#20: Many great things you missed this year

Link: https://www.scientificdiscovery.dev/p/20-so-many-great-things-you-missed



You can see that, in childhood, in the US, the most common causes of death are ‘external causes’. This is a broad category that includes accidents, falls, violence, and overdoses, and is shown in red. But there’s also a notable contribution from birth disorders (in muted green), childhood cancers (in blue), and respiratory diseases (in cyan).

The share of deaths in childhood from cancers stood out to me. We’ve seen lots of progress against many childhood cancers over the last 50 years — notably in treating leukemia, brain cancers, kidney cancers, lymphomas, and retinoblastoma — but this is a reminder that there’s still further to go.

From adolescence until middle-age, ‘external causes’ are now the overwhelming cause of death. Around 80% of deaths at the age of 20 in the US are due to external causes. These result from causes such as accidents, violence, and overdoses.

At older ages, diseases rise in importance. Causes of death also become more varied, although cardiovascular diseases and cancers are the most common.

You might also be wondering about the brown category at the bottom, called ‘special ICD codes’. That’s a placeholder category in the system for deaths caused by new diseases — predominantly Covid-19, since the data spans 2018 to 2021.3


Publication Date: 16 Mar 2022

Publication Site: Scientific Discovery on substack

Diseasonality – Why is winter flu season?




Cold and humidity are definitely important – scientists can make flu spread faster or slower in guinea pigs just by altering the temperature and humidity of their cages. But it can’t just be cold and humidity. But if it was just cold, you would expect flu to track temperature instead of seasonality. Alaska is colder in the summer than Florida in the winter, so you might expect more summer flu in Alaska than winter flu in Florida. But Alaska and Florida both have lots of flu in the winter and little flu in the summer.

(if it was just humidity, same argument, but change the place names to Arizona and Florida.)

It’s the same story with people being cramped indoors. Common-sensically, this has to be some of the story. But if it were the most important contributor, you would expect to see the opposite pattern in very hot areas, where nobody will go out during the summer but it’s pleasant and balmy in the winter. Yet I have never heard anyone claim that any winter diseases happen in summer in Arizona or Saudi Arabia or terrible places like that.

If it was just vitamin D…look, it’s not vitamin D. Nothing is ever vitamin D. People try so hard to attribute everything to vitamin D, and it never works. The most recent studies show it doesn’t prevent colds or flu, and I think the best available evidence shows it doesn’t prevent coronavirus either. African-Americans, who are all horrendously Vitamin D deficient, don’t get colds at a higher rate than other groups (they do get flu more, but they’re vaccinated less, so whatever).

Author(s): Scott Alexander

Publication Date: 7 Dec 2021

Publication Site: Astral Codex Ten

COVID-19: Weather Has Big Impact On Virus Spread, Study Finds

Link: https://dailyvoice.com/new-york/northsalem/news/covid-19-weather-has-big-impact-on-virus-spread-study-finds/802724/


A new study published in the Physics of Fluids found that the spread of airborne viruses, such as COVID-19, is very much affected by the weather.

As temperatures rise and humidity falls, the study’s authors, from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, said they expect another improvement in COVID-19 infection rates.


Applying this theory, they found that COVID-19 transmission rates varied in the northern and southern hemispheres depending on the time of year, thus pointing to a weather dependence.

Typical disease transmission studies only consider transmission and recovery rates, the study noted. Researchers argued that weather and climate – temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed – should also be factored into predicting how the virus will spread.

Author(s): Kristin Palpini

Publication Date: 7 February 2021

Publication Site: Daily Voice