The Daily Dose: Don’t take painkillers before being vaccinated; Defining the GOP anti-science movement.

An article by the Associated Press offers some advice on pre-vaccination medicine taking, in particular painkillers. According to the article, “The concern about painkillers is that they might curb the very immune system response that a vaccine aims to spur… Some research suggests that certain painkillers including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and other brands) might diminish the immune system’s response. A study on mice suggests these drugs might lower production of antibodies, which block the virus from infecting cells.” Future immunization-goers should take note.

Now that the WHO SARS-CoV-2 origins report has been published, the conversation moves on to the question: “What’s next?” An article in Nature spoke to experts about what to expect and whether it is likely that the virus’s origin will be discovered. According to one expert, “Given the politics and the many unanswered questions, some scientists have wondered whether the origins of the pandemic might forever remain elusive. But those familiar with tracing origins say that it takes time, and a bit of luck.” Considering the hurdles involved, more like a lot of luck.

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A very interesting commentary piece in Scientific American takes a hard look at the spread of anti-science sentiment in the United States and the way it has been increasingly championed by the Republican Party. Peter J. Hotez writes: “I trace the adoption of antiscience as a major platform of the GOP to the year 2015 when the antivaccine movement pivoted to political extremism on the right. It first began in Southern California when a measles epidemic erupted following widespread vaccine exemptions. The California legislature shut down these exemptions to protect the public health, but this ignited a “health freedom” rallying cry. Health freedom then gained strength and accelerated in Texas where it formed a political action committee linked to the Tea Party. Protests against vaccines became a major platform of the Tea Party; this then generalized in 2020 to defy masks and social distancing.” As the U.S. barrels toward the 2022 mid-term elections, the anti-science movement shows no signs of slowing down.

Researchers are investigating whether changes in diet can help cancer drugs become less toxic and more effective. Among the suggested nutrition regimens include the popular ketodiet that is high on fats and proteins and low on carbohydrates. Per Science, “Scientists including Vousden, who cofounded a company with Cantley to test diet-drug combinations in cancer trials, are unraveling the molecular pathways by which slashing calories or removing a dietary component can bolster the effects of drugs. In mice with cancer, ‘the effects are oftentimes on the same order of magnitude as those from the drugs that we give patients. That’s a powerful thing to think about,’ says physician-scientist Matthew Vander Heiden of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. And the idea appeals to patients, he adds. ‘Diet is something that people feel like they can control.’”

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend. Let’s be careful out there.

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