Category Archives: Social issues ( be civil ! )

Cassava Sciences — the clinical reality underneath the stock gyrations.

The stock of Cassava Sciences (symbol SAVA) has undergone some wild gyrations this year.  On 14 September it traded at 41.70, today just two weeks later it is trading in the upper 60s.

The important thing to keep in mind, is that 1 year out on treatment with SAVA’s drug Simufilam 50 patients with mild Alzheimer disease were (as a group) slightly improved.  This is absolutely unprecedented.  The best that previous therapy could accomplish was a slightly slower rate of decline — see arshttps://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/373/6555/624.full.pdf — for a recent review of other therapy attempts.  So Cassava’s results are unprecedented.   While Alzheimer (and other dementia) patients fluctuate from day to day (like the tides from minute to minute) at the end of a year they are all worse.

These results have not been attacked, unlike their data on the effect of Simufilam on biomarkers which has been criticized by a person of standing — Elizabeth Bik — https://scienceintegritydigest.com/2021/08/27/cassava-sciences-of-stocks-and-blots/#more-2692.

But that’s irrelevant and guilt by association at best.  As a clinical neurologist, no one was ever brought to see me because of their biomarkers.

They have released part of their 1 year results — https://www.cassavasciences.com/news-releases/news-release-details/cassava-sciences-announces-top-line-results-12-month-interim.  There is a lot more that I’d like to know, but a press release is not a detailed scientific paper.

What follows is a lot of commentary and speculation about the 1 year data which we haven’t seen yet.

The results concern the first 50 patients to complete one year on the drug.  The dropout rate is stated to be under 10%.  Presumably this includes death, in a cohort (presently at around 200) with a significant mortality.  It would be interesting to know how many patients on entry made it to one year.

As a clinical neurologist I was particularly impressed with part of their data at 9 months.  Here’s a link — keep it handy — https://www.cassavasciences.com/static-files/13794384-53b3-452c-ae6c-7a09828ad389.

They measured cognitive changes by something called ADAS-Cog — a full description can be found in the following post — https://luysii.wordpress.com/2021/08/25/cassava-sciences-9-month-data-is-probably-better-than-they-realize/

ADAS-Cog score counts errors, so a perfect score would be 0, and a terrible score would be 70.  The range of deficit on entry was 16 – 26 (but possibly on something else called the MMSE) — this is what the 1 year results used.  The 9 month results used ADAS-Cog.  Perhaps they are actually the same thing — I don’t know.

On the link — https://www.cassavasciences.com/static-files/13794384-53b3-452c-ae6c-7a09828ad389 — look at the diagram titled “Individual Patient Changes in ADAS-Cog (N = 50).

There were 5 patients out of 50 at 9 months with improvements of 11 – 14, which would mean that they were pretty close to normal if their entry score was 16 and 50% improved if their score was 26.  From here out I’m just calling them ‘the 5’.

The 9 month report doesn’t discuss this, and only a clinician would know, but this is the way neurologic patients respond to treatment.  Some do extremely well while others have no effect.  Why?  It’s probably because not really understanding causation, we classify patients clinically (it’s all docs have after all).

I ran a Muscular Dystrophy Clinic for 15 years back in the day.  The Muscular Dystrophy Association was founded by parents of weak kids.  They didn’t know that some weakness was due to the muscle itself (what we’re now calling muscular dystrophy), some was due to disease affected the nerves from the spinal cord to the muscle (what we call a neuropathy now) and others were due to disease of the cells in the spinal cord giving rise to the nerves to the muscle (motor neuron disease).  That all came later.

It is quite presumptuous to say that Alzheimer’s disease is just one thing.  Perhaps the 5 patients doing so very well had it from a different (as yet unknown) cause than the other 45.  Even so such a treatment would be worth having.

So here are a few questions for the folks at Cassava about their data

l. Some 16 different sites were involved in the open label study.  Were all of ‘the 5’  from the same site (doubtful — but if true, perhaps they tested ADAS-Cog differently, casting doubt on these results).

2. What were the ADAS-Cog scores initially on ‘the 5’.

3. What happened to ‘the 5’ in the past 3 months (did they maintain improvement, slide back, or improve further?)

4. We must have lots more people passing the 3, 6, 9 month markers.  Have their results paralleled that of the first 50 reaching the mileposts?   It would be very useful to know if there are now more than 5 with improvements over 10 in ADAS-Cog at 9 months.

The slightly slowing of improvement at 1 year relative to 9 months is typical of neurologic disease.  When L-DOPA was first available in the USA in 1970, some patients because so normal that you couldn’t tell they had Parkinson’s disease, and for a few years, neurologists (myself included) thought we were actually curing the disease.  Of course we weren’t and the underlying pathology of Parkinsonism (death of neurons using dopamine) continued unabated.  The L-DOPA just helped the surviving neurons function more efficiently.  Something similar may be going on with Simufilam and Alzheimer’s.

Now for some blue sky about Simufilam. Just as the gray hair on the head of an 80 year old looks the same under the microscope as one from a prematurely gray 30 year old, the brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease (the senile plaque)  are the same regardless of the age of onset.  Assuming that the senile plaque is in someway related to dementia (despite the lack of effect of therapies trying to remove it) and given that we all accumulate a few as we age, could Simufilam improve cognition in the elderly?   Would it then be intellectual viagra and the blockbuster drug of all blockbuster drugs.

 

Spot the flaw in this argument — I didn’t

The following sentence appeared in an article in the latest (24 September ’21)  Science.   ” In mid-August, after vaccine efficacy had started to wane and before the effects of boosters had taken hold, 59% of severe patients were fully vaccinated.”

This is far worse than ’started to wane’, given the following sentence from the same article “Israel’s vaccination rate—64% of its population has received at least two doses”

Put the two together (which the article really didn’t do) and you see that at most the vaccine was giving at most 5% protection against severe infection, which is really no protection at all.

The null hypothesis is that the rates of severe COVID19 in the vaccinated and unvaccinated should be the same, and the percentages cited above seems to bear that out.  

What’s wrong?  Something called the Simpson paradox — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson%27s_paradox

Start by assuming 100% of the population vaccinated, then all breakthrough hospitalizations will be in the vaccinated group, which means nothing. The point is that the vaccinated groups of Israeli’s are much different than the unvaccinated.    Note the unstated assumption in the above paragraph in bold type — we’re assuming that vaccination in the Israeli population is a random event.

But of course vaccination was never random.  Those at higher risk (the elderly, the immunodeficient for whatever reason) were vaccinated first.  So there are a lot of them to have breakthroughs, and they will have more breakthroughs because their immune systems aren’t as strong.

“Among Israeli adults under 50, as of Aug. 15, 3.5 million were vaccinated and 1.1 million were not. That’s still a considerable number of vaccine holdouts. Among those 3.5 million vaccinated younger people, just 11 were hospitalized — about three per million. Meanwhile, of the unvaccinated in this age range, 43 were in the hospital, or 39 per million.

Note that hospitalizations of young people for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated are low, because younger people rarely suffer the severest illness from covid-19. (Their immune systems are stronger)l Still, vaccination reduced the rate of hospitalization more than 10-fold in the population under 50.

Now look at the population 50 and older. There are 2.1 million vaccinated Israelis over 50, and 290 were in the hospital Aug. 15. That’s 136 per million, a rate that dwarfs anything younger people are experiencing. And unvaccinated older Israelis? There are very few people in that category: just 186,000. But of that group, 171 were hospitalized — a grievously higher rate of 919 per million. In the older population, vaccinated people were less than one-sixth as likely to be hospitalized as the unvaccinated.”

I thank a friend for pointing out the error of my ways.

Even so only in the under 50 group can vaccination be said to provide > 90% protection against severe infection.  In the over 50 group the protection is 84% — still not bad

Long time no post

Switching to a new computer and a new eMail has been nothing short of a time consuming disaster, not to say expensive.  I should start posting again this week.  See the previous post for why you must continually update your data to keep it accessible.

I do recommend an excellent review article on phase transitions in the cell [ Neuron vol. 109 pp.. 2663 – 2681 ’21 ] which tries to make sense of the chemistry behind it, particularly focusing on RNA.  Unfortunately it is likely behind a paywall.  I have written on the subject a while back, so here’s a link — https://luysii.wordpress.com/2020/12/20/neuroscience-can-no-longer-ignore-phase-separation/.  Now that people are looking for it, new examples are constantly being found.  It’s in chromatin. It’s at the synapse etc. etc.

Now a plea for help.  The hardest thing about shifting my database to Mathematica is finding a way to sort it.  This was no problem at all for Filemaker or Hypercard.  All you had to do was type sort and the programs did the rest.  Well no I have to do it.

Does anyone out there have any ideas what sort of internal data structures are available to keep 22K cards coherent and search them, while modifying them by continuing to read the literature.

No one will be able to access your data in 20 years

Hardware changes all the time requiring new software to use it even for the ‘same’ program.

 

Consider my history with HyperCard, a great Apple program I started using in 1987.  Apple didn’t support it after it moved away from Operating system 9 — new hardware managed memory differently.  So I was left with OS  X which still had a way to access OS 9 even though the processor was a 2.1 GigaHertz PowerPC.

Then newer hardware no longer accessed even the power PC, so as long my iMac G5 held out I was OK.  But hardware doesn’t last forever, so I tried to migrate my database to FileMaker Pro, another Apple product (although they tried to keep this quiet).

Filemaker documentation is simply horrible. Example: they don’t tell you what the reserved words are believe it or not.

So I’m currently trying to migrate my HyperCard database to Mathematica.  I had bought Mathematica 10 and the computer it runs on in 2015.  It was a macBook Pro with a 2.2 GigaHertz Intel Core i7.  But this year the battery started swelling (which Apple offered to replace for free), and worrying about exploding batteries in cars, I decided to move on.

So I bought the latest macBook Pro, which has 64 bit hardware instead of the 32 bit hardware of the old macBook Pro.  This means that Mathematica10 won’t work on the new computer so I must upgrade to Mathematica 12.

Well  what you get when you actually try to open a Mathematica notebook written in Mathematica 10 on the new machine is something like this.

(* Content-type: application/vnd.wolfram.mathematica *)

(*** Wolfram Notebook File ***)
(* http://www.wolfram.com/nb *)

(* CreatedBy=’Mathematica 10.0′ *)

(*CacheID: 234*)
(* Internal cache information:
NotebookFileLineBreakTest
NotebookFileLineBreakTest
NotebookDataPosition[ 158, 7]
NotebookDataLength[ 69720, 1756]
NotebookOptionsPosition[ 63597, 1546]
NotebookOutlinePosition[ 64410, 1576]
CellTagsIndexPosition[ 64240, 1569]
WindowFrame->Normal*)

(* Beginning of Notebook Content *)
Notebook[{
Cell[BoxData[
RowBox[{“(*”, ” “, “W645″, ” “, “*)”}]], “Input”,
CellChangeTimes->{{3.8400255875558558`*^9, 3.840025593274387*^9}}],

Cell[CellGroupData[{

Cell[BoxData[
RowBox[{“newList”, ” “, “=”, ” “,
RowBox[{“ReadList”, ” “, “[“, ” “,
RowBox[{
“\”\</Users/lewisrobinson/Desktop/ Cards 9461 to 9462\>\””, ” “, “,”,
” “, “string”}], ” “, “]”}]}]], “Input”,
CellChangeTimes->{{3.8400252429862013`*^9, 3.840025260918976*^9}, {
3.840025304055138*^9, 3.840025325036539*^9}}],

Hardly readable or usable is it?  Presumably the as yet unpurchased Mathematica 12 will be able to read this notebook and put it into recognizable form on the new machine.

Now let’s move 20 years into the future.  Further new hardware, further new software.  Will you be able to find a machine like my new computer

  Model Name: MacBook Pro
  Model Identifier: MacBookPro16,1
  Processor Name: 6-Core Intel Core i7
  Processor Speed: 2.6 GHz
  Number of Processors: 1
  Total Number of Cores: 6
  L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
  L3 Cache: 12 MB
  Hyper-Threading Technology: Enabled
  Memory: 16 GB
  System Firmware Version: 1554.100.64.0.0 (iBridge: 18.16.14556.0.0,0)
  Serial Number (system): C02G8AS4MD6M
  Hardware UUID: 28C836B3-C406-5215-AB85-A25653ADF226
  Provisioning UDID: 28C836B3-C406-5215-AB85-A25653ADF226
  Activation Lock Status: Disabled

 

In 2041 will you (or your grandson) be able to find a copy of Mathematica 12 to run it on, as the newer versions are unlikely to run on such an old computer (as just happened).

 

I seriously doubt it, cloud or no cloud.   So maintaining your data is a never ending process.

We’re not as protected as we thought we were

We all know that the only people hospitalized and dying of COVID-19 are lower forms of animal life such as the rednecked Trumpenproletariat from the deep South.  Here’s the New York Times of less than a month ago — https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/08/10/us/covid-breakthrough-infections-vaccines.html

“Serious coronavirus infections among vaccinated people have been relatively rare since the start of the vaccination campaign, a New York Times analysis of data from 40 states and Washington, D.C., shows. Fully vaccinated people have made up as few as 0.1 percent of and as many as 5 percent of those hospitalized with the virus in those states, and as few as 0.2 percent and as many as 6 percent of those who have died.”

Nothing to worry about up here in Massachusetts where roughly 2/3 of the population have been vaccinated.  Well that’s what I thought until Friday 3 September — when I saw this from the Massachusetts department of public health — https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2021/09/massachusetts-reports-1703-covid-cases-as-percentage-of-breakthrough-hospitalizations-continues-to-drop.html

149 of 609 hospitalizations (24%) with COVID19 had been fully vaccinated.  That is far from the protection we had been led to believe.  It could have been worse.  If the vaccination was totally useless,  the fully vaccinated should have made up 66% of the cases.  So there was some protection, but nothing like the New York Times and others were talking about a few weeks ago.

 

Addendum 26 September — There is a serious flaw in the above argument — for details please see — https://luysii.wordpress.com/2021/09/26/spot-the-flaw-in-this-argument-i-didnt/

So for the elderly, it’s back to restricted social contact and masks.

On a more personal note, I proved Richard Feynman right again.  He famously said ”

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Well I certainly did.  I read the following article in the 27 August Science –https://www.science.org/content/article/grim-warning-israel-vaccination-blunts-does-not-defeat-delt

It contained the following statement. ” As of 15 August, 514 Israelis were hospitalized with severe or critical COVID-19, a 31% increase from just 4 days earlier. Of the 514, 59% were fully vaccinated.”

I even took notes on the article.  Yet somehow I chose to ignore it.  Why?  Too threatening?  Didn’t fit with what I’d been told?  Kahneman has shown just how irrational, those who call themselves rational turn out to be.  Mea Culpa.

Addendum  7 September — https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2021/09/breakthrough-covid-cases-in-massachusetts-up-to-about-40-while-unvaccinated-people-dominate-hospitalizations.html

“The state reported a total of 601 COVID hospitalizations Tuesday 7 September ’21. Data shows that 160 of the 601 hospitalizations are people who were fully vaccinated — about 26% of all COVID hospitalizations. ”

So the data of 3 September referred to earlier are to be believed and likely NOT a statistical fluke as they are essentially the same as today’s.

What controls should Cassava Sciences use for their open label trial?

MDs gradually woke up to the fallacy of using historical rather than concurrent controls particularly in studies of therapies to prevent heart attack and stroke, as the rates of both dropped significantly in the past 50 years, and survival from individual heart attacks and strokes also improved.

An open label trial is just that, no placebo, no controls.  Such trials are done in the exploratory phase of drug development to look for side effects and (hopefully) therapeutic effects.

Cassava Sciences has been attacked because their open label study of Simufilam had no controls.  Duh !

Here is a suggestion for the concurrent controls for the Cassava study:  the Biogen study leading to approval of aducanumab (Aduhelm).  It’s a little hard to find out exactly when it was done, but it certainly was within the past 10 years. Here is a link to an article on Alzheimer therapy from Science — https://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/373/6555/624.full.pdf

Cassava’s work is nowhere to be found.  The article contains the following

“Although the marked decrease in amyloid deposits can be viewed as biological evidence of disease modification, this was accompanied by a decidedly mixed outcome on cognitive testing, with one aducanumab trial (EMERGE, NCT02484547) meeting its prespecified primary and secondary endpoints at the highest dose, whereas the other (ENGAGE, NCT02477800) did not achieve them.”

So use Biogen’s data on aducanumab as the placebo control (which I and the FDA advisory committee think it is).  There is a reason the entire committee resigned after the FDA approved the drug.

Biden is in early dementia — yet more evidence

This is the third post arguing that Biden is in early dementia.  Today’s post is  based on his performances on the 18th of August and today 20 August.  The previous 2 posts can be found below the ***

Addendum: 23 August.  Don’t take my word for it.  All the material in this post  is evidence — please look at the linked videos and quotations and decide for yourself.  Your conclusions may be different from mine, but at the least you will see the evidence on which mine are based.   If you disagree, I’d love to see a comment. 

On the 18th in an interview on ABC with George Stephanopoulos a transcript contains the following exchange

“STEPHANOPOULOS: I– I think a lot of– a lot of Americans, and a l– even a lot of veterans who served in Afghanistan agree with you on the big, strategic picture. They believe we had to get out. But I wonder how you respond to an Army Special Forces officer, Javier McKay (PH). He did seven tours. He was shot twice. He agrees with you. He says, “We have to cut our losses in Afghanistan.” But he adds, “I just wish we could’ve left with honor.”

BIDEN: Look, that’s like askin’ my deceased son Beau, who spent six months in Kosovo and a year in Iraq as a Navy captain and then major– I mean, as an Army major. And, you know, I’m sure h– he had regrets comin’ out of Afganista– I mean, out of Iraq.”

Doesn’t he know which branch of the service his son was in? Did he think his son was in Afghanistan?  My wife and I know where our 4 uncles served in world war two.

Unsurprisingly, ABC did not put this exchange on the air.  It was only found by reading the transcript.  Pravda could have done no better.

Today

“President Biden: (12:15) Look, let’s put this thing in perspective here. What interest do we have in Afghanistan at this point with Al Qaeda gone? ”

They aren’t gone according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.  At a briefing following Biden’s remarks Kirby said that there remains an al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan.

Wasn’t Biden told this?  If he was did he forget it?  Where is the shrink from Yale who wanted remove Trump using article 25 of the Constitution back in the day.

At least the questions he’s getting are no longer of the “what’s your favorite ice cream?” variety.

Here are two such questions.

Stephanie Ramos: (18:42)
Yeah. Thank you, Mr. President, two questions for you. The military has secured the airport, as you mentioned, but will you sign off on sending US troops into Kabul to evacuate Americans who haven’t been able to get to the airport safely?

President Biden: (18:56)
We have no indication that they haven’t been able to get in Kabul through the airport.

Given the incompetence of our intelligence this may actually be what Biden has been told.  Reports from Kabul say exactly the opposite.  It is also possible that Biden has been told what is going on there and simply forgot or is lying.

I have friends who have told me they’d rather have a demented Biden than an undemented Trump.  It looks like they’re getting their wish.

Here’s the previous post which contains older evidence.

*****

Biden is in early dementia — more evidence

In an earlier post (reproduced below the ***) I gave my reasons based on (presumably unedited) tapes of the President for concluding that President Biden is in the early stages of dementia.  I am a retired board certified neurologist and occasional board examiner with 34 years of clinical experience.

Here is further evidence.

In a town hall meeting put on by CNN 21 July President Biden became rather incoherent and confused when answering “When will children under 12 be able to get vaccinated.”

Here is the (presumably) unedited video of the meeting — https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/21/politics/full-president-joe-biden-cnn-town-hall-july-21/index.html.

The question was asked 6 minutes and 20 seconds into the recording.  The response starts to make not much sense at 7 minutes and at 7 minutes 21 seconds, he briefly becomes incoherent.  He continues on in this vein up to about 8 minutes.

This is what early dementia looks like.

Well that’s my opinion.  Look at the tape and make your own.

****  The earlier post

Biden is in early dementia — the evidence

As a neurologist I am often asked about Biden’s mental capacity.  My first post on the subject occurred after the first debate with Trump.  I thought he was intact — you can read about it here.

https://luysii.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=5200&action=edit&calypsoify=1

Then I was asked to comment on the possibility that his previous operation for aneurysm could be causing trouble. I didn’t think this was likely as so much time had passed.  Interestingly, I knew the neurosurgeon as a Penn undergraduate when I was a neurology resident.  You can read the post at the end — Biden’s cerebral aneurysm.

That was written last December.

I changed my opinion after his press conference. of 14 June ’21 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAWRHM4i3Dg
I strongly suggest you look at the segment at 15 minutes where his response makes little sense, and then he shuts down completely for 7 seconds, apparently quite confused. That’s my reading of the video. Form your own opinion.

Then on June 23rd I was sent another clip where he was confused

It is an 8 minute speech, and the clip can be found at 2 minutes, again showing an episode of confusion.

 

But first a story:

As a third year medical student on psychiatry rotation,  I interviewed a Bryn Mawr student who was on the psych ward (my wife was also an undergraduate at the time).  I well knew the intensity of the place, and how much pressure the girls (see the end of the post) put on themselves.  So I talked and talked and commiserated with her.  After a pleasant enough time the I concluded the interview and left.   The teaching psychiatrist asked me what I thought, and I told him how frigtening I found it given what I knew about Bryn Mawr. He asked me if I found out that she thought the television was talking to her.  Basically by yapping when she went off track, I kept her sane.

So I learned to shut up, and let people tell me what was wrong with them.  This is why Biden likely did well during the debates. The short time given to answer and the barrage of questions and interruptions kept him focused.

It really came home as I looked at the whole 8 minutes of the second clip trying to find the brief period of confusion.  Please look at the whole clip yourself and draw your own conclusions.  I see a pleasant,  rambling, slow thinking,  occasionally confused old man.

 

This is what early dementia looks like.

I was severely criticized by a follower after the first post.  Here it is,  “Issuing alarmist statements about his mental health is reprehensible. You are not his physician. Moreover, armchair diagnosis is frowned upon by the American Psychiatric Association.I’ve been following your blog for several years and also have been reading you comments on the “in the pipeline” blog. On the basis of that experience I had not expected to stoop that low.”

In my defense, I was defeated by the new WordPress editor which wouldn’t let me bring in the evidence shown here.  Apparently it was a (still extant) incompatibility of Safari with the editor.   I was still impressed enough by how confused Biden looked that I posted it anyway.

As the late Carl Sagan said “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. So here is the evidence (finally).  Apologies for the delay.

As children, our least favorite explanation was ‘because I say so’.

Essentially that’s part of what I’m offering here.  I was involved in clinical neurology from ’67 to ’00, and at a minimum saw at least 1 demented patient a week during that time.  That’s an underestimate, as I’d make rounds on other neurologists patients when covering weekends.  I doubt that anyone reading this has similar extensive experience.

So Biden just looks like all the early dementia patients I saw during that time.  Given my experience, I think that should carry some weight.

The fact that Biden appears sharp at times is typical of early stage dementia.  I’ve certainly seen it in family and friends, with such things being excused as ‘it must have been the heat’ or ‘they must not have been feeling well’.

Why is this important?  Khrushchev’s estimate of President Kennedy’s weakness lead to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Khrushchev’s son confirmed this when he spoke at the Kennedy Center at Harvard.   Kennedy was receiving narcotics for his back.  The side effects of what little medicines we had back then weren’t appreciated.  Example: thyroid and amphetamines were used to help people lose weight.

Biden does not appear mentally strong to Putin or Xi (or me).

  • Yes women undergraduates at Bryn Mawr and other members of the seven sisters called themselves girls (or at least were called that by males wishing to date them).  According my wife, who just corrected me,  Bryn Mawr undergraduates called themselves women, in contrast to a nearby educational institution which advertised “Are you a Harcum Girl?”  Similarly, 10 years later Native Americans in Montana called themselves Indians, not having the benefit of the linguistic and moral improvements to which we have currently ascended.

The post about Biden’s cerebral aneurysm surgery — https://luysii.wordpress.com/2020/12/08/bidens-cerebral-aneurysm/

 

Who lost Afghanistan ?

Who lost Afghanistan?  No one.  We were never winning, despite being told so.  It is not worth one more American life.  It is Vietnam all over again.

Here I speak with some authority, being an Air Force Officer and physician taking care of maimed US soldiers from Vietnam from ’68 – ’70 at Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver.  The Army was short of neurologists, so I was assigned there for two years despite being an Air Force Officer and despite having only a year of residency under my belt.  Only fully trained neurologists were sent to Vietnam.

Vietnam is like Chile, a long strip of a country along a coast.  As a result, no wounded soldier was more than 20 minutes away by chopper from a fully equipped surgical field hospital, so the people surviving were far more gravely injured than those in world war II.

The tour of duty in Vietnam was 1 year, but the term of service for docs was two.  (Back then I asked one of my uncles what the term of service was in WWII — what do you think it was?   Answer — until the war was over). The doctors coming back after one year pretty much had their pick of the best places, and many wound up at Fitzsimons.  I talked (and worked with) a lot of them.  These were not career military with an axe to grind.  Not one of them thought we were winning.

They spoke of the corruption of our so-called allies, selling American military equipment to the Viet Cong, etc. etc.  The collapse when it came was swift, just as it is today in Afghanistan.

The only positive thing about Vietnam is that the country picked up a lot of smart Vietnamese.  One son went to Cornell with several children of Vietnamese boat people who came here with nothing.   Hopefully we’ll do the same with some of the Afghans.

We were never winning in Afghanistan despite the propaganda we’ve been fed.  The equally sudden collapse of our ‘allies’ in both countries is typical.

Although most conservative websites are unhappy, not all are.  The following is written by a vet who actually was over there

https://thefederalist.com/2021/08/13/u-s-leaders-have-been-lying-to-us-about-afghanistan-for-nearly-20-years/

This is from “The Federalist”  a conservative website.

 

Is the end of the pandemic at hand?

6 days ago I published my brother’s idea, that the pandemic may be nearing an end.  That post can be found below the ****

Here is some startling evidence that he might be right.  Today’s (12 August) Nature pp. 175 – 176, notes that new ‘cases’ in the UK defined as a positive test for the viral genome dropped in half from 17 July to 2 August 54,674 to 22,287. That could just be due to fewer people being tested (the total number tested isn’t given in the article).  More to the point, hospitalizations dropped from 836 25 July to 645 1 August.  It isn’t clear if all these numbers are daily or weekly.  Regardless, it is worth noting just how few cases are actually hospitalized ( 836/54674 = 1.5%)

These numbers are those persons deciding or required to be tested.  A random population survey is in order to see how many people now have antibodies to the virus.  Clearly SARS-Cov-2 can spread widely without making most people sick.

It is worth noting that the article doesn’t consider my brother’s idea as a possibility, so it likely originated with him.  If so, Bravo ! ! !

Addendum 19 August — from Nature vol. 596 p. 326 “In a nationwide survey of about 28,000 people (two-thirds of whom were unvaccinated and had therefore acquired immunity from infection) in June and July this year, researchers found that 68% had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in their blood. This represented a huge increase from the 21% with antibodies, recorded in a similar survey in December 2020 to January 2021, before the second wave.”  This is exactly what my brother was talking about — vaccination by infection. It shows that most infections are survivable — with a population of 1.3 billion, the vast majority of those coming in contact with the pandemic virus are still here.

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Sibling rivalry aside, my younger brother thinks that we’re currently in a mass vaccination situation with the pandemic virus.  He does not mean that people are willingly signing up for vaccinations. He says that the Delta virus is so infectious and spreading so quickly, and that most cases are asymptomatic that  the populace is being vaccinated by infection.  If so, those who will die because they weren’t vaccinated will die and those unvaccinated who have been infected but not sick will be immune, so that the populace will achieve herd immunity in a month or two and the pandemic will be over.Fantastic if true.