Health Nerd Profile picture
Epidemiologist. Writer (Guardian, Observer etc). "Well known research trouble-maker". PhDing at @UoW Host of @senscipod Email gidmk.healthnerd@gmail.com he/him
Sean Marrett Profile picture Daryl Adair Profile picture ♿🕊️ 🙌 💉 Love Beats Hate 👨‍❤️‍👨 Profile picture UnChatUnChat Profile picture Johannes Richter Profile picture 37 added to My Authors
May 19 15 tweets 7 min read
This bizarre editorial piece has gone viral, so I thought it'd be useful to look at some the claims made and how astonishingly unscientific the entire paper is

Some twitter peer-review 1/n Picture of viral tweet saying "nothing I say can prepar 2/n The paper is here, and it's a lengthy single-author editorial in a journal with an...interesting background: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/P…
discovermagazine.com/mind/right-win…
May 9 10 tweets 3 min read
Haven't done this in forever, so let's do a quick review of a headline in real time

Apparently a vegan diet is "key to fighting obesity"

Time to go on a bear hunt (for SCIENCE) Right off the bat, this is a BIG claim. Three months of dieting and an average of ~7Kg weight loss? That's a pretty impressive result!
May 5 29 tweets 10 min read
This paper was published recently, and has gone hugely viral because it seems to indicate that COVID-19 vaccines in Israel caused cardiovascular events in young people

The paper has some serious flaws. I'm quite surprised that it was published 1/n 2/n The study is here. The authors took publicly available datasets of vaccinations and COVID-19 cases in Israel, and correlated these with EMS calls for cardiovascular events

Vaccines correlated with the calls, cases didn't, leading to this conclusion nature.com/articles/s4159…
May 1 6 tweets 2 min read
People who live outside the US, what's the thing you found most absurd about the country when you heard about it for the first time? For me it's definitely the drug advertisements. Just promoting prescription meds with complex cost/benefits directly to patients on primetime TV

Wild stuff
Apr 29 6 tweets 2 min read
Did you know that Twitter published a scientific paper on their own data proving that their algorithm has a significant right-wing slant?

Now you do

pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pn… "Across the seven countries we studied, we found that mainstream right-wing parties benefit at least as much, and often substantially more, from algorithmic personalization than their left-wing counterparts."
Apr 28 21 tweets 6 min read
A new preprint has gone viral as it seems to indicate that mRNA vaccines are less useful than adenovirus vaccines such as Astrazeneca for COVID-19

However, there are some issues. A bit of twitter peer-review 1/n 2/n The paper is here. The authors basically took all of the phase 3 RCTs on mRNA and AD vaccines, took out the deaths caused by COVID-19 and accidents, and looked at the overall death rates papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf…
Apr 27 4 tweets 1 min read
People have been talking about how to make more money off Twitter since Musk brought the thing. I reckon a fairly simple way would be to create a Cameo-style payment system where you could guarantee a response from a celebrity by paying cash One of the main reasons people come onto this platform, aside from showing off their, uh, unique political opinions, is to interact with famous people and actually get something back
Apr 26 13 tweets 5 min read
This study was published recently, looking at vitamin D levels and whether they predict mortality in hospital for COVID-19

Viewed 1 MILLION times, huge media presence. I have some thoughts 1/n 2/n The study is here, have a read. Basically a retrospective study looking at hospital patients admitted to an Israeli hospital. They found a MASSIVE effect, whereby virtually everyone who died had vitamin D <20ng/ml journals.plos.org/plosone/articl…
Apr 23 6 tweets 2 min read
Some very interesting implications here:

1. Lockdowns in Australia generally had a modest -ve impact on mental health
2. This was most acute in women with kids
3. Unsurprisingly, SES played a large role The really interesting point is this - lockdowns in the population overall, in the absence of a large surge in COVID-19 cases, had an overall impact only a bit worse than an average year (there had been a steady decline in mental health before 2020) Image
Apr 22 10 tweets 2 min read
People have asked my thoughts on ivermectin for COVID-19 recently, so here they are:

At this point, it's a waiting game 1/10 2/10 Most of the benefit was seen in studies that are retracted (or should be). The remainder is slim, and based mostly on very low-quality research
Apr 14 12 tweets 4 min read
Ugh. As someone who firmly believes that Long COVID is a serious issue that is often unaddressed, this is infuriating

Let's take a brief look at the paper 1/n 2/n It's a pretty simple systematic review. Authors looked at all observational studies using lung scans to check for pulmonary fibrosis, and aggregated them together. They conclude thusly
Apr 11 15 tweets 4 min read
At the end of a very long road, Professor John Ioannidis has published a review concluding that "The IFR of COVID-19 in community-dwelling elderly is lower than previously reported."

Some thoughts 1/n Image 2/n The paper is fairly simple - using data from Prof Ioannidis' previous review to calculate the IFR of COVID-19, and then dividing this up for older ages into those who do or do not live in aged care homes. Those in aged care were much more likely to die Image
Apr 4 26 tweets 8 min read
The TOGETHER trial, the biggest trial of ivermectin for COVID-19, was published recently. The findings were mostly null with a potential modest benefit

The ivermectin fans have been trashing the study using *awful* criticisms. Most are ridiculous, some few are worth noting 1/n 2/n First criticism - people might've been taking ivermectin in the control arm!

There are a few responses to this. The first obvious point is that the authors wrote in their discussion that they controlled for this factor
Apr 3 10 tweets 3 min read
Every once in a while I take a break from reading serious research and look at alternative medicine studies for Covid-19 because just...wow

This study has SO MANY RED FLAGS It's an RCT published on the "journal of clinical trials" which is currently down and only accessible through WebArchive. It appears to go down at least once a month, sometimes for weeks
Apr 2 4 tweets 1 min read
Vitamin D supplementation is arguably the most researched medical intervention of the last 30 years and has shown little benefit. People who think otherwise clearly haven't read much scientific research 🤷‍♂️ It is also an enormously profitable medical intervention where many positive claims are funded by industry. People make TONS of money off supplements
Mar 31 7 tweets 2 min read
The most fascinating part about the massive, incredibly well-done TOGETHER trial is how desperately the ivermectin proponents are scrambling to discard it The trial found a very solidly null result. Of course, this means that many of these people who've been proposing ivermectin as a perfect cure for over a year are almost certainly wrong
Mar 30 4 tweets 1 min read
A very common theme among people who minimize the pandemic is that they believe that people ultimately have total control over their own health

Not a position that is supported by evidence unfortunately Even forgetting genetics, your parents, suburb, job, and random chance will almost certainly have a greater impact on your health over a lifetime than anything you personally do
Mar 24 6 tweets 1 min read
I always find the endless excuses for drugs not working from true believers to be quite funny. If drugs only work in INCREDIBLY SPECIFIC scenarios, they aren't much use in the real world anyway Like, take ivermectin. If it has to be given in massive doses within 2 days of infection, then it's probably not going to work for the majority of real patients anywa
Mar 21 7 tweets 2 min read
Sometimes I think about the companies that reported better productivity with COVID precautions, and also about sick leave and how massive a deal it is When I used to work in hospital finance, around 2-3% of all working days were sick days. It was a serious expense that we budgeted in because in a hospital of 2-3k staff having at least 60 people off a day is a big budget item
Mar 9 10 tweets 3 min read
Some news - @lonnibesancon, @jamesheathers, @MicrobiomDigest and I have just had a new paper on scientific error correction during Covid-19 published in @PLOSBiology

journals.plos.org/plosbiology/ar…

1/10 2/10 The basic issues that we've identified are pretty simple - while the outputs of science (vaccines, treatments) during the pandemic have been quite impressive, the mechanism that we use to generate knowledge is broken in a big way
Mar 7 8 tweets 2 min read
This nonsense is going viral again, which I can only take as a sign that many people promoting evidence have no experience whatsoever with scientific evidence and appraisal

THIS IS A CONFERENCE ABSTRACT You can find the paper, such as it is, here. All 315 glorious words sciencedirect.com/science/articl…