Categories

Author Archives

Ryan Bose-Roy

Cardiology update: Should mRNA vaccine myocarditis be a contraindication to future COVID-19 vaccinations ?

BY ANISH KOKA

Myopericarditis is a now a well reported complication associated with Sars-Cov-2 (COVID-19) vaccinations. This has been particularly common with the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines (BNT162b2 and mrna-1273), with a particular predilection for young males.

Current guidance by the Australian government “technical advisory groups” as well as the Australian Cardiology Society suggest patients who have experienced myocarditis after an mRNA vaccine may consider a non-mRNA vaccine once “symptom free for at least 6 weeks”.

A just published report of 2 cases from Australia that document myopericarditis after use of the non-mRNA Novavax vaccine in patients that had recovered from mRNA vaccine myocarditis suggests this is a very bad idea.

The case reports

Case 1 involves a 26 year old man who developed pericarditis after the Pfizer vaccine. Pericarditis, an inflammation of the sac the heart lives in, developed about 7 days after the Pfizer vaccine. The diagnosis was made based on classic findings of inflammation on an electrocardiogram associated with acute chest pain. The symptoms lasted 3 months, and a total of 6 months after the first episode of pericarditis, he received a booster vaccination with the Novovax (NVX-CoV2373) vaccine. 2-3 days after this he developed the same sharp chest pain and shortness of breath with elevated inflammatory markers (CRP) as well as typical findings of pericarditis seen on ECG. To add insult to injury, he contracted COVID 2 months after the second episode of pericarditis, but had no recurrence of the symptoms of pericarditis.

Continue reading…

Ultrasound is Ultra-Cool

BY KIM BELLARD

AI continues to amaze – ChatGPT is now passing Wharton Business School exams, Microsoft and Google are doubling down in their AI efforts – and I’m as big a fan as anyone, but I want to talk about a technology that has been more under the radar, so to speak: ultrasound.  

Yes, ultrasound.  Most of us have probably had an ultrasound at some point (especially if you’ve been pregnant) and Dr. Eric Topol continues his years-long quest to replace the ancient stethoscope technology with ultrasound, but if you think ultrasound is just another nifty tool in the imaging toolbox, you’ve missed a lot. 

Let’s start with the coolest use I’ve seen: ultrasound can be used for 3D printing.  Inside the body.  

This news on this dates back to last April, when researchers from Concordia University published their findings in Nature (I found out about it last week).  Instead of the more common “Additive Manufacturing” (AM) approach to 3D printing, these researchers use Direct Sound Printing (DSP).  

The paper summarizes their results: “To show unique future potentials of DSP, applications such as RDP [Remote Distance Printing] for inside body bioprinting and direct nanoparticle synthesizing and pattering by DSP for integrating localized surface plasmon resonance with microfluidics chip are experimentally demonstrated.”

Continue reading…

Can Missouri Pass The Muster

BY MIKE MAGEE

A case has been made that a logical approach to reforming America’s violent and racist leanings would be to adopt the values and practices of Health Care for All. These include a commitment to compassion, understanding, and partnership; extending the linkages between individual, family, community and society; addressing fear and worry for individuals and populations; and promoting an optimistic and equitable future for all Americans. 

Nurses and doctors and pharmacists and other health professionals pledge oaths and spend years training to exhibit and practice these values in the course of providing preventive and interventional care to select Americans. Imagine the effect of delivering these many benefits in an equitable way, in all communities, with the intent of making not only Americans, but also the American culture healthy.

Or we could simply continue to accept the values exhibited by the Missouri State Legislature, where misogyny and brass knuckles have risen to the top of their legislative calendar.

In June, 2021, a Missouri News-Press editorial commented that “one vote last week might strike some as a sign that Missouri’s lawmakers could use some help with time management and prioritization.” The Republican led body had soundly passed HB 1462 which included Section 571.020 and 571.107 which read “This act repeals prohibitions on the possession and selling of brass knuckles, firearm silencers, and switchblade knives.” The same act addressed the taxpayer burden for possession of their weaponry by providing “that all sales of firearms and ammunition made in this state shall be exempt from state and local sales taxes.”

Continue reading…

The Open Data Movement Runs Aground on FOURIER

BY ANISH KOKA

Reanalysis of a trial used to approve a commonly used injectable cholesterol-lowering drug confirms the original analysis by accident.

The open-data movement seeks to liberate the massive amount of data generated in running clinical trials from the grasp of the academic medical-pharmaceutical industrial complex that mostly runs the most important trials responsible for bringing novel therapeutics to market.

There are only a few elite academic trialist groups capable of running large trials and there’s ample reason to be suspicious about the nexus that has developed between academia and the pharmaceutical companies that shower them with cash to hopefully get a positive study result and pay off the pharmaceutical research investment manifold. The FDA is the major regulator of the whole process, but the expertise required for regulation means that the FDA is frequently comprised of ex-pharma employees or ex-academics.

Continue reading…

Healthcare, Meet Southwest

BY KIM BELLARD

Customers experiencing long, often inexplicable delays, their experiences turning from hopeful to angry to afraid they’ll never get back home.  Staff overworked and overwhelmed.  IT systems failing at the times they’re most needed.  To most people, that all probably sounds like Southwest Airline’s debacle last week, but, to me, it just sounds like every day in our healthcare system.

Southwest had a bad week.  All the airlines were hit by a huge swath of bad weather the weekend before Christmas, but most airlines recovered relatively quickly.  Southwest passengers were not so lucky; the airline’s delays and cancellations numbered in the thousands and stretched into days.  Overnight, it seemed, Southwest went from being one of the most admired airlines – loyal customers, on-time service, happy employees, consistent profitability – to one with “its reputation in tatters.

CEO Bob Jordan has had to do his mea culpas, and he’s not done.  

Some pointed to Southwest’s reliance on point-to-point flight schedules, in contrast to other airlines’ use of hub-and-spoke models, but most seem to agree that the root problem was that its IT infrastructure was not up to task – particularly its employee scheduling system, which told its employees who needed to be where when and how to accomplish that.  Casey A. Murray, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, told The New York Times: “Once one card falls, the whole house falls here at Southwest.  That’s our problem. We couldn’t keep up with the cascading events.”

Continue reading…

New VC Fund Angelini Ventures Launches to Find Next Big Digital Health & Biotech Disruptors

BY JESS DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

NEW VC Fund! Angelini Ventures just launched their $300 million dollar investment fund to support early-stage biotech and digital health startups in the US, Europe, and Israel. CEO & Managing Director Paolo Di Giorgio and Managing Director Elia Stupka explain the fund’s thesis which is different than the usual corporate investment funds because of its “very long-term” strategy and interest in supporting disruptive health innovation that doesn’t necessarily need to relate to the core businesses of its multi-national parent, Angelini Industries. Find out more – including details about where this fund has already placed some investment dollars – from this quick chat in Milan.

“True, True, and Unrelated” in the age of “Product Placement/Embedded Marketing.”

BY MIKE MAGEE

This is “high grandparenting season” at our home when you go “The Extra Mile.” That means it is possible on certain days on or between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day to find up to 20 children and grandchildren under our roof. With my wife one of ten, and me, one of twelve, we are no strangers to chaos. Our kids believe we feed off it, and maybe they’re right.

With over 150 years under our collective belts, we two are – if nothing else – optimistic, resilient, and somewhat wiser then we were in our early years. For example, we know that the mere temporal or geographic approximation of two incidents or events does not necessarily prove cause and effect. 

That point was reinforced the morning after Thanksgiving when our 11 year old granddaughter informed me that the basement toilet was clogged. She then provided a thumbnail sketch of the events the night before after we had bailed early – the toilet overflowed (nobody knows how or why), a frantic search for a plunger failed even though all were enlisted in the effort, and eventually everyone retired satisfied that the now unusable toilet was quiescent.

Continue reading…

Barcodes Are Us

BY KIM BELLARD

Usually I write about things where I see some unexpected parallel to healthcare, or something just amazed me, or outraged me (there are lots of things about healthcare like the latter).  But sometimes I run across something that just delights me.

So when I inexplicably stumbled across DNA Barcoding Technology for High Throughput Cell-Nanoparticle Study, by Andy Tay, PhD, my first thought was, oh, nanoparticles, that’s always interesting, then it hit me: wait, DNA has barcodes

How delightful.

Continue reading…

America, the intolerant

BY ANISH KOKA

Historically, the great tension between liberty and authority was between government as embodied by the ruling class and its subjects.  Marauding barbarians and warring city-states meant that society endowed a particular class within society with great powers to protect the weaker members of society.  It was quickly recognized that the ruling class could use these powers for its own benefit on the very people it was meant to protect, and so society moved to preserve individual liberties first by recognizing certain rights that rulers dare not breach lest they risk rebellion.  The natural next step was the establishment of a body of some sort that was meant to represent the interests of the ruled, which rulers sought agreement and counsel from, and became the precursor to the modern day English parliament and the American Congress.  Of course, progress in governance did not end with rulers imbued with a divine right to rule being held in check by third parties.  The right to rule eventually ceased to be a divine right, and instead came courtesy of a periodical choice of the ruled in the form of elections.  The power the ruled now wielded over those who would seek to rule lead some to wonder whether there was any reason left to limit the power of a government that was now an embodiment of the will of the people.

Continue reading…

One Person’s Trash…

BY KIM BELLARD

Gosh, so much going on.  Elizabeth Holmes was finally sentenced.   FTX collapsed.  Big Tech is laying off workers at unprecedented rates, except TikTok, which should, indeed, be cautionary.  Elon Musk’s master plan for Twitter remains opaque to most of us. Americans remain contentedly unworried about the looming COVID wave

With all that to choose from, I want to talk about space debris.  More specifically, finding opportunity in it, and in other “waste.”  As the old saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, so one person’s problems are another person’s opportunities.  

And, yes, there are lessons for healthcare.

Getting to space has been one of humankind’s big accomplishments. We’re so good at it that earth’s orbit has become a “graveyard” for space debris – dead or dying satellites, pieces of rockets, things ejected from spaceships, and so on.  Space is pretty big, but the near-Earth debris is getting to the point when avoiding it becomes an issue for the International Space Station and other orbiting objects.  

Scientists now fear that climate change will impact the upper atmosphere in ways that will cause space debris to burn up in it less often, making the problem worse. 

Continue reading…

Registration

Forgotten Password?