My first contribution to WIRED: The Face Mask Debate Reveals a Scientific Double Standard. Healthcare and other essential workers are absolutely the priority, but that doesn't mean they couldn't play a role in reducing the pandemic's spread.

And I wrote a post on the evidence about masks to prevent the spread of infection at Absolutely Maybe: The Limits of Those Reviews of Masks For All and What We Do Know.

And my first editorial in the Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin: Improving consultations with children and adolescents.






Where on earth did those "top 5 regrets of the dying" come from, and why do people believe it? In which I get fascinated by the research on regret, discover that people can be "regret averse" (and I am!). At Absolutely Maybe: Why Do Scientists "Cite" the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying?

#ThrowbackThursday: With COVID-19's arrival, I updated my 2014 post on "the Dracula sneeze" in case anyone should land on it. Just as well, too - CDC links were broken and the evidence I'd cited was very out-of-date. Still shocked, though, that there hasn't been more evidence.

There has been stunningly fast progress, though, on a vaccine for COVID-19. And I tackled that and the clinical trial phase process in my post, First in Human: COVID-19 Vaccines & Tales of Phase 1 Clinical Trials Past.

Also on the coronavirus pandemic, I vented on an opinion piece by John Ioannidis: A Rebuttal to "A Fiasco in the Making?" - and dug into data further in a follow-up post, "Fiasco" Rebuttal Postscript: What About That 0.3% Fatality Estimate?

Cochrane published the first progress report for the update of the Cochrane review on exercise and ME/CFS, with a new "home" for news about it.





Honored to be leading an independent advisory group for the full update of the Cochrane review on exercise therapy and ME/CFS. I'm so happy to see community concerns taken this seriously. More details, including a contact emails for the group, in the Cochrane announcement.

Also on the subject of the Cochrane Collaboration, I posted a timeline and thoughts in the aftermath of Peter Gøtzsche's expulsion from the organization: here.

The month is ending with the publication of the systematic review of the HPV vaccines by Jørgensen, Gøtzsche, and Jefferson. I was invited to write the commentary accompanying it, here at Systematic Reviews. I've blogged about it at Absolutely Maybe: The High Risk Methods of New Systematic Review of HPV Vaccines.

And for Black History Month, I focused on African-American chemists and a fabulous sociologist who studied them. On Wikipedia, I created an article on the sociologist, Willie Pearson Jr, uploading a photo that I took of him as well. And when I saw that the Wikipedia page for one of the towering African-American figures in chemistry, Samuel P. Massie, was just a paragraph, with no photo, I tackled that one too. Here's my post at Absolutely Maybe:

Black History Month: Chemists' Powerful Stories and the Sociologist Who Studied Them.

This photo below of the chemistry lab at Howard University around 1900 is one that was curated by another sociologist, the remarkable W.E.B. DuBois. But you can read about that in the post!






First up this month: my annual roundup of open access news. At Absolutely Maybe – Open Access 2019: A Year of Momentum on the Subscription Off-Ramp. A year of deals, deals, break-ups, and more deals, that ended with a bombshell!

The MetaBLIND study emerged with a result no-one expected. Where does it leave us? My summary and thoughts in The Renewed Debate About Blinding in Clinical Trials.

And I was delighted to join the editorial board for the Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB). It's not a research journal: it's an independent drug bulletin, communicating about evidence, predominantly to drug prescribers in the UK. The DTB is the brainchild of the marvellous Andrew Herxheimer (1925–2016). Andrew was a wonderful man, with a remarkable life and family. Here's a selfie I took with him in 2015, and here's a post I wrote about him and his father – What Lies Beneath a Scientist's Life: A Father and Son Story. It's an honor to contribute to the publication I still think of as "his".







Having submitted my doctoral thesis at last, I finally began getting around to all the things that need updating. The first cab off the rank is Open Badges Redux: A Few Years On, How's the Evidence Looking?

I ended the year with a wrap-up of a year in peer review research: 5 Things We Learned About Peer Review in 2019.

The “Oh, the Things We Could Know!” cartoon was a good way to open a new year for science: it pays homage to the glorious Dr. Seuss’ book –

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

any direction you choose.


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