Is covid a danger to children?

With many countries rapidly reaching the point where most adults have been vaccinated against covid, attention has been turning to the issue of whether or not children should also be vaccinated. This has been accompanied by an increase in claims in the media that covid is in fact more dangerous to children than was previously thought.

I think most people intuitively agree that children shouldn’t … Read more

Are regular health checks good for you?

Regular health checks (a.k.a routine visits) are probably the bane of many a primary care physician’s existence. I can’t imagine many things more boring than running through a standardized list of questions with a patient who feels absolutely fine, then going through a list of lab values that are almost invariably within the normal reference range, and finally topping it off with a perfunctory physical … Read more

How well do doctors understand probability?

I’m very interested in how doctors think. How do we use the information gained from talking to and examining a patient to reach a reasonable list of likely diagnoses (a so called “differential”)? When we order a test, what specifically are we looking for, and how will we react to the result that comes back? More cynically, I’m curious about the extent to which we … Read more

Can vitamin C prevent heart disease?

Funnily enough, considering its many purported benefits, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is one of the vitamins that doctors are least likely to prescribe to patients. Vitamin A is given to all small children in many countries, as is vitamin D. Vitamin D is of course also frequently prescribed to patients with osteoporosis. Vitamin B1 (thiamin) is regularly given to alcoholics, to prevent Wernicke-Korsakoff disease. B3 … Read more

Can asymptomatic people spread covid-19?

One of the most contentious issues when it comes to covid-19 is whether or not people who are asymptomatic can spread the disease. The reason is that there are major ramifications depending on the answer. If only those with symptoms spread the disease, then telling people who are completely symptom free to stay at home and avoid social contacts makes zero sense. But if even … Read more

Is a ketogenic diet effective against dementia?

A sea change is underway. Ten years ago, it was heresy to propose that a ketogenic (a.k.a low carb high fat) diet was in any way healthier than the low fat high carb diet supported by public health authorities. It was branded a “gimmick” diet. In some places, doctors who prescribed it to their patients risked having their medical licenses revoked.

The German physicist Max … Read more