53 votes
Accepted

How does a Coronavirus "test kit" work?

The CDC has made available online its nCoV test kit. Briefly,the kit contains primers and probes for real-time reverse-transcriptase PCR, as well as instructions for appropriate use and (critically) ...
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  • 14.1k
38 votes
Accepted

Why are scientists saying that the Omicron COVID-19 variant is a reason to get a booster?

(note: I'm simplifying things a bit here by only talking about antibodies; I don't mean to downplay other aspects of the immune response, just to keep it focused for a lay audience) Natural antibody ...
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  • 35.1k
29 votes

Why have a placebo control group when testing a new drug if existing drugs can be used?

You are correct. For serious diseases, it would be unethical to withhold the existing treatment (Treatment A) for a placebo. Treatment A is called "standard of care", and new treatments are compared ...
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  • 7,529
28 votes
Accepted

Is pork poisonous?

Pigs and swine are so poisonous that you can hardly kill them with strychnine or other poisons. This is a non-sequitur. An animal being poisonous does not imply that it resists to poison, nor the ...
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  • 6,832
25 votes

How does a Coronavirus "test kit" work?

There are actually 3+ types of test kits widely used to diagnose diseases caused by viruses. We can check for the nucleic acid of the virus, the antigen of the virus that would cause an immune ...
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25 votes
Accepted

Why are drug dosages so high in some mice studies?

Mice are simply different from humans; they have different metabolism, different lifespan, different body size. Generally, for a first order approximation, one might scale simply by body weight to ...
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  • 35.1k
23 votes
Accepted

Where’s the flaw in my proposed TB Treatment?

High oxygen concentration can be deleterious; it can induce oxidative damage. The systemic blood circulation would supply oxygen to the "oxygen-deprived" lung. Moreover, Mycobacteria can survive in ...
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  • 35k
21 votes

Why do doctors still advise HIV+ couples to wear a condom during sex?

Doctors would recommend the use of barrier protection for couples where both partners are HIV+ because the virus can mutate. Mutated forms of the virus can become resistant to Highly Active ...
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  • 4,970
18 votes

Why have a placebo control group when testing a new drug if existing drugs can be used?

It's worth pointing out that the purpose of the placebo isn't really to test against no treatment, it's to test against the belief of receiving an effective treatment, for both the subject and the ...
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  • 281
16 votes
Accepted

What is the biological reason for a burst appendix being potentially lethal?

Necessary conditions In order for the process culminating in appendiceal rupture to begin, there must first be proximal obstruction of the lumen (the inside cavity of the appendix) that prevents ...
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  • 3,119
14 votes
Accepted

How are Maggots Sterilized (Disinfected)?

History Ambroise Paré is credited with being the first to note his observations on Maggot Debridement Therapy (MDT) in the 1500 though it is a technology that has been used for centuries (reference). ...
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14 votes
Accepted

Why do people in the scientific community use terminology such as renal, hepatic, cardiac instead of kidney, liver and heart?

Medicine is not my field, but I want to point out two things: The former words have latin (or greek) roots, and historically latin was the international language of science. Therefore, nomenclature ...
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14 votes

Doing a medical study on yourself?

One of the cornerstones of research ethics worldwide is the Nuremberg code, which was formulated shortly after the Second World War and set off by the cruelties performed by the Nazi Doctors. The ...
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  • 51k
14 votes
Accepted

Does homeopathic or herbal treatment of cancer have any scientific recognition?

The methodology behind homeopathy is scientific nonsense. If you dilute anything a billion times, it will have no chemical effect, not even if you shake it all the while. So no, homeopathy does ...
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  • 4,680
14 votes
Accepted

Inability of vultures to digest diclofenac

Via: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1618889/ Post-mortem examination revealed extensive visceral gout in all diclofenac-treated birds (see electronic supplementary material). ...
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14 votes

Why are scientists saying that the Omicron COVID-19 variant is a reason to get a booster?

Some Clarification: Scientist were not opposed to a third dose, they were opposed to the rich country getting a third dose before we vaccinated the rest of the world. The WHO is right to call a ...
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  • 251
13 votes
Accepted

What does irregular heartbeat mean in simple language?

The normal cardiac cycle is comprised of two distinct phases: the systolic phase in which the heart contracts, ejecting the blood, followed by the the diastolic phase when the cardiac muscle relaxes, ...
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  • 760
13 votes
Accepted

Why is insulin given in type 2 diabetes?

Isn't it illogical to give more of insulin for a deficit amount of receptors? Seems like there is some confusion in the definition of type-2 DM itself. According ...
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11 votes

How does a Coronavirus "test kit" work?

There are several proposed tests for 2019-2020 novel coronavirus responsible for the Wuhan outbreak. The main techniques these are based on are: PCR or qPCR targeted amplification CRISPR-Cas9 genome ...
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  • 420
10 votes

Why ml scale blood retrieval is required to run a blood test?

It might be better to consider the sampling technology, economic and logistical issues with this question as well as the tech behind the tests. First, some tests still will want a few milliliters of ...
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9 votes

Where’s the flaw in my proposed TB Treatment?

The accepted answer is correct but I would like to point out a misunderstanding that has to underly the idea that this would work: In reality lungs aren't a magical one-way gate for the various gases....
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9 votes

Why is insulin given in type 2 diabetes?

This is true for the beginning of the disease. As a reaction to the reduced sensitivity of the cells in the body to insulin (and thus less uptake of glucose from the blood and a resulting ...
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  • 49.1k
9 votes
Accepted

Why do doctors use a new thread for each stitch?

Using a single thread for a suture also known as continuous stitching has a major con that it has higher risk of failing if the suture is cut in just one place. So it is generally avoided eventhough ...
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  • 4,716
9 votes

What are the consequences of inbreeding?

You are right. Inbreeding strongly increases overall homozygosity which subjects inbred individuals to diseases caused by rare recessive alleles. In non-inbred individuals the chance is quite low to ...
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  • 2,867
9 votes
Accepted

Why is methanol poisonous?

Methanol is highly toxic in humans. As little as 10 ml of pure methanol can destroy the optic nerve and cause permanent blindness, while 30 ml dose is fatal (Vale et al, 2007). However, its toxic ...
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9 votes
Accepted

How harmful is aluminium?

Here is a link to the Public Health Statement for Aluminum produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States. There is much more information on the web page but ...
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  • 2,695
9 votes
Accepted

Why are only few cigarette smokers prone to cancer?

Cigarette smokers are most certainly prone to cancer. See Cecil Medicine, Chapter 183, on the epidemiology of cancer, exposure to tobacco is the most important environmental risk factor for cancer ...
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  • 8,671
8 votes

What does irregular heartbeat mean in simple language?

Very simply putting, irregular heat beat means that the pulse is not regular. It can be diagnosed by checking your pulse clinically. Irregularities are further classified as: Regularly Irregular: ...
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  • 3,010
8 votes

How are Maggots Sterilized (Disinfected)?

There is an interesting and authoritative paper on rearing of larvae of blue bottle flies for debridement purposes, cited below. Essentially the eggs are disinfected (rinsed) using .25 % ...
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  • 2,759
7 votes

Functions of the CFTR gene?

CFTR is the gene which encodes the "Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator", which is a membrane protein. Its function is to transport chloride and other negatively charged ion like ...
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