Curcumin Was NOT Effective For Post-operative Crohn’s Disease, Goldman Sachs Take on Masks

NBC/NY Link: Goldman Sachs Says National Mask Mandate Could Slash Infections, Save Economy From 5% Hit

Briefly noted: G Bommelear et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol; 2020; 18: 1553-60. Oral Curcumin No More Effective Than Placebo in Preventing Recurrence of Crohn’s Disease After Surgery in a Randomized Controlled Trial


  • Double-blind randomized controlled trial at 8 referral centers in France, from October 2014 through January 2018, with 62 consecutive patients with CD undergoing bowel resection.
  • Patients received azathioprine (2.5 mg/kg) and were randomly assigned to groups given oral curcumin (3 g/day; n = 31) or an identical placebo (n = 31) for 6 months, and were then evaluated by colonoscopy.
  • The primary endpoint: postoperative recurrence of CD in each group (Rutgeerts’ index score ≥i2) at month 6

Key findings:

  • Postoperative recurrence at 6 months: (Rutgeerts’ index score ≥i2): 58% receiving curcumin vs 68% receiving placebo (P = .60).
  • Severe recurrence: 55% receiving Curcumin 55%vs 26% receiving placebo –had a severe recurrence of CD (Rutgeerts’ index score ≥i3) (P = .034).
  • Clinical recurrence of CD (CD activity index score >150) at 6 months: 30% with curcumin compared with 45%  receiving placebo (P = .80)

My take: Curcumin was ineffective in preventing recurrent post-operative Crohn’s disease

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Weekend News: Elevators, Maskne, Fraudulent Mask Exemptions, Vaccine Optimism, and Taking Healthcare from Millions

Weekend News:

:NY Times: Maskne Is the New Acne, and Here’s What Is Causing It

Maskne — the most common kind of which is acne mechanica, a.k.a. the type of acne a football player may get where the helmet rubs — is also enough of a thing that the Covid-19 task force of the American Academy of Dermatology (A.A.D.) felt compelled to release advice on the subject.

The article describes how mask can trigger acne and ways to prevent/treat this.

Related: American Academy of Dermatology: 9 WAYS TO PREVENT FACE-MASK SKIN PROBLEMS

NY Times: Don’t Whistle on the Elevator. Don’t Even Talk. (print version article title)

“The good news is: If you don’t like small talk in the elevator, those days are over,”…“Imagine if you have a 30-story office building in New York City and you’re trying to get 5,000 people in between 7 and 9 in the morning,”

From NPR:

This administration should present its ‘plan’ and pass it before taking healthcare insurance from millions.


Data on Mask Efficacy and COVID-19 Safety –How U.S. Compares

According to this ranking, U.S. is 58th in the world:

From Health Affairs, Full Text: Community Use Of Face Masks And COVID-19: Evidence From A Natural Experiment Of State Mandates In The US

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Pandemic Is NOT Taking a Summer Holiday

More data indicate that the coronavirus pandemic is NOT taking a summer holiday.  Projections from IHME indicate that Georgia is likely to have 4 times as many deaths by October (~2500 to  >10,000) and Florida 6 times as many (~3000 to >18,000) due to COVID-19. If projections do not worsen, the U.S. will still have more than 200,000 deaths by October.

In Europe which had at one point accounted for ~80% of new infections, the daily toll is ~10%. From Financial Times website:

From Financial Times website

From Financial Times website

From CNN/Johns Hopkins

NPR: Younger Adults Are Increasingly Testing Positive for Coronavirus

The fact that younger adults account for a large fraction of the new cases is likely a significant reason why the number of daily deaths has not spiked (& improved).

Data from Broward County, FL

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Need/Benefit of Widespread Use of Masks

NPR interview (5 minutes) with Atul Gawande: How The Widespread Mask Use Could Slow The Coronavirus Pandemic

“NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly talks with Dr. Atul Gawande, a staff writer for the New Yorker, about the efficacy of different face masks and why masks remain essential in dealing with the coronavirus”

Proceedings of the Royal Society A. Published: Full Text Link: A modelling framework to assess the likely effectiveness of facemasks in combination with ‘lock-down’ in managing the COVID-19 pandemic

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Eight States with Increasing COVID-19 Problems

States with unfavorable trends: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.  From Eric Topol Twitter feed:

Also recent modeling indicates that face masks lower transmission rate –from Reuters: Widespread mask-wearing could prevent COVID-19 second waves: study

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Wired: When Health Care Moves Online, Many Patients Are Left Behind

Wired: When Health Care Moves Online, Many Patients Are Left Behind

An excerpt:
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, more of the nation’s medical care is being delivered by telephone or videoconference, as in-person care becomes a last resort for both doctors and patients. That’s a problem for tens of millions of Americans without smartphones or speedy home internet connections. For them, the digital divide is exacerbating preexisting disparities in access to health care…

Overall, as many as 157.3 million people in the US only have access to substandard download speeds. During the pandemic, roughly half of low-income American say they’re concerned about affording to pay their broadband and smartphone bills, according to April Pew Research data. In rural areas (where Pew figures suggest only 63 percent of residents have home broadband subscriptions), phone calls might be patients’ best option.

Related blog post: #NASPGHAN19 Impact of New Technology

NY Times: Japan’s Secret Success with Coronavirus

NY Times: Is the Secret to Japan’s Virus Success Right in Front of Its Face?

An excerpt:

In America, masks have become a weapon in the culture wars. In Japan, wearing one is no big deal, and deaths have stayed low…

Face coverings are nothing new here….
Yet a feared spike in cases and deaths has not materialized. Japan has reported more than 17,000 infections and just over 900 deaths, while the United States, with a population roughly two and a half times as large, is approaching 1.9 million cases and 110,000 deaths.

“Japan, I think a lot of people agree, kind of did everything wrong, with poor social distancing, karaoke bars still open and public transit packed near the zone where the worst outbreaks were happening,” Jeremy Howard, a researcher at the University of San Francisco who has studied the use of masks, said of the country’s early response. “But the one thing that Japan did right was masks.”…

The scientific evidence on whether a mask protects the wearer from infection is mixed. But experiments show that masks can be effective in blocking the emission of respiratory droplets that may contain the virus, even when someone has no symptoms of illness. And there is some evidence that infected people with no symptoms can still transmit the coronavirus.

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Huntingdon Lake, Sandy Springs (no image filters used)

COVID-19 Retractions

Two recent retractions indicate why multiple studies and careful analysis are often necessary to draw definitive conclusions, even from the most respected journals.

  1. NEJM: Retraction: Cardiovascular Disease, Drug Therapy, and Mortality in Covid-19. N Engl J Med. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2007621.  Link to original article: Cardiovascular Disease, Drug Therapy, and Mortality in Covid-19
  2. Lancet: Retraction—Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis Original study: Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis