Friday, January 23, 2009

Can you avoid exposure to cold and flu germs? What preventative measures really help? Such a simple question prompts a very complicated answer from science -- mostly because it's not clear how the viruses travel from one person to the next. One paper I read while researching my two-part story for the Los Angeles Times was entitled: "Rhinovirus transmission: One if by air, two if by hand."

In another story for the Los Angeles Times, I wrote about some rare but serious side effects linked to the osteoporosis drug, Fosamax.

For Nature (subscription only), I profiled a scientist who studies AIDS vaccines in animal models. Dan Barouch was in the midst of a three-year long study in monkeys when an important human vaccine trial was called off because it wasn't working. Barouch's vaccine was of a similar type (based on an adenovirus), but his method was different enough that he stuck with his experiment -- to a positive end. While much remains to be learned about vaccinating against HIV, this work shows that the regimen is as important as the vaccine itself.


GM Gorlick, MD,MPH said...

Jill----As a pediatrician for far too many years, I cannot subscribe to the many onerous tests and vaccines being foisted upon our 12 to 13 year olds.I do not think HIV testing should be a general policy for our 13 year olds. I do not believe that many 9 to 13 year old girls need the HPV vaccine ( Gardisil ). And barring an exceptional family history I do not believe that lipid ( cholesterol et al) testing is needed for teens. Your opinions welcomed, Gary Gorlick, MD,MPH,FAAP

Jill U Adams said...


I hear you. I asked my kids' pediatrician and he agrees with you. My son will not be offered an HIV test when he turns 13 next year.

And yet, I'm sympathetic to those who see this as one part of an effort to eradicate AIDS.

GM Gorlick, MD,MPH said...


Your pediatrician is a wise man or woman ( IMHO ). I believe that COMMON SENSE is still important, and that it is too fast passing in America. I sense that much of the literature is weak: some is falsified, many negative-result studies are never published, and that many are very weak statistically. All this results in wrong decisions for Pediatric care and I detest this....and our babies and children suffer from it.

Keep up the fine reportage....Gary Gorlick, MD