The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

During the late teens and early 20’s of the last century, the War to end all wars (a misnomer if there ever was one) had ended, and the Spanish Flu (that originated in Kansas) had run its devastating course. Perhaps no period in American history saw such abrupt changes to society as the period of the …

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The (Not so) Spanish Flu, and How it Became the Deadliest Epidemic in Modern Time.

I had a little bird, its name was Enza. I opened the window, and in flew Enza.      ~Children’s rhyme of 1917 In early March 2018 a mess cook at an Army base in Kansas reported to the infirmary complaining of sore throat, headache, and fever. After being checked over, the doctor could find no …

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The Eradication of Smallpox and the Helper T-Cells

In May of 1980, the World Health Organization (WHO) pronounced, after two centuries, that the fight against smallpox had ended. This meant that there were no known cases of the disease anywhere on the planet. Many other infectious diseases have returned from the brink of extinction, but few have been so deadly as the only …

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On Being a Disease Detective

  Recently, I was asked what a disease detective did. While I considered my response, a situation came to mind from a few years back that captured the process perfectly. The following events are true, the names of been changed to protect the innocent, namely me. Shifu: This can't be right, it must be a …

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Opinions are Not Facts, and Things are seldom as they first appear.

“The rise of childhood obesity has placed the health of an entire generation at risk.” ~Tom Vilsack  Often of late, we hear non-experts make sweeping pronouncements on subjects from healthcare and education to socioeconomics. Seldom do they add anything to the conversation, instead muddying the already perturbed waters. While we certainly cannot fault someone for …

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Cyclospora Infection: What it is, where it came from, and why you want to avoid it.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued warnings concerning infection by a parasitic protozoan named Cyclospora cayetanensis. This pathogen was first identified in the late 1970s, making it a relative newcomer in the realm of human misery. The protozoan was first identified as a form of blue-green algae, and later as a …

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On Inference, Causation, Correlation, and Association: How Scientists Assign Outcomes of Research, and why it is Important.

Thanks to my friend and associate Michael Lo for his input on this. Recently, the media seems intent on furthering the scientific ignorance that seems to be rampant in American culture. From Alternative facts to inconvenient truths, science is taking a beating at the hands of pseudoscientists, politicians, and others who have no business making …

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