatekeepers for science, when research was published in paper issues, and this is what made it restrictive – page limits. Now though, we don’t have those limits thanks to the online world, but still these limits are often still imposed.

Diluting blood plasma rejuvenates tissue, reverses aging in mice | Berkeley News

In the study, the team found that replacing half of the blood plasma of old mice with a mixture of saline and albumin — where the albumin simply replaces protein that was lost when the original blood plasma was removed — has the same or stronger rejuvenation effects on the brain, liver and muscle than pairing with young mice or young blood exchange. Performing the same procedure on young mice had no detrimental effects on their health.

Scholarly publishing is broken. Here’s how to fix it | Aeon Ideas

Researchers are still forced to write ‘papers’ for these journals, a communication format designed in the 17th century. Now, in a world where the power of web-based social networks is revolutionising almost every other industry, researchers need to take back control.

Is the 'blockchain revolution' coming for science? GT&V

Blockchain-based services, and those based on similar technology, are what we call ‘decentralised’. This means that services and power/control are taken from a single point and distributed across numerous local points instead. This means that there is no single point of failure, and that services/control become owned by community-based structures instead. Can you imagine legacy publishers like Wiley, Elsevier, and SpringerNature being too happy with that? I can’t. Elsevier, and others like Digital Science, are trying to pull researchers into a system where they control the entire research workflow, from data collection all the way through to evaluation (more on this here). Great for business, bad for science, and especially scientific freedom – a basic co-opting of ‘open science’. Decentralised services, therefore, provide an alternative to this, and a highly disruptive potential.

DEMAND CHEMICAL IMBALANCE RETRACTION: Round One: The Most Absurd "Chemical Imbalance" Quote

There's almost 200 quotes on this page so far. In efforts to find the most preposterous I need your help. Over the next few weeks I'll be wanting you to vote. There will be a cut-off point for each post. I have included the Twitter/Facebook link for each of the individuals. If you want to ask them to join in then please feel free to contact them. This will give them an opportunity to retract their claim or not, as the case may be.

Richard Smith: Psychiatry in crisis? - The BMJ

Dutch psychiatrists, it was explained to me, are feeling vulnerable because there are too many of them. They have two treatments to offer–drugs and psychotherapy. But the Netherlands has many clinical psychologists, and they have taken over the psychotherapy. Psychiatrists are left with drugs and anxiety about their future.

Why cancer screening has never been shown to “save lives”—and what we can do about it | The BMJ

Discrepancies between disease specific and overall mortality were found in direction or magnitude in seven of 12 randomised trials of cancer screening.8 Despite reductions in disease specific mortality in the majority of studies, overall mortality was unchanged or increased. In cases where both mortality rates were reduced the improvement was larger in overall mortality than in disease specific mortality. This suggests an imbalance in non-disease specific deaths, which warrants examination and explanation.

Evolution of systems

Food in New York improves from bankruptcy to bankruptcy, rather than the chefs individual learning curves –compare the food quality in mortal restaurants to that in an immortal governmental cafeteria. And in the absence of the filtering of skin in the game, the mechanisms of evolution fail: if someone else dies in your stead, the built up of asymmetric risks and misfitness will cause the system to eventually blow-up.

In telemedicine's time to shine, why are doctors abandoning it? - STAT

Implementing telemedicine isn’t easy. To do it well, a physician practice must buy appropriate technology and train staff and patients to use it. It takes time to help an 80-year-old unfamiliar with technology do a video visit. New workflows must be introduced. If a patient needs a laboratory test, for example, where do you send them? Clinical schedules need to be changed. Documentation protocols must be updated. And on and on.

A pill to fight alcoholism causes an uproar in France

Among the issues they cited was the ANSM decision to approve baclofen before the second study was publicly available. Even before publication, the academics noted the trial sponsor — the Public Assistance Hospital in Paris — touted results in a press release. The hospital also sold study data to Ethypharm, a small company that sought regulatory approval to market the drug, although this was not disclosed in the paper. Curiously, Ethypharm also performed the analysis that was the basis for the ANSM decision. When the Bacloville study was finally published last December, the group of researchers discovered an unexplained change in the primary outcome, a practice that is frowned upon because it can suggest an attempt to achieve desired results. The researchers contend the change in outcomes made it harder to analyze what, if any, difference baclofen had on patients, leading to a bias in favor of the drug. “Biased trials lead to biased decisions, and biased decisions mean that people get treatment that doesn’t work, possibly don’t get treatment that does work, can be harmed by treatment and it costs the health care system more,” said Joel Lexchin, a professor of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto, and one of the researchers who have criticized the Bacloville study.

An Epic Train Trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad Changed My Life - Bloomberg

The conductor, who spoke no English, didn’t seem worried; every day, he lounged shirtless at the car’s entrance, cigarette in hand. Nearby, a sign said “No Smoking” in Russian and English. At last, a European passenger confronted the conductor, miming her dissatisfaction and pointing angrily at the sign. The conductor’s response was also silent: He went inside his berth, produced a screwdriver, and removed the sign from the wall.

Bogus Racism Charge Melts Down Elite Progressive LISTSERV

When anybody defending the accused is automatically accused of the same crime, and any demand for evidence of the charge is seen as an extension of the original crime, you are following the logic of a witch hunt.

Sugary drink tax models show health gains, cost reductions, but vary by tax design -- ScienceDaily

Boston researchers created a nationally representative microsimulation model to test three types of taxation on sugary drinks: a flat "volume tax" by drink volume ($0.01 per ounce), the only type used in U.S. cities to-date; a "tiered sugar content tax" by 3 levels of sugar content (ranging from $0.00 for less than 5 grams of added sugars per 8 ounces, to $0.02 per ounce of added sugars for more than 20 grams of added sugars per 8 ounces); and a "fixed sugar content tax" by absolute sugar content ($0.01 per teaspoon of added sugars, regardless of the number of ounces). Under the simulation scenario, the researchers found all three tax structures would generate tax revenue, lower health care costs and prevent cardiovascular disease events and diabetes cases. However, the tiered tax and sugar content tax could generate the largest health gains and cost savings. Any of the tax designs could be effective public health policy tools that may be able to reduce consumption of sugary drinks, and thus improve health and overall well-being, the researchers noted.

Vitamin D may help prevent a common side effect of anti-cancer immunotherapy -- ScienceDaily

The study included information on 213 patients with melanoma who received immune checkpoint inhibitors between 2011 and 2017. Thirty-seven (17 percent) of these patients developed colitis. Sixty-six patients in the study (31 percent) took vitamin D supplements before starting treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors. Patients who took vitamin D had 65 percent lower odds of developing colitis, after adjustments for confounding factors. These findings were validated in another group of 169 patients, of whom 49 (29 percent) developed colitis. In this validation group, use of vitamin D was linked with 54 percent lower odds of developing colitis.

60 minutes of endurance training is enough to shift body clock in mice -- ScienceDaily

This means that exercise is a cue for setting the clocks in muscles. The researchers determined this by studying mice that ran in different phases of the day: in the middle of their rest phase, an hour before starting their active phase, and in the middle of their active phase. Active and rest phases in mice are equivalent to day and night in humans. They then looked at how the amount of a primary clock protein changed over the course of multiple days following muscle contractions. Their results showed that depending on the timing of contractions the clocks shifted about an hour to either an earlier or later time and that this does not require circulating hormones or the central clock.

Microbes might manage your cholesterol: Researchers discover mysterious bacteria that break down cholesterol in the gut -- ScienceDaily

Then Kenny narrowed their search further. In the lab, he inserted each potential gene into bacteria and tested which made enzymes to break down cholesterol into coprostanol. Eventually, he found the best candidate, which the team named the Intestinal Steroid Metabolism A (IsmA) gene. "We could now correlate the presence or absence of potential bacteria that have these enzymes with blood cholesterol levels collected from the same individuals," said Xavier. Using human microbiome data sets from China, Netherlands and the United States, they discovered that people who carry the IsmA gene in their microbiome had 55 to 75 percent less cholesterol in their stool than those without. "Those who have this enzyme activity basically have lower cholesterol," Xavier said.

Envy coupled with competition divides society into an upper and lower class, game theoretical study shows -- ScienceDaily

Game theory provides the mathematical tools necessary for the modelling of decision situations with several participants, as in Gros' study. In general, constellations in which the decision strategies of the individual actors mutually influence each other are particularly revealing. The success of the individual depends then not only on his or her own actions, but on others' actions as well, which is typical of both economic and social contexts. Game theory is consequently firmly anchored in the economy. The stability condition of game theory, the "Nash equilibrium," is a concept developed by John Forbes Nash in his dissertation in 1950, using the example of poker players. It states that in equilibrium no player has anything to gain by changing their strategy if the other players do not change theirs either. An individual only tries out new behaviour patterns if there is a potential gain. Since this causal chain also applies to evolutionary processes, the evolutionary and behavioural sciences regularly fall back on game theoretical models, for example when researching animal behaviours such as the migratory flight routes of birds, or their competition for nesting sites. Even in an envy-induced class society there is no incentive for an individual to change his or her strategy, according to Gros. It is therefore Nash stable. In the divided envy society there is a marked difference in income between the upper and lower class which is the same for all members of each social class. Typical for the members of the lower class is, according to Gros, that they spend their time on a series of different activities, something game theory terms a "mixed strategy." Members of the upper class, however, concentrate on a single task, i.e., they pursue a "pure strategy." It is also striking that the upper class can choose between various options while the lower class only has access to a single mixed strategy. "The upper class is therefore individualistic, while agents in the lower class are lost in the crowd, so to speak," the physicist sums up.

Police violence as a symptom

The problem is an economic and political system that has by design created a nation of serfs and obscenely rich masters. The problem is deindustrialization, offshoring of manufacturing, automation and austerity programs that allow families to be priced out of our for-profit healthcare system and see nearly one in five children 12 and younger without enough to eat. The problem is an electoral system that is legalized bribery designed to serve a tiny, unaccountable cabal of oligarchs that engage in legalized tax boycotts, deregulation, theft and financial fraud. The problem is that at least half of the working class and working poor, a figure growing exponentially as the pandemic swells the ranks of the unemployed, have been cast aside as human refuse and are being sacrificed on the altar of profit as the country reopens for business and the pandemic crashes in wave after wave on front line workers. The problem is the diversion of state resources, including over half all federal discretionary spending, to an unaccountable military machine that wages endless and futile wars overseas, the savage face of white supremacy beyond our border. This military machine perfects its brutal tactics and tools for control on people of color in the Middle East, as it did in other eras in Vietnam, Latin America and the Philippines. It passes on this knowledge, along with its surplus equipment, including sophisticated equipment for wholesale surveillance, drones, heavily armed SWAT teams, grenade launchers and armored vehicles, to police at home. Smashing down a door and terrorizing a family in a night police raid in Detroit looks no different from a night raid carried out against an Afghan family by Army Rangers in Kandahar. Empires eventually consume themselves. Thucydides wrote of the Athenian empire that the tyranny it imposed on others it finally imposed on itself.

Is Venture Capital Worth the Risk?  | The New Yorker

In 1958, Congress passed an act designed to encourage small-business investments and loans. If a small-business investment company could raise a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, the government would match those funds and lend more at a low rate, bringing the fund to at least four hundred and fifty thousand dollars (nearly four million in current dollars). These investors received tax advantages, too. The lure invited fraud, and the fund-matching program was brought to an end.

Rupert Beale · Short Cuts: How to Block Spike · LRB 21 May 2020

There are four ‘seasonal’ coronaviruses – 229E, OC43, NL63 and HKU1 – that cause mild disease in nearly everyone, only occasionally causing pneumonia. They can be given to healthy volunteers to study the immune response. They cause the ‘common cold’, and in experimentally infected humans they give rise to an antibody response. That response wanes after a few months, and the same people can be experimentally reinfected, though they tend to get milder symptoms the second time round. It is thought that adults get reinfected on average about once every five years. Sars-CoV-2 causes mild disease in most cases, and gives rise to antibody responses in nearly all cases. We don’t know how long these responses will last, but it is likely that people who suffer only mild disease will be susceptible to reinfection after a few months or years. Humanity has never developed ‘herd immunity’ to any coronavirus, and it’s unlikely that Sars-CoV-2 infection will be any different. If we did nothing, a likely possibility is that Covid-19 would become a recurring plague. We don’t know yet. It may have seemed like an aeon, but we have been aware of this virus for only a few months.

John Lanchester · Maigret’s Room: The Home Life of Inspector Maigret · LRB 4 June 2020

The writing method was as extraordinary as the books. A Maigret novel came on Simenon like an illness: he would feel the pressure of an idea building to a point where he had no choice but to write it. At that stage he would go to his doctor for a check-up, then shut himself up in a room and write flat out until the novel was finished. This would take around seven days, plus two for revision. Each book is a delirium, a sweatbox, a spell trapped on a desert island. The bizarre thing is that for Simenon they may also have represented a welcome easing-off and slackening of the pace: during the hack period of his early twenties, he would work every day until he had written eighty typed pages. Then he’d throw up. That’s how you write 150 books in seven years.

News by the ton: 75 years of US advertising — Benedict Evans

Newspapers are, yes, a content business, but they were also a light manufacturing business, and it was the replacement of light manufacturing and trucking with bits that removed the barrier to entry and unbundled their attention. So, here’s what that business looks like. In 2018, the US newspaper industry shipped ~2.5m tons of newspaper, down from 12.5m tons at its peak.

Muscles support a strong immune system -- ScienceDaily

"If the T-cells, which actively fight the infection, lose their full functionality through continuous stimulation, the precursor cells can migrate from the muscles and develop into functional T-cells," said Jingxia Wu, lead author of the study. "This enables the immune system to fight the virus continuously over a long period." So could regular training strengthen the immune system? "In our study, mice with more muscle mass were better able to cope with chronic viral infection than those whose muscles were weaker. But whether the results can be transferred to humans, future experiments will have to show," explains Guoliang Cui.

Diluting blood plasma rejuvenates tissue, reverses aging in mice: Plasma exchange could be the key to unlocking the body's regenerative capacities -- ScienceDaily

In the study, the team found that replacing half of the blood plasma of old mice with a mixture of saline and albumin -- where the albumin simply replaces protein that was lost when the original blood plasma was removed -- has the same or stronger rejuvenation effects on the brain, liver and muscle than pairing with young mice or young blood exchange. Performing the same procedure on young mice had no detrimental effects on their health.

Disrupted circadian rhythms linked to later Parkinson's diagnoses: Researchers probe brain's 24-hour biological clock for neurodegenerative risks -- ScienceDaily

The scientists said their discovery of the link between circadian rhythms and Parkinson's -- a disease characterized by loss of control over movement, balance and other brain functions -- suggests these circadian disruptions may reflect neurodegenerative disease processes already affecting the brain's internal clock well before a Parkinson's diagnosis, and that they could be considered an early warning sign of the disease.