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Neuron Culture

David Dobbs on science, nature, and culture.



dobbspic I write articles on science, medicine, nature, culture and other matters for the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Slate, National Geographic, Scientific American Mind, and other publications, and am working on my fourth book, The Orchid and the Dandelion, which expands on my recent December 2009 Atlantic article. My previous books include Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral, which traces the strangest but most forgotten controversy in Darwin's career — an elemental dispute running some 75 years.

You're encouraged to subscribe to Neuron Culture by email; see more of my workat my main website; or check out my catch-all-streams Tumblr log.


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    Public health:

    The Week's Best: Evolution, healthcare reform, clever apes, and Cheever in his undies

    Category: Art

    Evolution, healthcare reform, baboons, and Cheever in his underwear

    Read on »

    Top 5 Neuron Culture Posts for October

    Category: Swine flu

    A bit early yet, but as I'm traveling the rest of the month, here's my top 5 over the last month. Swine flu everywhere you look.

    Read on »

    Why is the swine flu vaccine so late? Who are you to ask such a question?

    Category: Healthcare policy

    I like industrial secrets as much as the next person. But it would seem that when tens of millions of doses of vaccine are weeks late, we might get something more specific than that one company was overoptimistic and another had trouble filling syringes.

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    "The right to infect": SophiaZoe tells us what she really thinks about health workers & flu shots

    Category: Healthcare policy

    Nurses and doctors have won a victory in their battle for their "right" to infect patients with easily prevented...

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    The flu, Donald Fagan, Dana Blankenhorn, and the fellow in the brite nightgown

    Category: Medicine

    W.C. Fields (above) famously called death the “fellow in the brite nightgown.” A few years ago Donald Fagan turned this into a catchy song. To those unconcerned about H1N1 feel free to hum it on your way out the door, when said fellow gives you the victory hug.

    Read on »

    If Vermont is #1 in health care, this country's in big trouble

    Category: Healthcare policy

    The steps we've taken, while half-measures to be sure, reflect the state's essential decency and civility. Yet Vermont's distinction is not in curing the healthcare problem. We're just stanching the bleeding a bit better than other states.

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    Am I dreaming, or are both swine flu and the healtcare reform backlash in retreat?

    Category: Healthcare policy

    Probably dreaming. But now and then it all seems so real.

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    Swine flu vaccine 'nightmare' -- and neither flu nor vaccine is even here yet

    Category: Healthcare policy

    Tell me again why we don't just have vaccination clinics at school?

    Read on »

    Neuron Culture's Top Ten from September

    Category: Brains and minds

    That post reported the news (via FiercePharma) that Pfizer had tucked away in its financial disclosure forms a $2.3 billion charge to end the federal investigation into allegations of off-label promotions of its Cox-2 painkillers, including Bextra. ... Because my post was was one of the few things already on the interwebz before Justice held its news conference, the Google rush shot it toward the top of the search results.

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    Flu roundup cont'd

    Category: Healthcare policy

    Here's my short list for the day: Helen Branswell reports that WHO is unpersuaded by the unpublished paper showing seasonal flu vaccine may raise chance of getting swine flu. ... The gist: The possibility that the seasonal flu vaccine could increase risk of contracting swine flu, says Laden, "concerns me quite a bit, as my wife is 8 months pregnant, flu is a very serious risk for pregnant women and their babies , she teaches in a high school, and got her seasonal flu shot last week.."   One can hope, fervently, that the swine-flu vaccines, which start getting punched into people in the U.S. today , find their way very rapidly to a flu clinic near Laden's better half.

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