From The Scientist, 1 October 2019: As droughts go, the one plaguing the antidepressant drug development landscape for the past few decades has been noteworthy. Since the advent of serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors in the 1980s and 1990s, there has been a dearth of new pharmacological therapies for mood disorders, says psychiatrist Samantha Meltzer-Brody, … Continue reading Antidepressant Approvals Could Herald New Era in Psychiatric Drugs
From MIT Technology Review, 8 February 2021: While much of the world is engaged in a frantic scramble to get vaccinated against covid-19, there’s one group noticeably absent from the queues of people at vaccine clinics: children. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is still approved for use only in those aged 16 years or older, and the … Continue reading Why aren’t kids getting vaccinated?
From Nature News, 10 December 2020 Young children account for only a small percentage of COVID-19 infections — a trend that has puzzled scientists. Now, a growing body of evidence suggests why: kids’ immune systems seem better equipped to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 than are adults’. “Children are very much adapted to respond — and very well … Continue reading How kids’ immune systems can evade COVID
From Nature Outlook, 2 December 2020 *: Peter Moore woke up in the middle of the night with his throat so tight he struggled to breathe, his torso covered with huge red welts, and no idea why. Earlier that evening in June 2001, Moore — then a 25-year-old teacher living in a coastal suburb of … Continue reading Cracking the meat-allergy mystery with the tick-bite link
From The Medical Republic, 30 November 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic has so far claimed more than 1.3 million lives, and those are just the deaths we know about. Like the proverbial iceberg, the true scale of pandemic-related mortality is still hidden below the surface. It’s the elderly woman who died of a heart attack because … Continue reading How many people have died from COVID-19?
From Nature News, 18 November 2020: How many people don’t experience any symptoms after becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2? And what is their role in spreading COVID-19? These have been key questions since the beginning of the pandemic. Now, evidence suggests that about one in five infected people will experience no symptoms, and they will transmit … Continue reading What the data say about asymptomatic COVID infections
From The Medical Republic, 28 September 2020: Richard Horton is angry. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, the editor-in-chief of international medical journal The Lancet began receiving messages from frontline healthcare workers. Increasingly terrified and desperate staff with inadequate or no PPE were being sent in to deal with what was clearly a deadly … Continue reading A terrible, terrible failure’: Richard Horton on the COVID-19 response
From The Medical Republic, 16 September 2020 *: Since arriving back in Australia aboard a COVID-19-laden flight from the United Kingdom in late March, there have been several moments when I was convinced we had picked up COVID-19 on the way. During the two weeks we remained in strict quarantine at home, my sense of … Continue reading So you think you’ve had COVID-19?
Since March 25, I have been writing a daily live blog covering COVID-19 for Australian general practitioners, for medical magazine The Medical Republic. It reports on everything from guideline updates to the latest studies, with occasional detours into welcome funny distractions. Check it out here.
From Griffith Review, April 2020: My Nan was an active, outgoing, engaged senior citizen. She gardened, kneeling on a foam pad to protect the skin of her knees and her fragile bones, honeycombed with osteoporosis. She read books, the newspaper, did the crosswords. She looked after her neighbours’ children for an afternoon here and there, … Continue reading Longevity, quality and turning back the clock