Friday, June 2, 2023

Chemo is Weird, Y'all

Been watching this YouTuber, Hank Green, for about 13 years.  (The first video I saw is this one:

A couple of weeks ago he announced that he had lymphoma:

He alternates making youtube videos with his brother John, who wrote the book, "The Fault in Our Stars" which was made into a terrific movie.  John Green appears in a deleted scene of the movie:

Saturday, May 27, 2023

"I looked at the recent bird flu data, and now I'm really scared."

An elderly friend of mine in Salt Lake City died from the flu.

According to the video, there is no pandemic of the Bird Flu right now, but conditions are ripe for one to happen.  It has infected animals close enough to humans for it to have the potential to spread to people.

The video claims that public officials are trying to prevent an outbreak.  It would be good if we could avoid another pandemic.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Does COVID Mess With Your DNA?

What I gather from the video is that the methylation of genes is a natural bodily response to infection. People with long COVID appear to have overly persistent and/or inappropriate methylation leading to chronic inflammation.

Friday, May 19, 2023

You drink this insecticide every day. #shorts #science #SciShow

What's in your fast food chicken sandwich? Seaweed, wood and more

Your Brain Is Shaped Like Nobody Else’s - Nautilus

growing body of research now confirms there are plenty of physical dissimilarities between individual brains, particularly when it comes to white matter—the material nestled beneath the much-prized gray matter. And it's not just anatomical. White matter hosts connections between the brain's sections, like a city's streets and avenues. So behavioral patterns can arise from even small physical differences in white matter, according to a late 2022 Science paperpenned by Forkel and a colleague.1

Thursday, May 4, 2023

"76% of the people in Hong Kong who died of COVID were vaccinated"

There are problems with this idea.  People in Hong Kong don't get the same vaccine as Americans.  Most get the ineffective Chinese vaccine.  You would have to compare the death rates with other people in the world.   

The overall mortality rate in the United States among the unvaccinated has varied from 2 to 10 times as much.

"In January, only about 25% of Hong Kong residents aged 80 and older had been jabbed, with the rate among care home residents even lower. Almost all of those who perished in the fifth wave, about 72%, were unvaccinated."

How the ‘Unvaccinated’ Got It Right

I am disturbed by how every commentator on the political right has turned anti-COVID-vaccine to one degree or enough.  While most are against the vaccine, some think it should only be given to the most vulnerable population because of reported vaccine risk.

The article cherry-picks its data and makes a number of false claims.  It hits every anti-vaccine point that has come up over the last three years and relies on emotional language to make its points.

1. It is not true that the vaccinated die at a higher rate than the unvaccinated.  The data shows so much the opposite that it takes extreme mental gymnastics to come to this conclusion.

The article points to data from the vaccine trial.  The problem with this is that the vaccine trial was given to a wide range of people, including nursing home patients who might have died anyway, so any discussion of the death rate from the initial trial is not proof of anything.

There has been a ton of research after the initial trial.  I have read a number of papers that support the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

I saw one study that indicated that 1 out of a million people might die from the vaccine, usually people with comorbidities.  This is roughly the same risk of death every time you get in a car.  However, the disease has killed 1 out of 92 infected people in the United States, usually people with comorbidities.  Young healthy people have also died from COVID.   Nobody claims that the vaccine is perfectly safe, or effective, but the relative risk is much lower.  One out of every 285 Americans has died from COVID.  I lost a cousin to COVID.

The efficacy of the vaccine has changed as the disease has evolved.  Because of this, many people claim that the government lied to us about the efficacy of the vaccine.  Although the vaccine is now less effective at preventing the disease, the data shows that it is still 97% effective at preventing hospitalization and death.

2.  It is not true that the vaccine is untested.

3.  The vaccine was not tested for stopping the spread of the virus.  

Although initially true, there wasn't time before the Emergency Use Authorization to determine whether the vaccine stopped the spread of the virus.  Most commentators take this to mean that it doesn't.  However, I have read more recent scientific studies that show that vaccinated people are much less likely to spread the disease.

If a member of your family has COVID, wouldn't you prefer that they be vaccinated?  According to at least one study, the vaccinated are less likely to spread the disease to a family member.

4.  The article claims that the vaccine mRNA might not be eliminated inside the body, without offering any proof, further making the unsupported claim that this could harm our health.

It is a well-known medical fact that mRNA is destroyed in less than a second after it is used.  Your body is making and disposing of mRNA every microsecond.

Even if some of the vaccine mRNA stays around, there is no vehicle for the mRNA to enter other cells.  The vaccine needs a lipid delivery mechanism to work.  Once the mRNA enters the cell, it loses this mechanism.

5.  The article claims that there are no long-term vaccine risk studies.

This is most likely true, although it depends upon what you mean by long-term.  There have been more studies on the COVID disease and vaccination than any other disease.

"no long-term side effects have been detected. "

However, the long-term effects of the COVID disease have been severe, with about 11% of the infected getting "long covid".  This can be life-threatening or completely debilitating.

6.  The article claims that the government violated people's civil liberties and engaged in censorship, and this is a good reason to not get vaccinated.

The first part of this statement is true, but it would be like saying that because you live in communist China you should not get vaccinated.  The efficacy and safety of the vaccine is a completely different issue from the oppressive nature of governments.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

What’s next for COVID-19 vaccines? Scientists and regulators chart a course amid uncertainty | Science | AAAS

A case of fatal multi-organ inflammation following COVID-19 vaccination - PMC

"1. Introduction
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines are available worldwide. Since their introduction, post-vaccination deaths have been reported, and their association with the vaccine has been forensically examined [1], [2]. Post-vaccination myocarditis and pericarditis have been increasingly reported, with male adolescents reported to have a higher incidence of pericarditis with a good prognosis, while middle-aged and older patients are more likely to have severe myocarditis. In this study, we report an autopsy case of a 14-year-old girl who died unexpectedly 2 days after receiving the third dose of BNT1262b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

2.4. Diagnosis

A diagnosis of vaccine-related multiple-organ inflammation was made based on the absence of bacterial or viral infection, lack of a past medical history suggestive of autoimmune disease, no allergic reaction, and no drug exposure other than the vaccine. Myopericarditis is a form of multiple-organ inflammation. Although pneumonia is involved, pneumonia alone is rarely a cause of sudden death, and the presence of erythrocyte-laden macrophages as well as congestive edema of the lungs on histology suggested signs of heart failure

3.1. Death after COVID-19 vaccination:

Vaccine development and its widespread application are key elements in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 vaccine is now used worldwide and has contributed to the containment of the pandemic. However, adverse events caused by vaccines have been a problem. A forensic examination for the evaluation of the association between vaccination and death was conducted in cases of post-vaccination deaths [1], [2], [4]. The majority of these cases were negatively associated with vaccination; however, anaphylaxis, vaccine-induced immunothrombotic thrombocytopenia, myocarditis, and pericarditis have all been listed as having a suspected association with vaccination and vaccination-related death [2], [4]. Murata et al. also reported four cases of death after vaccination, in which the only autopsy findings were organ congestion with no evidence of myocarditis. RNA analysis of the blood showed that neutrophil degranulation and cytokine signaling were upregulated in the control group, which led them to conclude that the deaths were due to cytokine storm

3.2. Myocarditis and pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination

Reports of myocarditis and pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination have increased since the report by Albert et al. [6]. The frequency of occurrence of myocarditis and pericarditis has been reported in a US military survey including 23 cases of myocarditis/2,800,000 persons with a mean age of 25 years, all males, and no deaths [7]. A total of 40 U.S. hospitals reported 20 cases/2,000,287 with myocarditis and 37 cases/2,000,287 with pericarditis; both groups showed male predilection, mean age of onset of 36 years for myocarditis and 59 years for pericarditis, and no deaths in either group [8]. The Nordic cohort study reported that myocarditis occurred in 1,077/23,122,522 patients and pericarditis in 1,149/23,122,522 patients; both were more common in young men aged 16–24 years and most commonly occurred after the second vaccination [9]. Thus, post-vaccination myocarditis and pericarditis had incidence rates of 0.0008–0.0047% and 0.0019–0.0050%, respectively. Although usually mild, these conditions can occur; however, severe cases resulting in death are rare. As of September 2022, the number of COVID-19 vaccine recipients in Japan was approximately 103 million for the second dose and 82 million for the third dose [10]. Based on the above report, at least 800 cases of myocarditis and approximately 1,500 cases of pericarditis occurred after vaccination in Japan. Since the incidence of myocarditis and pericarditis is reported to be higher with second dose of the vaccine than with first dose [11], third dose of the vaccine are likely to further increase the frequency of occurrence of the disease.

The mechanism by which the COVID-19 vaccine causes myocarditis and pericarditis is unclear; however, several hypotheses have been proposed. The mRNA vaccine results in modifications to the nucleoside to reduce its antigenicity. In some individuals, mRNA is recognized as an antigen, resulting in the activation of the inflammatory cascades and immune pathways; in such cases, myocarditis occurs as part of a systemic inflammatory response"

The numbers show a fairly low risk of side effects from the vaccine, with death being rare.  The vaccine is not without risk, but based on what I have read, the disease is about a thousand times more likely to cause the same problems.   In the risk versus benefit analysis, you are better off with the vaccine.  

However, the pandemic is almost over.  I don't know what will happen if people stop getting vaccinated, but given the small risk from vaccination, many people may choose not to get it.