Myeloma patients: staying connected globally and looking for answers

The bombings in Brussels made this a tough week for the global community, but President Obama pressed ahead with his historic visit to Cuba. In his speech on Tuesday, he cited examples of past medical collaborations between our two countries, such as the work of Dr. Carlos Finlay in Cuba, which helped Dr. Walter Reed learn how to combat yellow fever, as well as more recent joint efforts to fight Ebola in West Africa.

The good and bad about the future: What does famed physicist, futurist, and best-selling author Michio Kaku think?

This past weekend, I took an evening off to attend the Southern California Distinguished Speaker series featuring theoretical physicist and futurist Prof. Michio Kaku. After seeing the 2014 movie, “Interstellar,” I was hoping to find out if Prof. Kaku thought it was really possible to use wormholes to travel to distant galaxies.

Crowdfunding: Is It Awesome or Awful?

A recent article raises the possibility that Crowdfunding Is Evil: At Least When It Comes to the Public Good.” Writing in Wired magazine, Peter Moskowitz focuses primarily on the work of Daren Brabham of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC. Moskowitz begins with the example of teachers who have to resort to crowdfunding to pay for basic school supplies, something that is increasingly necessary as school districts cut back funding. But such efforts can end up making things worse, since the school district sees that the teachers are taking care of their own funding needs, and assume they’re managing just fine without district support!

Misleading medical news: be wary and aware!

Two weeks ago in my blog, I discussed a Yale News story that announced: “Yale researchers discover underlying cause of myeloma.” I pointed out that they had shown evidence that a lipid trigger factor was involved in the development of myeloma in patients with Gaucher’s disease – a rare metabolic disease. And for these patients only. This point was also emphasized in a Health News Review report. Subsequently, Yale News changed the headline of their news release to “Researchers link lipids to one third of myelomas” – conceding that for 70% of patients, there was no link!

Have we found the cause of myeloma? Not really!

A report this week issued by Yale News announced “Yale researchers discover underlying cause of myeloma,” citing an article published today in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled, “Clonal Immunoglobulin against Lysolipids in the Origin of Myeloma.” This is an article about what triggers the development of MGUS and myeloma in patients with a rare metabolic disease called Gaucher’s disease. The article is thus about how myeloma may be caused in a rare and unusual circumstance – not the average case of myeloma.