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Fast-talking doctor debunks COVID-19 anti-vaxxer myths in just one minute
via Dr Benjamin Janaway / Twitter

The battle against COVID-19 is a multi-front war. It's not just a fight against a biological enemy but a misinformed public as well.

Dr. Benjamin Janaway is a doctor at the UK's National Health Service and a science communicator. He's using social media to fight hard against COVID-19 misinformation so we can succeed against the virus.

He recently outlined the crux of the battle on Twitter.



"But consider the makers of the new Covid Vaccine, they must not just fight against the limits of science, but the ferocious and uninformed attacks of Hollywood celebrities, which on a one-to-one basis, most people aspire more to and entrust more than a distant 'nerd' a government and media have made their enemy before the start," he wrote.

"It's tough to develop a novel treatment using mRNA technology, push for social distancing, and argue with Laurence Fox at the same time," he added.

(For those who don't live in the UK, Fox is an actor who got into it with Janaway on Twitter over the COVID-19 vaccine.)

Janaway also shared a video on Twitter where he debunks conspiracies and myths about vaccines that are frequently shared on social media by anti-vaxxers.

The great thing is that he shuts down the entire movement in one minute flat. So even conspiracy theorists with short-attention spans can get the message.

Janaway starts out by explaining why vaccines are so great at stopping the spread of deadly diseases.

"Vaccines are made of an inert or dead form of a virus inserted into the body so the body's white blood cells — i.e. its immune system — can develop a natural immune response, so when encountering a wild-type version of a virus, it breaks it down without any symptoms," Ben says. "This breaks the chain of infection and reduces deaths. Millions, in fact."

Then, he debunks popular falsehoods spread by the anti-vaccination movement.

"The link between vaccines and autism and vaccines and Alzheimer's has been completely disproven by large-scale studies," he adds. "There are no dead babies, bits of dead babies, or bits of anything else in a vaccine that is going to harm you. This is all myth," he explains.

He did admit that there are some extremely rare side effects that come from vaccinations. However, none of them come close to the damage that can be caused by COVID-19.

"The actual risks of vaccines are: there is a risk of anaphylactic shock, which is vanishingly low; a risk of allergic reaction to foodstuffs that can be used (and they will ask before they give it); risk of local tissue damage (well, it is putting a needle in somebody); and a small risk of more general tissue damage, but once again, this is extremely low," Janaway says. "You may get a few symptoms which is the body's immune reaction, but not the virus itself."

In the end, beating this virus is all about taking personal responsibility. Taking care of ourselves by wearing masks, keeping a safe distance, staying informed, and confronting misinformation, we can create an environment where other people stay healthy as well.







Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

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More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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