COVID-19 Infection and Mortality Rate Questions

COVID-19 Infection and Mortality Rate Questions

Person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurred between two people with prolonged, unprotected exposure while the first patient was symptomatic. Despite active monitoring and testing of 372 contacts of both cases, no further transmission was detected

The RKI added: ‘We don’t consider post-mortem tests to be a decisive factor.

‘We work on the principle that patients are tested before they die.’

But this means that if a person dies in quarantine at home and does not go to hospital, there is a high chance they will not be included in the statistics, as Giovanni Maga of Italy’s National Research Council pointed out in an interview with Euronews

First known person-to-person transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the USA. The Lancet, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30607-3

COVID-19 and the Risk to Health Care Workers: A Case Report

Published: Ann Intern Med. 2020. DOI: 10.7326/L20-0175

cov19, covid19, sarscov2, SARS-CoV-2 test, SARS-CoV-2, infection, risk, contagion, pathogenicity, pathogen, mortality, diagnosis, data collection, covid-19, statistics, mutagenesis, data, protection, Health care workers, person-to-person transmission, transmission

Why Canadians were told to stop taking aspirin to prevent first heart attack, stroke

Why Canadians were told to stop taking aspirin to prevent first heart attack, stroke

Why Canadians were told to stop taking aspirin to prevent first heart attack, stroke

If you’ve never had a heart attack or stroke, you likely should not be taking aspirin to prevent them, according to new research. Researchers reviewed three large, randomized, placebo-controlled studies published in 2018 that showed the risk of major internal bleeding associated with taking an aspirin a day is higher than any preventative benefits.

#aspirin #heart #stroke

Acetylsalicylic acid for primary prevention of cardiovascular events Paul Fritsch, Michael R. Kolber Canadian Family Physician Jul 2019, 65 (7) 480;

Individuals have a right to participate in risky research trials, which might harm their health or even kill them

Patient participation in high-risk research could benefit novel drug trials

Published on September 19, 2013 at 2:47 AM         ·

Individuals have a right to participate in risky research trials, which might harm their health or even kill them, and institutional review boards (known as research ethics committees in the UK) – which are responsible for deciding whether a particular research trial can take place in a given institution – are potentially impeding the progress of research by rejecting such studies on ethical grounds, according to a Viewpoint published in The Lancet today [Wednesday 18 September].

Dr David Shaw, of the Institute for Biomedical Ethics, at the University of Basel, Switzerland, argues that “Institutional review boards should never reject a study because it poses too high a risk to participants, and that their role should be confined to ensuring that risks and any potential benefits are fully explained to potential participants. Everyone should have the right to participate in research without paternalistic decisions about risk being made on their behalf.”

It has been argued that patients who participate in trials – particularly those who are terminally ill – are often under what is termed “the therapeutic misconception”, whereby they wrongly believe that they will benefit from participation in a study, even if they are told they might not. Ethics committees frequently deny approval for trials where patients are seen as unlikely to benefit from treatment offered during the trial.

However, Dr Shaw argues that instead of this overly paternalistic approach, institutional review boards should instead ensure that trial participants fully understand the risks involved, and if they still want to take part, they should not be prevented from doing so. Furthermore, he suggests that relaxing attitudes towards patient participation in risky research could greatly benefit some research programmes, particularly for novel drugs where, in the early stages of development, trials are often difficult or impossible to approve, because of uncertainty about prospective harm or benefit.

“Why potential participants should be denied the opportunity to participate in trials that pose even higher risks if they wish to do so, is unclear,” says Dr Shaw. “Competent adults can, for example, go skydiving, potholing, or bungee jumping. All of these sports are highly dangerous and, unlike research, confer no benefit to society. For example, skydivers have a one in 100 000 risk of death at each jump, and the injury rate is about one in 200. Almost half of bungee jumpers sustain at least minor injury. Why should people not be allowed to run similar or higher risks by participating in societally beneficial clinical research? Although a lot less fun, and also potentially fatal, participation in such research has the potential to help people and demonstrates solidarity with one’s community.”

“To stop people participating in high-risk research denies them the right to help their communities, patients worldwide, and future generations of patients…Assisted dying is increasingly regarded as acceptable in many developed countries; if healthy people are allowed to participate in high-risk sports that might kill them, and sick people can be assisted in ending their lives, why should both groups not be able to risk dying in a way that potentially benefits society?”



Arrhythmia drug may increase cancer risk ( Up to 46% after 2.5 years )

Contact: Amy Molnar Wiley

One of the most widely used medications to treat arrhythmias may increase the risk of developing cancer, especially in men and people exposed to high amounts of the drug. That is the conclusion of a new retrospective study published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. The study’s results indicate that a potential link between amiodarone and cancer warrants further investigation.

Amiodarone was approved in 1985 for the treatment of arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats. Because the drug is fat-soluble and degrades very slowly, large amounts can accumulate in soft tissues after a long-term prescription. Previous studies have shown that amiodarone might increase the risk of certain cancers, but no large-scale study has looked at the issue.

To investigate, Vincent Yi-Fong Su, MD, of the Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, and his colleagues studied 6,418 individuals taking the drug, following them for an average of 2.57 years. A total of 280 participants developed cancer.

Patients who were male or who received high cumulative daily doses of amiodarone within the first year had an increased risk of developing cancer. Those with both factors were 46 percent more likely to develop cancer than those with neither factor. After taking age, sex, and illnesses into account, individuals taking a high amount of amiodarone had nearly twice the risk of developing cancer as those taking a low amount of the drug.

“We suggest that cancer events should be routinely reported in future amiodarone trials, and further observational research is necessary,” said Dr. Su. “Also, when prescribing amiodarone, doctors need to keep in mind that this medication may increase cancer risk.”


URL Upon publication:

Chemical exposure before mid-30s may be critical in breast cancer development

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Emma Dickinson 44-020-738-36529 BMJ-British Medical Journal

Postmenopausal breast cancer and occupational exposures

Occupational exposure to certain chemicals and pollutants before a woman reaches her mid-30s could treble her risk of developing cancer after the menopause, suggests research published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine .

Women exposed to synthetic fibres and petroleum products during the course of their work seem to be most at risk, the research suggests.

The researchers base their findings on more than 1100 women, 556 of whom were diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996/7 in Montreal, Canada, when aged between 50 and 75 and who had gone through the menopause.

The other 613 women, who were matched for age and date of diagnosis, had a range of other cancers, and were intended to act as a comparison group.

An expert team of chemists and industrial hygienists then set about investigating the women’s levels of exposure to around 300 different substances throughout the course of their employment history.

After taking account of the usual factors associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, the analysis indicated a link between occupational exposure to several of these substances.

Compared with the comparison group, this risk peaked for exposures before the age of 36, and was magnified with each additional decade of exposure before this age.

This resulted in women occupationally exposed to acrylic fibres running a seven-fold risk of breast cancer, while those exposed to nylon fibres almost doubled their risk.

When tumours were divided into their hormonal responsiveness, women whose cancers responded to oestrogen, but not progesterone, were at least twice as likely to have breast cancer for every 10 year period they were exposed to monaromatic hydrocarbons (a byproduct of crude oil) and acrylic and rayon fibres.

Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, found in petroleum products, before the age of 36, tripled the risk for women whose tumours were responsive to both oestrogen and progesterone.

The authors concede that their findings could be due to chance alone, but say they are consistent with the theory that breast tissue is more sensitive to harmful chemicals if the exposure occurs when breast cells are still active – in other words, before a woman reaches her 40s. And they point to the rising incidence of breast cancer in developed countries, which is likely to be due to a range of factors, including diagnosis of small slow growing tumours and changes in alcohol consumption.

But environmental and workplace factors are also thought to have a role, they suggest, with previously published evidence implicating exposure to certain chemicals, low frequency electromagnetic fields, and disruption of the body clock.


Going with Your Gut: Decisions based on instinct have surprisingly positive outcomes

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Decisions based on instinct have surprisingly positive outcomes, TAU researcher finds

Decision-making is an inevitable part of the human experience, and one of the most mysterious. For centuries, scientists have studied how we go about the difficult task of choosing A or B, left or right, North or South — and how both instinct and intellect figure into the process. Now new research indicates that the old truism “look before you leap” may be less true than previously thought.

In a behavioral experiment, Prof. Marius Usher of Tel Aviv University‘s School of Psychological Sciences and his fellow researchers found that intuition was a surprisingly powerful and accurate tool. When forced to choose between two options based on instinct alone, the participants made the right call up to 90 percent of the time.

The results of their study were recently published in the journal PNAS.

Value-added thinking

Prof. Marius Usher
Prof. Marius Usher

Even at the intuitive level, an important part of the decision-making process is the “integration of value” — that is, taking into account the positive and negative factors of each option to come up with an overall picture, explains Prof. Usher. One weighs the strengths and weaknesses of different apartments for rent or applicants for a job. Various relevant criteria contribute to the decision-making process.

“The study demonstrates that humans have a remarkable ability to integrate value when they do so intuitively, pointing to the possibility that the brain has a system that specializes in averaging value,” Prof. Usher says. This could be the operational system on which common decision-making processes are built.

In order to get to the core of this system, Prof. Usher designed an experiment to put participants through a carefully controlled decision-making process. On a computer screen, participants were shown sequences of pairs of numbers in quick succession. All numbers that appeared on the right of the screen and all on the left were considered a group; each group represented returns on the stock market.

Participants were asked to choose which of the two groups of numbers had the highest average. Because the numbers changed so quickly — two to four pairs were shown every second — the participants were unable to memorize the numbers or do proper mathematical calculations, explains Prof. Usher. To determine the highest average of either group, they had to rely on “intuitive arithmetic.”

Doing the math

The participants were able to calculate the different values accurately at exceptional speed, the researchers found. They were also able to process large amounts of data — in fact, their accuracy increased in relation to the amount of data they were presented. When shown six pairs of numbers, for example, the participants chose accurately 65 percent of the time. But when they were shown 24 pairs, the accuracy rate grew to about 90 percent.

Intuitively, the human brain has the capacity to take in many pieces of information and decide on an overall value, says Prof. Usher. He says that gut reactions can be trusted to make a quality decision — a conclusion supported by his earlier work with Prof. Dan Zakay and Dr. Zohar Rusou published in Frontiers in Cognitive Science.

Risky behavior

Of course, intuition is also subject to certain biases, explains Prof. Usher, and leads to more risks — risks that people are willing to take. That was shown when the researchers engaged participants in tests that measured their risk-taking tendencies, and were surprised to discover that the majority of the participants didn’t play it safe. When faced with a choice between two sets of numbers with the same average, one with a narrow distribution, such as 45 and 55, and another with a broad distribution, such as 70 and 30, people were swayed by the large numbers and took a chance on the broadly distributed numbers rather than making the “safe” choice.

Although this work was based on a behavioral experiment, Prof. Usher says that an interesting next step could be to measure brain activity throughout the task in an attempt to uncover the physiological aspects of value integration.

64th Health Research Report 01 SEP 2009 – Reconstruction



Editors Top Five:

1. H1N1 Pandemic Virus Does Not Mutate Into ‘Superbug’ in UMd. Lab Study

2. Natural compounds, chemotherapeutic drugs may become partners in cancer therapy

3. Heat forms potentially harmful substance in high-fructose corn syrup

4. Daily aspirin does more harm than good: study

5. Heat forms potentially harmful substance in high-fructose corn syrup


In this issue:

1. Off-label use: Oft not evidence base

2. Research shows why low vitamin D raises heart disease risks in diabetics

3. Long-term tamoxifen use increases risk of an aggressive, hard to treat type of second breast cancer

4. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer patients with heart conditions linked to increased death risk

5. More obesity blues

6. Unlocking the body’s defenses against cancer

7. Discovery of natural odors could help develop mosquito repellents

8. Bird flu leaves the nest — adapting to a new host

9. Heat forms potentially harmful substance in high-fructose corn syrup

10. Healthy food obsession sparks rise in new eating disorder

11. Natural compounds, chemotherapeutic drugs may become partners in cancer therapy

12. Daily aspirin does more harm than good: study

13. H1N1 Pandemic Virus Does Not Mutate Into ‘Superbug’ in UMd. Lab Study


Health Research Report

64th  Issue Date 01 SEP 2009

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

58th Health Research Report 09 JUN 2009 – Reconstruction


Editors Top Five:


1. Recycled radioactive metal contaminates consumer products

2. Illness, medical bills linked to nearly two-thirds of bankruptcies: Harvard study

3. Bird flu virus remains infectious up to 600 days in municipal landfills

4. How many scientists fabricate and falsify research?

5. Wet ear wax and unpleasant body odors signal breast cancer risk

In this Issue:

1. Use of acid-suppressive medications associated with increased risk of hospital-acquired pneumonia

2. Cancer drug causes patient to lose fingerprints and be detained by US immigration

3. Green tea extract shows promise in leukemia trials

4. History of hyperactivity off-base, says researcher

5. How many scientists fabricate and falsify research?

6. Omega fatty acid balance can alter immunity and gene expression

7. Bird flu virus remains infectious up to 600 days in municipal landfills

8. Silver nanoparticles show “immense potential” in prevention of blood clots

9. Wet ear wax and unpleasant body odors signal breast cancer risk

10. Commonly used medications may produce cognitive impairment in older adults

11. Why dishing does you good: U-M study

12. Sedatives may increase suicide risk in older patients

13. Illness, medical bills linked to nearly two-thirds of bankruptcies: Harvard study

14. Association Found Between Parkinson’s Disease and Pesticide Exposure in French Farm Workers

15. Multivitamins in pregnancy reduce risk of low birth weights

16. Stopping diabetes damage with vitamin C

17. Recycled radioactive metal contaminates consumer products

Health Research Report

58th Issue Date 09 JUN 2009

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

29th Health Research Report 29 APR 2008 – Reconstruction


Editors Top Five:


1.      High blood pressure may protect against migraine
2.      Study shows pine bark naturally reduces osteoarthritis
3.      Life expectancy worsening or stagnating for large segment of the US population
4.      Study reveals inaccuracies in studies of cancer treatment
5.      Study says FDA allowed risky tests of blood substitutes


In this issue:

1.      High blood pressure may protect against migraine
2.      Excess pneumonia deaths linked to engine exhaust
3.      Vitamin E may help Alzheimer’s patients live longer
4.      Chinese club moss extract (Huperzine A) may improve cognition in Alzheimer’s disease
5.      Think twice before using antibiotics for acute maxillary sinusitis
6.      MSU study finds media coverage of breast cancer focuses too little on prevention
7.      Chemical exposure may increase risk of ALS
8.      Low vitamin D levels associated with an increased risk of peripheral arterial disease
9.      Study shows pine bark naturally reduces osteoarthritis
10.  Study reveals inaccuracies in studies of cancer treatment
11.  Life expectancy worsening or stagnating for large segment of the US population
12.  Researchers detail chemotherapy’s damage to the brain
13.  Could blood transfusions cause harm?
14.  Study shows common vitamin and other micronutrient supplements reduce risks of TB recurrence
15.  Epilepsy drug causes bone loss in young women
16.  Diabetes drugs may be related to fracture risk
17.  Osteoporosis drug may be associated with irregular heartbeat
18.  Hormone therapy in postmenopausal women associated with increased risk of stroke
19.  Aspirin-like compounds increase insulin secretion in otherwise healthy obese people
20.  Families of contaminated heparin victims tell stories of deaths 
21.  Study says FDA allowed risky tests of blood substitutes


Health Research Report 

29th Issue Date 29 APR 2008

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

Concerns over accuracy of tools to predict risk of repeat offending

Current evidence not strong enough for definitive decisions to be made, say experts

Research: Use of risk assessment instruments to predict violence and antisocial behaviour in 73 samples involving 24,827 people: systematic review and meta-analysis

Tools designed to predict an individual’s risk of repeat offending are not sufficient on their own to inform sentencing and release or discharge decisions, concludes a study published on today.

Although they appear to identify low risk individuals with high levels of accuracy, the authors say “their use as sole determinants of detention, sentencing, and release is not supported by the current evidence.”

Risk assessment tools are widely used in psychiatric hospitals and criminal justice systems around the world to help predict violent behaviour and inform sentencing and release decisions. Yet their predictive accuracy remains uncertain and expert opinion is divided.

So an international research team, led by Seena Fazel at the University of Oxford, set out to investigate the predictive validity of tools commonly used to assess the risk of violence, sexual, and criminal behaviour.

They analysed risk assessments conducted on 24,827 people from 13 countries including the UK and the US. Of these, 5,879 (24%) offended over an average of 50 months.

Differences in study quality were taken into account to identify and minimise bias.

Their results show that risk assessment tools produce high rates of false positives (individuals wrongly identified as being at high risk of repeat offending) and predictive accuracy at around chance levels when identifying risky persons. For example, 41% of individuals judged to be at moderate or high risk by violence risk assessment tools went on to violently offend, while 23% of those judged to be at moderate or high risk by sexual risk assessment tools went on to sexually offend.

Of those judged to be at moderate or high risk of committing any offence, just over half (52%) did.  However, of those predicted not to violently offend, 91% did not, suggesting that these tools are more effective at screening out individuals at low risk of future offending.

Factors such as gender, ethnicity, age or type of tool used did not appear to be associated with differences in predictive accuracy.

Although risk assessment tools are widely used in clinical and criminal justice settings, their predictive accuracy varies depending on how they are used, say the authors.

“Our review would suggest that risk assessment tools, in their current form, can only be used to roughly classify individuals at the group level, not to safely determine criminal prognosis in an individual case,” they conclude. The extent to which these instruments improve clinical outcomes and reduce repeat offending needs further research, they add.