How to Think Outside Your Brain (NYTimes.com)

 

This is awesome in several ways (read the article, link above).

  1. Having a “creative desk” full of glue, scissors, sticky notes, colored pens is always better when designing something. Once done, you can move to your computer and finish it at your “publishing desk”. This research tells you why (you can think outside your brain using your body and your physical space)
  2. The EHR (electronic health record) is a way to help your brain think, if we do it right. Do we do it right? This is “using tools” to augment our thinking.
  3. Then we have “other people’s minds” with the hint that teams who know how to draw on complementary skills from others in a team, perform better than individuals or uncoordinated teams. What does that teach us about our informatics work?

I will have to sit with this article for awhile. What are you taking away from it?

Everyone is sick right now (wired.com)

The tripledemic is here. Our Childrens’ hospitals are full. And the infections have yet to peak.

https://www.wired.com/story/everyone-is-sick-right-now/

Having succeeded at getting folks to social distance and mask for a couple years, the viruses are staging a comeback: lots of kids and adults with LESS immunity to flu and RSV (respiratory syncitial virus) and thus a sharp spike in infections this fall.

Be careful out there, peeps.

One shot genetic cures? (Wired.com)

$3.5 million for a one-time dose? Are you kidding? But then … maybe it is reasonable?

Image from wired.com

https://www.wired.com/story/the-era-of-one-shot-multi-million-dollar-genetic-cures-is-here/

Hemgenix now produces a genetic cure. For those with hemophilia B, a disease that causes spontaneous bleeding due to a DNA mutation, there is now a treatment that injects a normal gene into the patient’s body to start manufacturing a corrected protein, with a 94% rate of no longer needing Factor IX infusions. Read it. Amazing.

And yes $3.4 million is a huge cost for a one-time treatment, but that is comparable and cheaper, than a lifetime of constant infusions and bleeding episodes and complications. And the cost WILL come down. Science fiction, here we come.

Science Communication Secrets (Wired.com, XKCD’s Randall Monroe on What If 2?)

Don’t think about it as if people aren’t smart. Think about it like people are busy.

From wired.com, Randall Monroe

https://www.wired.com/story/randall-munroe-is-back-to-answer-your-impossible-questions/

We scientists need to talk gooder. Randall is an excellent example of taking complex scientific ideas and making them understandable and relatable. I love his quote above:

“Don’t think of it like people aren’t smart. Think about it like people are busy.”

This is a paradigm shift for science (and all) writers: respect your audience. People know when they’re being talked down to.

This reminds me of one-page executive summaries to get your point across quickly.

CMIO’s take? Not only is Randall funny, see his http://xkcd.com comic series, but he is also insightful. Get his book, read his strip, its all good.

DALL-E Mini Is the Internet’s Favorite AI Meme Machine (Wired.com)

https://www.wired.com/story/dalle-ai-meme-machine/

How can this be real? Read the story above at Wired.com.

I typed “Elephants breakdancing at midnight” into the prompt, and seriously, about a minute later I get this on my screen.

Let’s not go into why that sentence came out of my head thru my fingers, and instead focus on the technology. There is an AI, with the internet as infinite visual resource, that can now take brief text prompts and then render them for your viewing pleasure.

This is mind-blowing. Here’s “Frolicking Flying Cars”

Here’s “A family of dolphins using iPhones in the style of Picasso”

Here’s “Speed skating in the style of a Chinese landscape painting”

 

What is real? What is imaginary? Who drew this? Try it yourself at http://www.craiyon.com !

Secrets of “Covid Brain Fog” are starting to lift (Wired.com)

https://www.wired.com/story/the-secrets-of-covid-brain-fog-are-starting-to-lift/

Image from Wired.com. Link to story above.

Precise Science

Instead of “Brain Fog” from Covid, we can now say “a loss of oligodendrocytes” and “microglial reactivity” are causes of decreased memory, cognitive sharpness and fatigue post Covid infection.

I love that our smart scientist colleagues are linking out to the chemotherapy and other viral research literature to find common threads and discover the basis for such puzzling syndromes.

20-50%!

I DON’T love the ongoing Covid infection numbers, the lack of masking, the decrease in vaccinations, as about 20 to 50% of all new Covid infections develop into forms of Long Covid, with Brain Fog being a long-term common symptom.

Even as the risk of hospitalizations fall with the latest Covid variant, the risk of Long Covid has not. We should all be concerned about this. Stay safe out there, colleagues. We need your brain power.

How the Sugars in Spit tame the Body’s Unruly Fungi (WIRED.com) [aka Spit or Sputum?]

https://www.wired.com/story/how-the-sugars-in-spit-tame-the-bodys-unruly-fungi/

Years ago, my pulmonologist spouse threatened to start a new journal called “Spit? or Sputum?”

The idea was rooted in our challenge, when we were medical interns, tasked with obtaining sputum (the thick mucus from deep in the lung that we needed) to spot the predominant organism responsible for a patient’s pneumonia. When done correctly, a patient would bring up a deeply-coughed sputum sample teeming with many copies of one species, that would jump out in technicolor when the correct stain was applied, and voila! We have a diagnosis under the microscope. When the patient gives us spit, however, we would see a veritable smorgasbord of organisms, and a disappointing lack of clarity.

So often, when collecting such sputum samples from patients (“Sir, please cough something up from deep inside”), we ended up with “spit”, the mucus that is generated in the mouth, home to millions of species of organism, and unhelpful in the diagnosis of pneumonia. When we run from the patient’s bedside to the closest microscope, we apply our stains and breathlessly wait to see: was it truly sputum? or just more spit?

Hence the burning question:

Is this SPIT or SPUTUM?

Not that funny? I guess you had to be there. Nevertheless, the title remains stuck in my head.

Reading this article brought that random thought out of the depths.

Fascinating read: researchers identified that Candida Albicans, a common fungus, is often present in our mouths. In this moist, seemingly ideal growth environment, does this organism not cause yeast infections in everyone?

It is a story worthy of Sherlock Holmes. From oral mucus to sugars to glycans to oxygen linking and then …

This is science AND science writing that educates and elevates. Worth a read.

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