Recent quotes:

Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous | Building an AA fellowship anytime, from anywhere, for everyone

The first AA meetings online used Bulletin Boards and were around 1986. Email groups started forming in the early nineties and the development of the worldwide internet rapidly fueled the growth and variety of groups. The first online AA group, Lamp-lighters, was formed in 1990, and has met by email continuously since then. Now there are hundreds of AA groups with thousands of members, connected together through this Online Intergroup. Using various mechanisms such as video conferencing, phone conferencing, message boards, email listserve, and chatrooms; the AA community is constantly connecting and finding new, creative ways to communicate the experience, strength and hope of recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Artificial intelligence in longevity medicine | Nature Aging

In order for these tools to be adopted by clinicians and accepted by the medical community, they need to be integrated into the current framework of clinical practice, ranging from primary through to secondary prevention, treatment and monitoring. Such integration requires the convergence of modern AI and medicine through a symbiotic collaboration between clinicians, geroscientists and AI researchers. Physicians should be encouraged and have the chance to be involved in AI-based longevity research. At the same time, AI-powered longevity biotechnology and AI-based biomarker-driven science should be promoted and seek close clinical and metaclinical collaborations. Doctors first need to have the access to tailored, validated and credible education on AI-based biogerontology sciences, such as accredited courses, that would further allow longevity physicians to build their networks and ultimately create a separate medical discipline. A basic knowledge of AI-driven geroscience is essential to bring relevant scientific discoveries to trials, and study outcomes to the clinic.

Vaccinology in the post−COVID-19 era | PNAS

Reverse vaccinology, structural vaccinology, synthetic biology, and vaccine adjuvants, that so far had been used independently to develop vaccines, were combined in an unprecedented worldwide effort to design and develop COVID-19 vaccines.

Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine - The Atlantic

Facebook is an agent of government propaganda, targeted harassment, terrorist recruitment, emotional manipulation, and genocide—a world-historic weapon that lives not underground, but in a Disneyland-inspired campus in Menlo Park, California.

Maybe Freedom is Having No Followers to Lose - Insight

One of the reasons for this discrepancy is that, on social media, the dynamic for in-group status assertions and status competition is strong—and getting stronger for this topic as the pandemic rages on. I’m no stranger to this dynamic, as it is something that’s very common among social movements (something I’ve studied at length) and, well, pretty much any human group. Who’s in and who’s out of the group is a key force for group-based species like ours and thus “stay-in-your-lane” assertions and wagon-circling against criticisms from perceived outsiders is forceful in any human group or profession. As the pandemic progresses, and as the field feels more and more under attack (and much of it quite unfair and terrible) the dynamic strengthens, often to the detriment of the field.

The Corruption of Evidence Based Medicine — Killing for Profit | by Dr. Jason Fung | Medium

“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful”

Coca-Cola’s work with academics was a “low point in history of public health” | The BMJ

An analysis of thousands of emails has shown the extent to which Coca-Cola sought to obscure its relationship with scientists, minimise perception of its role, and use researchers to promote industry friendly messaging. The findings represented a “low point in the history of public health,” said one of the authors. Academics the UK and Italy worked with US Right to Know, an investigative public health and consumer group, to obtain and analyse more than 18 000 pages of email correspondence between the Coca-Cola Company, West Virginia University, and the University of Colorado.1 Both universities were part of a “front group” funded by Coca-Cola called the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), a global network of scientists1 said to have been created by Coke to downplay links between obesity and sugary drinks.2

Bill Moyers and Heather Cox Richardson on Her Daily Letters – BillMoyers.com

They were absolutely not trying to do anything other than create a narrative to be edited. They were looking for sound bites to edit into their own story. And that, the realization, I still remember I was driving my car and listening to it. And all of a sudden, I thought, they’re not even trying to participate in this system. You can sort of assume that politicians will skew things in their direction. That’s fine. That’s the way the system works. But you could tell they didn’t care. They didn’t care what the truth was. They didn’t care about getting to what had happened. All they cared about was getting sound bites so that they could cut them into a video that they could convince people of something that wasn’t true. And I found that the most chilling moment of this entire episode of the last four years. The realization that elected representatives weren’t even trying to spin things. They were simply trying to write their own reality.

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.

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.

21st Century Physician: Triaging the Tsunami of Medical Information

CME run by experts taking tens of thousands of dollars from the sponsoring company isn't going to do it for you. The FDA stamp of approval doesn't mean what it used to. This is the job of the 21st century physician. Participate in the discussion. Timing is everything because of what happens in the hours and the days after the results drop. Doctors will be talking about this paper. The first volley will be on Twitter. Follow doctors, statisticians, patients, and others in cancer medicine, and see what they think of the study in real time. Days later, blogs and podcasts will discuss the topic. My podcast Plenary Session attempts to take a deep dive on at least one oncology paper each week. Some of these posts will be more insightful, fresh, interesting, and thoughtful than the editorial that accompanies the original study. […]At first, it's okay to simply listen to others on social media, but over time, muster the courage to chime in. If you think a trial is good, give your 2 cents and say why. What's stopping you? If you get corrected, so much the better—it's how we learn.

21st Century Physician: Triaging the Tsunami of Medical Information

Participate in the discussion. Timing is everything because of what happens in the hours and the days after the results drop. Doctors will be talking about this paper. The first volley will be on Twitter. Follow doctors, statisticians, patients, and others in cancer medicine, and see what they think of the study in real time. Days later, blogs and podcasts will discuss the topic. My podcast Plenary Session attempts to take a deep dive on at least one oncology paper each week. Some of these posts will be more insightful, fresh, interesting, and thoughtful than the editorial that accompanies the original study.[…] At first, it's okay to simply listen to others on social media, but over time, muster the courage to chime in. If you think a trial is good, give your 2 cents and say why. What's stopping you? If you get corrected, so much the better—it's how we learn.

Biotech millionaire funds free drugs for ultra-rare diseases

Patients will connect to n-Lorem via academics working through the Undiagnosed Diseases Network and beyond. The foundation will identify eligible patients and Ionis will develop the ASOs, perform preclinical testing and submit Investigational New Drug (IND) applications along with investigators. To formalize the ASO development process, Ionis will need buy-in from regulators. The usual safety studies will necessarily apply, and Arthur Krieg, a cofounder of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society, says the largest cost in developing therapies is toxicology studies. “This is where it will be tough for FDA and academic medical centers: how far back can we safely cut? You don’t want to endanger patients.” Given the frequently dire circumstances of ultra-rare disease patients, n-Lorem is counting on flexibility from the FDA when it comes to preclinical requirements, which would save both time and cost. But it is unclear what that flexibility would entail. Crooke’s early interactions with the FDA gave him a “general sense” that toxicology testing requirements would be manageable but expects it will be some time before he receives definitive answers from the agency.

The Truth About “Dramatic Action” | China Media Project

The scientific results could not be clearer, and the authorities likely had a decent grasp of the real situation. But nevertheless they could not speak the truth, and they spared no effort in keeping the outbreak under wraps. Front-line doctors who spoke up about the outbreak were taken in for questioning. Eight Wuhan citizens who dared to post about the outbreak online were summoned by the police and singled out in public announcements through official media in order to terrify the public and force people to remain quiet.

The Truth About “Dramatic Action” | China Media Project

China is a society closely monitored by the government, and the shadow of Big Brother is everywhere. Social media in particular are subject to very close surveillance. So when the authorities detected chatter about the re-emergence of SARS, or of a similar unknown outbreak, they took two major steps initially. First, they tried to ensure that this new outbreak remained a secret; second, they put the stability preservation system into effect (启动稳控机制). On December 30, the Wuhan Health Commission (武汉市卫建委) issued an order to hospitals, clinics and other healthcare units strictly prohibiting the release of any information about treatment of this new disease. As late as December 31, the government in Wuhan was still saying publicly that there were no cases of human-to-human transmission, and that no medical personnel had become infected.

The role of social media in cardiology - ScienceDirect

Social media may offer a way to distinguish and disseminate medical information much more rapidly. A few examples show the speed with which digital media can influence patient care.

Xsens DOT

The Xsens DOT provides endless application possibilities. The platform comes fully equipped with a mobile SDK for Android and iOS. So you have everything you need to build a commercially attractive application which is super easy to integrate.

CES 2020: The Withings ScanWatch Says It Can Detect Sleep Apnea

Getting FDA clearance is big—it certainly lent credibility to the Series 4's ability to read ECGs. But it’s also a gamble. Unless you’re Apple, getting the FDA to clear a product can take months—which is exactly what happened to the Withings Move ECG last year. Despite being announced in January 2019, the watch got stuck in regulation hell. It finally became available in Europe in September, and as of this writing, it’s still not available in the U.S. While it’s admirable that Withings is sticking to its guns with the ScanWatch, there’s a real chance we won’t see it for months. Maybe even years.

What Twitter teaches us about patient-provider communication on pain

We found that on Twitter, pain patients and providers appear to interact less than oncology patients and providers. Pain patients do not appear to follow medical professionals or share medical or health-related information on Twitter to the same extent as oncology patients. In addition, we found that pain patients do not communicate on Twitter in the same language as HCPs.

Doctors Prescribe More of a Drug If They Receive Money from a Pharma Company Tied to It — ProPublica

On average, across all drugs, providers who received payments specifically tied to a drug prescribed it 58% more than providers who did not receive payments.

Would we have film noire without corridors?

oger Luckhurst’s ambitious and consistently informative cultural history of the corridor makes brief mention of The Maltese Falcon in accounting for film noir’s preoccupation with bleakly anonymous lobbies, passages and hallways. But it’s not the skills and attitudes required to negotiate these spaces that interest Luckhurst. In his view, corridors have a meaning rather than a function. Film noir, he says, set out to ‘interpret’ lobbies, passages and hallways as an index to modern alienation. This is emphatically a cultural rather than an architectural history. Literature, film, TV and other media are called on to elucidate meaning.

What These Medical Journals Don’t Reveal: Top Doctors’ Ties to Industry - The New York Times

“The system is broken,” said Dr. Mehraneh Dorna Jafari, an assistant professor of surgery at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. She and her colleagues published a study in August that found that, of the 100 doctors who received the most compensation from device makers in 2015, conflicts were disclosed in only 37 percent of the articles published in the next year. “The journals aren’t checking and the rules are different for every single thing.”

The medium is the medicine: a novel history

Doctors were early adopters of automobiles, writes Starr. The Journal of the American Medical Association published several auto supplements between 1906 and 1912. Doctors reported that, compared with a horse, house calls using a car took half as much time and were 60% cheaper. (In Arrowsmith, Sinclair Lewis’ satire of medicine, the eponymous protagonist’s best friend leaves med school in 1908 to sell cars, and a med school professor advises students that patients’ tonsils are essentially a currency for acquiring an automobile.)

Gilead, LGBTQ community ask Facebook to remove misleading PrEP ads | FiercePharma

More than 50 organizations involved with LGBTQ advocacy, public health and HIV/AIDS prevention have co-signed a letter to Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to take down “dangerous and misleading” ads on Facebook and Instagram. By not doing anything, the social media companies are harming public health, the groups contend. Gilead, which makes HIV prevention drugs Truvada and Descovy, agrees with the effort and applauds the organizations standing up for their communities, it said. “We join calls to have any misleading advertisements related to Gilead’s HIV medications removed from Facebook," it added in a statement.

Abbott Labs kills free tool that lets you own the blood-sugar data from your glucose monitor, saying it violates copyright law / Boing Boing

First, they say that creating a tool that interoperates with the Freestyle Libre's data is a copyright infringement, because the new code is a derivative work of Abbott's existing product. But code that can operate on another program's data is not a derivative work of the first program -- just because Apple's Pages can read Word docs, it doesn't mean that Pages is a derivative of MS Office. In addition, as Diabettech points out, EU copyright law explicitly contains an exemption for reverse engineering in order to create interoperability between medical devices (EU Software Directive, Article 6). More disturbing is Kirkland/Abbott's claim that the project violates Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prohibits bypassing "access controls" for copyrighted works. Factual data (like your blood sugar levels) are not copyrightable -- and if they were, you would hold that copyright. It's your blood. What's more, DMCA 1201 also contains an interoperability exemption.

Machine learning results: pay attention to what you don't see - STAT

Beyond examining multiple overall metrics of performance for machine learning, we should also assess how tools perform in subgroups as a step toward avoiding bias and discrimination. For example, artificial intelligence-based facial recognition software performed poorly when analyzing darker-skinned women. Many measures of algorithmic fairness center on performance in subgroups. Bias in algorithms has largely not been a focus in health care research. That needs to change. A new study found substantial racial bias against black patients in a commercial algorithm used by many hospitals and other health care systems. Other work developed algorithms to improve fairness for subgroups in health care spending formulas.