Link Roundup 5/1/15

Wasps smaller than amoebas.

There’s a fair number of horror movies and games where you can only see the ghost with special glasses or a camera.  This game lets you live that with your phone camera.  In your house.  Good luck.

App to help Alzheimer’s patients remember their loved ones.   The app is preloaded with descriptions of specific people- the users’ relationship to them, photos of memories, etc.  When that person (with their phone, running their own version of the app) gets close enough, the patient’s app will flash that data.  The article focuses on how this could delay memory loss, but I think it will also be helpful in alleviating some of the frustration and humiliation of Alzheimer’s.

Patients’ ratings of drugs are negative correlated with doctors’ ratings.  There are some non-awful ways this could be true*, and we could resolve this conflict with trials directly comparing drugs.  In the particular case of depression there’s one study directly comparing MAOIs to SSRIs.  It was funded by the patent holder to one of the most popular SSRIs, and it found them to be equally effective, with SSRIs being safer (which depends a lot on how you weight different problems).

This isn’t the manufacturers’ fault.  There’s no reason the manufacturer, who has put a lot of money into developing this drug and all the others that never made it to market, should spend money proving you shouldn’t buy their product.  The problem is that drug company-funded research is almost all there is.  In any sane world a public health agency would have run this trial long ago.

I’m extra frustrated by this because the FDA makes drug companies spend an enormous amount of money to get their drugs approved, and we still don’t get the data we really need.  It’s security theater for medicine.

Scientifically grounded STD statistics.

Workingatanonprofit seems frustrating.

*e.g. a treatment needs to be rated at least so good by doctors or patients to be prescribed, or for something like depression where patients often need to try multiple drugs before finding one that works, the first line will show more failures even if it’s more effective on average because people who thrive on them never try the drugs that don’t work for them.