JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Desertification cancelled: Climate Change won’t make the deserts grow

After a thousand headlines told us Climate Change would make deserts grow, a new study suggests it won’t. It’s a finding that shocks no one who knew that climate models have no predictive skill with rainfall, and that a warmer world means higher global precipitation. Plus there’s the awkward clue that for the last forty years the arid regions of the world have been getting greener instead of more deserty.

Looks a bit different?

The top map (below) shows the deserts expanding — but that’s the old predictions which are based only on “atmospheric data” like temperature and rainfall. The bottom map is the new work which uses soil and vegetation data too. Red means growing deserts. Blue means shrinking.

Remember, all contradictory conclusions are based on expert opinions using worlds best practice and done by Nobel-Prize-winning people. Shame about all the farmers and investors making decisions based on junk models.

Deserts were expanding until experts got a better model.

 

The new study is based on modeling too so it is still wrong, but less useless than previous studies.

The hugely different forecasts show how vaporously thin the past doom and gloom was, and how so many […]

Massive Fires: far worse 4,000 years ago in Northern Australia

Kenneth Richard at NoTricksZone, found some studies showing Fires are less common today than in the past — including a ripper of an Australian study.

Emma Rehn et al went to a small lake in far North Australia and dug up about 6m of sediment core from the bottom. They looked at charcoal deposits and a bunch of different minerals. They discovered that the top most recent layers had the worst fires for a thousand years. It had all the makings of a Great Climate Change advert. But to their absolute credit, they kept going down and further back and uncovered a story of four thousand long years of wild blazes.

Despite millennia of prehistoric infernos, no media outlets in Australia have shown any interest in this study which came out a month ago — showing Sensationalism is not all its cracked up to be, and not as much fun as Confirmation Bias.

Look at the current blip (left hand side) since European settlement, compared to the fires of 4,000 years ago (right hand side). As Mr Dundee would say, “That’s not a fire…. ”

Carbon Flux showing the intensity of fires in Arnhem land for […]

Vitamin B6 may reduce the cytokine storms of Covid

Maybe getting enough Vitamin B6 will reduce deaths

The main two things that kill people with Covid are blood clotting and an out-of-control inflammation known as a cytokine storm. A group of researchers noticed that both of these were things Vitamin B6 was known to reduce — blood clotting, and inflammation. In particular, there’s a molecule called Interleukin 6 which is a “masterplayer” signal in our immune system and — what do you know — B6 reduces it. Mice that weren’t fed enough B6 got mouse pneumonia more than mice who were fed enough. B6 is anti-inflammatory, anti- and reduces reactive oxygen species (ROS).

The Big Black hole in medical research?

I hoped this paper was report on experiments with Covid patients, but the paper and press release is essentially a literature review of many pre-covid studies and a plea for research into whether vitamin B6 might help stop the deadly cytokine storm.

The bigger, global question they don’t ask, is why despite the millions (billions) going into vaccine design and drug research, hardly anyone is studying the cheap unprofitable and obvious questions? Perhaps we need some government funded research that’s not driven by profits… oh. wait.? What happened to […]

Asthma drug Budesonide reduces Covid hospitalization rate dramatically

The STOIC study gave an asthma drug to Covid patients, but it worked so astonishingly well, they had to stop the trial early, as it was unfair to keep giving the placebo to people who were ending up in hospital ten times as often as people who got Budesonide.

“We were hoping for 50% reduction [in severity]. We got 90%, which … is off the charts”

–h/t Eric W at WUWT

Though to keep some perspective, out of about 140 people enrolled, 70 got the drug and 70 got the placebo, with 10 of the placebo group going to hospital and only 1 in the Budesonide group.

You’ll be shocked to know that giving the drug early works better than waiting for the virus to replicate wildly. You’ll also be shocked that there were some doctors using this 7 or more months ago, and yet the media didn’t mention it Apart from Newsmax. (Eg See Dr Richard Bartlett talk about this back in July last year, who talks of using a nebulizer, not an inhaler. )

Common asthma drug slashes Covid hospitalisation by 90%, experts say

Vanessa Chambers, The Sun

A […]

In Peru, Ivermectin cut covid deaths by 75% in 6 weeks: cheap, safe and quite ignored

How many unnecessary deaths does it take til people get angry? Angry that the Chief Medical Officers and Health Ministers didn’t ask for studies to be done. Angry that most academics sat by and said nothing. And angry that the media just parroted the institutions.

One good antiviral changes everything. If the world had a safe cheap drug, we could not only reduce deaths and disability, but also slow the rate of mutation down and probably slow the appearance of new mutations down.

The Chamie-Quintero study from Peru shows the West could be only weeks away from reducing the Covid death toll if we used the safe cheap sheep-dip, lice-killing Ivermectin like less wealthy countries do.

A study across the states of Peru found that after Ivermectin was introduced, deaths started to fall about 11 days later, and within a month after that, deaths were down around 75%.

Ivermectin is a drug so useful early researchers got a Nobel Prize in Medicine for work on it. It’s so well known that in the last thirty years more than 3.7 billion doses of Ivermectin have been given out. It’s so safe we can use it on cats […]

Paralyzed mice walk again after just a few weeks

We all could use some good news, and this is quite extraordinary.

“Using gene therapy, a research team has succeeded in getting mice to walk again after a complete cross-sectional injury. The nerve cells produced the curative protein themselves.”

The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse both like this news. | Illustrated by Milo Winter

Normally spinal cord damage is pretty much permanent. Even though we all still have the same genes that built the nerves in the first place, no one seemed to have the right reboot code that could switch on the correct genes in the right order to do the repair. And to give you some idea of the complexity of this, in 2018 a different team estimated that as many as 580 genes may be involved in axon regeneration.

Plenty of researchers have been tapping on the windows and doors of the Nerve Regrowth Holy Grail. This time, instead of just regenerating a nerve in a petri dish, or even even a live animal, they’ve gone a leap further. These mice could walk again.

And all it took was a single injection? “This was a great surprise to the researchers”.

Covid tricks — spikes block pain pathway — hiding the infection

Another day in the strange world of Covid

A new finding suggests Covid-19 doesn’t just bind to the ACE2 receptor, it also binds to a key pain receptor called neuropilin-1 receptor (NRP-1). This could explain why some people with a high viral load are asymptomatic and infectious but unaware they are unwell. It’s like the virus is arriving with it’s own morphine. In theory this might be a successful adaption from the virus’s point of view as it may increase the spread of the disease if infected people wander around able to shed virus for longer.

Despite being fed up with the WuFlu, the efficient perfidy is something to behold (at least to a microbiologist). It’s like a pocketknife.

On the down side, the virus may still be damaging tissues in this painless state, which might explain some of those findings of lung and heart damage even in mild or asymptomatic cases.

There is at least one potentially very nice payoff. The finding from the University of Arizona, may lead to the design of whole new painkillers based on the coronavirus spike that is “better than opioids”. The lead author says he has been contacted by people who had […]

Vitamin D reduced the rate of ICU admission from 50% to 2%. Do black lives matter?

Given that people with dark skin are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D, wouldn’t studies like these be the best way to show that black lives actually matter? Would you like training in cultural sensitivity or to avoid the intensive care unit?

A free antiviral shining down on you?

In the Castillo study in Spain, 76 patients were randomly assorted into Calciferol treatment ( 0.532 mg Vitamin D ). Of the 26 who didn’t get it, 13 were admitted to the ICU. Of the 50 who got Vitamin D doses on days 1, 3, and 7 — only one ended up in the ICU. It’s worth noting that all patients got HCQ as well, and azithromycin too.

A second study tested 500 people to find out if they were deficient and followed them to see if they caught Covid.

Why has it taken 6 months of pandemic to do these small studies?

Before the pandemic came there was already ample evidence suggesting that it mattered. Vitamin D influences over 200 genes. Its levels also correlate with lower rates of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, dental caries, preeclampsia, autoimmune disease, depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. […]

Even cough syrup might actually work against Coronavirus

I didn’t think cough syrups even worked against coughs, but one new paper suggests that bromhexine in common cough syrups reduces both Covid-19 rates of ICU and of mortality.

The era of antivirals has come, not that Big Pharma want you to know that cheap out-of-patent drugs might help. But for years we were told that medical science didn’t have an answer to viruses.

Bromhexine was patented in 1961 and is commonly found in OTC pharmacy cough syrups with names like Bisolvon, Robitussin, and Duro-Tuss (Wiki has a long list).

Theoretically Bromhexine sabotages one of our molecules — with the snappy name of TMPRSS2 (which is shorter than saying Transmembrane protease S2). A protease is a fancy pair of molecular scissors, it chops or tweaks the viral spike and if that doesn’t happen, the virus can’t get into the cell (at least not through its favourite path).

The nice thing about an antiviral acting against our molecules, rather than against the virus itself, is that it’s harder for the virus to mutate to get around it. That means it’s less likely the virus can develop resistance. The downside of targeting our own molecules is that it might fritz things up. […]

Three quarters of mild to moderate Covid illnesses show heart damage

No wonder the Chinese lockdown a million people with every outbreak. Two thirds of these cases were not hospitalized.

These studies are small and need confirmation, but the medical specialists are asking if it is possible that Covid infections create new cases of heart failure which may trigger problems long after infection?

A startling number of COVID-19 patients suffer lasting heart damage

Fermin Koop, ZME Science

A study from the University Hospital Frankfurt looked at the cardiovascular MRIs of 100 people who had recovered from the coronavirus and compared them with heart images of people who hadn’t been infected.

Most of the patients hadn’t been hospitalized and recovered at home, with symptoms ranging from none to moderate. Two months after recovering from COVID-19, the patients were more likely to have troubling cardiac signs than people in the control group. Up to 78% of them had structural changes to the heart, while 76% had evidence of a biomarker signaling cardiac injury typically found after a heart attack, and 60% had signs of inflammation.

The Puntmann study was based in Germany, and the average age of cases was 49. Troponin is a marker used in standard […]