Why We Are Hoarding Our Opioid Pills

To curb the ongoing tidal wave of opioid addiction and overdose deaths, state and federal governments have put in place policies that restrict doctors’ ability to prescribe opioids such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet. Although well-meaning, these policies are unleashing several unintended — yet entirely predictable — consequences. Read the rest at Stat News.

Replace Annual Physicals with Real-Time Biomarker Monitoring

The annual physical exam is under fire. Increasingly, physicians believe that the yearly ritual of having our bodies poked and prodded is completely useless, save for the fraction of patients who have a chronic illness or predisposition to disease. Worse, the annual physical is estimated to cost our healthcare system approximately $8 billion for arguably little benefit. Read the rest at Scientific American.

To Your Health: Is Wine Good for You or Is It Not?

FEW things arouse such warm adulation and sharp denunciation as alcohol. It is beloved by some and despised by others, and its consumption is governed by legal and religious rules. Wine is central to Christian rites but is widely considered by Muslims to be forbidden by the Quran. It is also the subject of debate within the scientific community: some researchers contend that alcohol, particularly wine, has health benefits, but others disagree. Read the rest at The Economist.

Macaque Experiment Shows Vaccine Schedule Not Linked to Autism

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

During the most recent Republican presidential debate, frontrunner Donald Trump once again dragged out the still widespread myth that vaccines cause autism. This dangerous fiction was debunked as early as 2002 by the New England Journal of Medicine and has been consistently contradicted by research ever since. As a result, anti-vaxxers changed strategy: Instead of blaming thimerosal for causing autism, they now focus on the vaccine schedule itself, essentially claiming that too many shots in too short of a timespan overwhelms a child’s immune system. Continue reading

Could Antibodies Treat Migraines?

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

Migraines are just awful. It is very difficult to express in words to non-sufferers what a migraine is like. However, if you could imagine a vice rhythmically squeezing your brain every second for several hours (or days), that is roughly what a migraine feels like. For some migraine sufferers, such as your humble correspondent, it is even possible to feel your heartbeat in your brain, with each pulse bringing a throbbing pain. Continue reading