Let’s Talk About Measles

by Gertrud U. Rey Recent news headlines have been featuring multiple outbreaks of measles across the globe, and an announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dated January 25, 2024, also reported 23 confirmed cases in the US over the past month. These outbreaks happen every few years and are usually triggered by …

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The Problem of Original Antigenic Sin

by Gertrud U. Rey Once the innate immune system senses a never-seen-before pathogen as new, it engages elements of the adaptive immune response. These adaptive immunity elements coordinate over time to develop a response that protects from re-infection and disease upon a second exposure to the same pathogen. The second exposure will immediately lead to …

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A Satellite Takes a Bite of Phage

by Gertrud U. Rey Satellite viruses lack one or more of the elements needed to replicate, and thus they depend on co-infection with a helper virus that can provide the missing components. In a well-known example of a satellite-helper system, Hepatitis D virus requires the presence of its helper Hepatitis B virus to make copies …

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A Nobel Discovery

by Gertrud U. Rey On October 2nd, 2023, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet announced the award of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman. The decision was based on a series of fundamental discoveries that led to the development of the COVID-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. Katalin …

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Viruses and Bats

by Gertrud U. Rey Remember the series of flashbacks in the ending of the movie “Contagion,” which reveal where the virus originated and how the pandemic started? As a tree is cut down, a colony of bats flies out of the tree to seek new shelter. While in flight over a nearby farm, one of …

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How the Viruses Within Us Protect Us From Other Viruses

by Gertrud U. Rey Did you know that eight percent of the human genome consists of DNA sequences that are derived from retroviruses? These “endogenous retroviruses” (ERVs) represent concrete evidence for retroviral infections that occurred in our ancestors. Although ERVs have no viral activity, an accumulating body of evidence suggests that they are not entirely …

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Trial By Error: An Interview with Neuroscientist Michael VanElzakker about the Just-Published and Long-Awaited NIH Study

By David Tuller, DrPH So, okay…The big enchilada from the US National Institutes of Health’s seven-year, $8-million, under-recruited and over-hyped study—”Deep phenotyping of post-infectious myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome”–was published last week in Nature Communications. It would be fair to describe the ensuing public debate over this massive text-and-data dump as spirited. (NIH press release here; …

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Trial By Error: New Long Covid Exercise-and-Therapy Study Claims Success Despite Clinically Insignificant Findings

By David Tuller, DrPH A new study of an online group physical and psychological rehabilitation program for Long Covid confirms once again that people given an intervention purporting to help them are more likely to tell investigators that they feel better than those given nothing of the kind. People, this is not a surprising result! …

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Trial By Error: Leading FND Site Confirms Criticisms on Prevalence Outlined in Our Letter to Neurology Journal

By David Tuller, DrPH In two recent posts, here and here, I wrote about our letter on inflated prevalence claims for functional neurological disorder (FND) and about the response from the authors of the study we criticized. The 2021 article in NeuroImage: Clinical, “Neuroimaging in functional neurological disorder: state of the field and research agenda,” asserted …

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Trial By Error: Unconvincing Response to Letter on FND Prevalence Inflation

By David Tuller, DrPH As I wrote in a post the other day, the journal NeuroImage: Clinical has just published a letter from a group I organized about the misrepresentation of findings regarding the prevalence of functional neurological disorder (FND). They have also published a response from the authors of the article we criticized. The …

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Trial By Error: Finally, Our Letter on Inflated Claims of FND Prevalence Is Published

By David Tuller, DrPH For more than a year, I have been criticizing experts in the field of functional neurological disorder for misrepresenting the findings of a seminal study, in effect tripling the reported prevalence rate of the condition. These untrue claims about the Scottish Neurological Symptoms Study (SNSS)—specifically, that the prevalence of FND among …

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Trial By Error: Yet Another Meta-Analysis Purporting to Prove that CBT Is Effective for “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”

By David Tuller, DrPH I just wrote about how PACE was favorably cited in an article in Nature Reviews Cardiology. Last month, that piece of crap was also included as part of yet another meta-analysis that mushed together the findings from a load of bad papers and concluded that, collectively, they prove something or other. …

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