Saturday, January 15, 2022

Saturday Stories: The Great Surrender, It's Mild, It's So Mild, With COVID

Chuck Wendig, in TerribleMinds, on our great surrender and how we let COVID win.

Bruce Arthur, in The Toronto Star, on the myth of mild Omicron.

Katherine J. Wu, in The Atlantic, on how we're long past the point of hoping 'mild' Omicron will spare us.

Ed Yong, in The Atlantic, on the fallacies swirling around the hospitalized "with" COVID discussion.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Saturday Stories: America's COVID Rules, COVID fatigue, And Omicron Healthcare

Katherine J. Wu, in the Atlantic, on the dumpster fire that is America's COVID rules (and for Canadian readers, much overlap with ours).

Gregg Gonsalves, in The Nation, on the impact of COVID fatigue on our morality. 

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Saturday Stories: Omicron's Teaching, COVID's Teaching, And Teaching LeBron

Andrew Joseph and Helen Branswell, in STAT, on the lessons we're learning from Omicron.

More Helen Branswell, in STAT, on 10 lessons she's learned covering the pandemic.

Photo By Keith Allison -, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Saturday Story: Ed Yong on Omicron

Ed Yong, the best science journalist of this pandemic, in the Atlantic, discusses Omicron and how we're definitely not ready for it. It's so good it's the only story I'm posting this week. 

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Saturday Stories: Fitness and Health Aren't Enough, 3 Cheers For Our Immune Systems, And Omicron

By Soupvector - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Sirin Kale, in The Guardian, with the life and death story of 42 year old triathlete, body builder, and anti-vaxxer John Eyers

Katherine J. Wu, in The Atlantic, on why you should be showing your immune system some love

Ewen Callaway & Heidi Ledford, in Nature, with a piece that may in fact be out of date despite being published 2 days ago, on what we do and don't know about Omicron.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

In Yet Another Win, Bariatric Surgery Reduces Cancer Risk In Long Term Study

Before you read any further know that I'm NOT a surgeon.

I think it could be fairly argued that as far as surgical impact and benefits go, there are few that rival bariatric surgery.

Shown to prolong life, regularly push many chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea (and so many more) into remission, and dramatically improve subjective quality of life, for so many, bariatric surgery provides a new lease on life.

Well add to the aforementioned list a reduced risk of cancer. While not particularly surprising of course given the relationship between weight and some of our most common cancers, here's new data from the now over 2 decades old SOS study which demonstrates reduced cancer risk in patients who opted for surgery vs. weight matched medically managed controls. 

For those of us who have the good fortune of working with patients who've had bariatric surgery, we know just how life changing it can be. What's shocking though, is the comfort of those who don't work with this category of patients to look down on surgery, or fearmonger about it, and this sadly also includes people in the health care community..

The data is clear. Bariatric surgery is remarkable. That said, I'm hopeful that in 20-30 years, it'll no longer be necessary and will be replaced by medications that lead to surgical degrees of weight loss without the surgery. Until then however, I'm thankful the option of bariatric surgery exists, and if you're not, you're either ignorant or an ideologue.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Saturday Stories: Testing, Health Professional Long-haulers, And The Holocaust

Katherine J. Wu, in The Atlantic, with everything you really should know about the various modalities of COVID testing.

[And finally, I'm so close! 90% of the way to my #Movember $3,000 fundraising goal. I'm also pleased to report that my Ted Lasso is doing just fine. If you're able to give, you can give anonymously, every bit counts, and that while I'll make this ask of those of you who are able annually, I promise I'll never charge a penny for anyone to ever read this content. Click here to donate!]

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Every Diet Works For Someone, No Diet Works For Everyone, Diets Are Difficult - IF 2021 Edition

Joining an ever increasing cavalcade of studies of different diets that demonstrate they all work as well or as poorly as one another comes this week's A randomised controlled trial of the 5:2 diet published in PLoS. 
In it researchers randomly assigned 300 participants to receive either:

1) "Standard" brief contact in the form of a 20 minute chat, and the provision of a booklet discussing UK's national dietary guidelines and a leaflet of various local weight management resources, 
2) 20 minutes of Q&A on IF dieting and provision of a leaflet describing 5:2 style intermittent fasting (IF - where two non-consecutive days of the week people are instructed to eat 500-600 calories total), or 
3) That same IF leaflet and chat as above plus 6 weekly one hour group support sessions spread over the first 6 weeks of dieting.
What'd they find?
1) There was no difference in weight loss between groups at 6 months or 1 year post randomization (average loss of just under 4lbs but with some individuals up to 20lbs)
2) Roughly 50% of the participants of each group dropped out within the year
So I guess the same old unsexy conclusion as always. 
Every diet works for someone. No diet works for everyone. Why? Because diets are difficult to sustain unless you happen to enjoy the one you're on.
And to that end, stay far away from healthcare providers claiming there's one best way to lose. Your best diet is someone else's worst.
[Also, if you're able, please consider donating to my #Movember fundraising efforts. It's my one and only annual ask and I'm 80% of the way to my $3,000 goal. No amount is too small, you can give anonymously, and tax receipts are provided. Simply click here to donate, and if you're wondering how it's going, will post an updated picture this Saturday]