The ministry of bodies

One of my favourite novels is The House of God by Samuel Shem. Published back in 1978, it covers the first year of work in a hospital of a doctor who has just graduated from medical school. A lot of medical students read it at some point during medical school, and think it’s a satire of what goes on in a hospital. Then they … Read more

Is the Astra-Zeneca vaccine killing people?

Poor Astra-Zeneca. The covid-19 vaccine that they had hoped would generate an endless tide of goodwill is instead turning in to one long public relations disaster. First it was the case of transverse myelitis that caused them to have to halt their vaccine trial temporarily. Then it turned out that they had given the wrong dose of vaccine to a bunch of participants in the … Read more

How much oxygen is enough?

Only a few years ago, back when I was in medical school, I was taught that the goal of oxygen therapy should be to push saturation above 95%, and that anyone who comes in to hospital with a saturation below that should receive oxygen therapy (with the exception of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, whose bodies have adjusted to lower oxygen levels). For those … Read more

Do fruit and vegetables prevent cancer?

For the last couple of decades we have been bombarded with messages to eat more fruit and vegetables. One of the main arguments for this, and indeed the entire motivation behind the “5-a-day” campaign that started in the early 90’s, is that fruit and vegetables protect against cancer. But do they really?

The European Prospective Investigation in to Cancer and Nutrition, otherwise known as the … Read more

Semaglutide: magic new weight loss pill?

People have been looking for a quick and easy way to lose weight for a good long while, probably for as long as an anorectic physique has been considered attractive. And what easier way could there be than taking a pill? No need to change your diet. No need to exercise (ineffective anyway, I know). Just pop that pill and be done with … Read more

Zinc effective against respiratory infections?

I’ve previously written about the ability of vitamin C and vitamin D to protect against respiratory infections. Vitamin C has been found to shorten the duration of respiratory infections slightly, although it needs to be taken continuously throughout the year in order for there to be any benefit. Vitamin D has been found to shorten the frequency of respiratory infections, by a small … Read more