Mass Torts: State of the Art

Mass Torts: State of the Art

Category Archives: Microbiology

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About The Virus That Makes You Dumb

Posted in Causality, Microbiology, Reason
A colleague asked me yesterday what I thought about a story she’d seen in the media regarding a virus often found in algae. Supposedly it can impair human cognition. I told her that as a matter of fact I’d been working up a brief blog post on the topic because of its implications for mass tort litigation, gave her … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Causality, Microbiology, Risk, Toxicology
Jumping the Snark: Erionite in Mexican Town Tied to High Rate of Mesothelioma (or, how "Sir, have you ever been to Turkey?" became too cute by half) Plaintiffs’ Experts Were Really, Really Wrong About the Mechanism Underlying MDS and AML Chromium VI is Weakly Associated With Stomach Cancer To Reduce the Spread of Pathogens in Common … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Microbiology, Molecular Biology
Some months ago we decided to put Discretizations on hiatus while we tried to figure out what to do about the tsunami of scientific papers washing up on PubMed (which was already piled deep in the flotsam and jetsam of publish or perish) now that China, India, Korea, etc. are getting in on the fun. On the … Continue Reading

As We Were Saying

Posted in Microbiology
It certainly appeared by the 1960s that humanity was leaving the so-called second epidemiologic tranistion. Ancient pathogens were being defeated at every turn as science went from triumph to triumph. And thus a whole generation of public health professionals committed themselves to combating man-made and degenerative diseases; by then believed to be the leading cause of human suffering. It was sin that … Continue Reading

Of Mice and Men and Their Breath

Posted in Microbiology
One of the longstanding disputes in toxic tort litigation revolves around whether or not animal models are good (i.e. predictive) models for assessing the likely outcome of exposures to the chemical in question. As we’ve written previously the 1,3 butadiene question hangs crucially upon the question of whether or not workers in SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Microbiology, Reason
The hedgehog: actually it’s lots of little things. Some say being overweight protects against many diseases of aging, some those studies are biased. Father of the bride, and future defendant in 47 A. butzleri cases? "…it is now possible to determine with great precision the cellular origin of solid tumours in mice." Imagine what it … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology, Risk
The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer (covering 1979 – 2009) is out. The good news is that overall death rates for some of the biggest killers continues to decline. The bad news is that deaths from cancers caused by infectious agents like HPV and hepatitis-C are up; doubling in some cases. … Continue Reading

Gut science: truth is stranger than fiction

Posted in Microbiology
A new paper by UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists presented a study which found that bacteria in your gut are competing through bacteriophages – unique predatory bacteria harboring viruses – for dominance and greater access to nutrients. While we knew that bacteria in the gut outnumber the number of cells in the body and have … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology
New research reveals what Toxoplasma gondi (a parasite that completes its lifecycle in cats) does once it gets into the brain. Given mounting evidence that T. gondi alters the behavior of its human hosts, understanding how it takes over may lead to eradication therapies. Higher Breast Cancer Rates for Women Working in the Farming, Food Canning … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, The Law
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court looks set to decide whether, in the case of asbestos and mesothelioma, evidence of some exposure is necessarily evidence of substantial exposure. Lymphomas and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS): Drink more, smoke less. Your dehumidifier may be your unintended Christmas gift to Influenza A virus. Omics Shmomics. Nature reports that the NCI has new guidelines … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology
Heavy asbestos exposure prior to age 45 appears to determine risk of death from asbestosis versus mesothelioma. Fetch the comfy chair! The health-promoting effects of some essential oils may be due to their ability to prevent bacteria from conspiring against us. From one end to the other bacteria are being implicated in cancer. Halfway through, the risk of pancreatic cancer … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology
Something tells us benzodiazepine-dementia lawsuits are coming. The details are here. Prions and Alzheimer’s: little zombies v. you. In Illinois it’s still the case that "the existence of a duty "is entirely a question of law … It is no part of the province of a jury." Ben Goldacre explains publication bias. We’ve ignored T. gondii … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology
We’re a lot more diverse than you think. Low socioeconomic status (SES) kills. In part because it has a profoundly negative effect on cancer survival. It’s time to put the welding/Parkinson disease claims to rest. Meanwhile, thanks to a misreading of Matrixx v. Siracusano, some courts believe that because the FDA might delay approval of a drug … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Microbiology, The Law
When it comes to causing cancer, what’s in it for bacteria and viruses? Opportunity. First asbestos, then tobacco, now … food? So far, laws targeting obesity don’t seem to be having much effect. It’s complicated. Accidentally shooting your co-worker (with a smuggled gun) while monitoring a generator is [obviously] not "in furtherance" of your employer’s business (at … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology, Reason
Why would an antidepressant also fight off a fungus that infects the CNS? Healthy skin requires healthy germs. Your skin is home to a trillion bacteria. Don’t die; be happy. Mycobacterium and Crohn’s disease, the case. Grab your pick, shovel and bolt again – creepers, our ancient enemies. Texas courts don’t have jurisdiction over the British … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Microbiology
The journal Science has a special issue this month devoted to the gut microbiome emphasizing its importance in disease as well as a healthy immune system. Speaking of the microbiome, NIH’s Human Microbiome Project is reporting today on 5 years of work to map the genomes of our little friends - the results of which will be published … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Microbiology, Risk
Looks like Iowa is backpedaling from its embrace of the Restatement (Third) of Tort’s section 7(a) Drink tea. 200 years of cancer research – the reductionist perspective. There’s a hint that T. gondii may be a cause of brain cancer. Take two aspirin and you might not have to call your doctor in the morning… Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Industrial Hygiene, Microbiology, Reason
 "’Hunches’, even if held by experts, are not scientific knowledge." Banning plastic grocery bags might be a very bad idea. There’s no such thing as negligent failure to generate the same hypothesis as plaintiff’s future experts. There’s a very slight increased risk of lung cancer among Carolina chrysotile textile workers with 100 f-yr/ml exposure. Apparently, the Restatement … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Reason, Risk, The Law
Scientists are mobilizing in response to the emerging threat of hypervirulent strains of drug resistant hospital acquired infections. Finding a way to keep microbes from setting up shop on fomites, which all too often harbor pathogens and facilitate their spread, is an obvious place to start. One promising approach is to coat surfaces with silver or copper … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Reason, The Law
Random variability often trumps genetics and environment It’s sensible to avoid vegetables irrigated with untreated sewage water. There’s another case of long term disease-free survival in a pleural mesothelioma sufferer. HPV-associated cancers in women are now more common than ovarian cancer. An outsider looking in would conclude that California asbestos litigation serves mainly to enrich lawyers… Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology, Reason, Risk
Bernie Goldstein’s belief that "it’s 90% likely that benzene is a cause of multiple myeloma" carried the day in a case in which plaintiff wasn’t exposed to benzene but rather to other aromatic hydrocarbons having (unsurprisingly) a benzene ring. There’s considerable uncertainty about the benefits and cardiovascular risks associated with diabetes drugs, including metformin. Ten years later, … Continue Reading
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