Ivermectin is Not a Treatment for COVID-19. I recently published an article on The Conversation following the evidence on ivermectin for COVID-19. While there are studies that suggest it provides…


Demonstrations against vaccines and vaccine mandates disrupt routine and life-saving medical care.

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Those who oppose the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccine mandates have negatively impacted the COVID-19 pandemic. There is extensive evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, yet some groups propagate falsehoods based on clinically invalid evidence. These messages are accompanied by intensive care units nearing maximum capacity across the United States, leading to hospitals rationing care. Healthcare providers have had to choose who would receive medical care based on their probability of surviving due to the extreme rise in cases, effectively choosing who lives and dies. Nearly 2,000 Americans died yesterday, according to the NYTimes COVID tracker. …


Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash

I have had the opportunity to read some excellent books recently. Over the past few months, I have gone through the Divine Comedy by Dante, Candide by Voltaire, and Dune by Frank Herbert. Several nights ago, I finished reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Konrad. As a foreword, I wrote this review to minimize spoilers.

I thought I had a sense of what I may encounter in this book from a movie loosely based on this, Apocalypse Now. …


The data is in.

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Vaccine skeptics have made many allegations against the COVID-19 vaccine. One argument has been the implications for pregnant women. A recent large study has been completed that has found that pregnant women who receive the vaccine are NOT at increased risk of losing their baby compared to women who do not.

First things first, it is not uncommon for pregnancies to be lost. Some pregnancies do not successfully implant in the uterus or are lost due to other reasons outside of a woman’s control. Roughly 10–15 women out of every 100 will have a miscarriage after getting pregnant.

This study…


A review of the ethics underlying vaccine mandates.

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Another wave of COVID-19 infections affects the United States and Canada. Opinions on mandating vaccines against this deadly infection remain polarized, as demonstrated by a demonstration I observed against them in Montreal this afternoon. Considering that a vaccine is a medical treatment, respecting an individual’s right to choose to receive the treatment is reasonable and ethical. A mandate is ethically problematic because while this right to choose is important, ensuring the safety of a larger population is also ethical and important. This article argues that the most ethical choice for this issue is mandating vaccines.

Patient autonomy is paramount in…


Directing thanks towards the key players in the pandemic

Thank you sign on a tree
Photo by Nicholas Bartos on Unsplash

Without essential workers in the current pandemic, there would be many more deaths than there already have been. The work of all healthcare personnel has made a difference, and it is entirely reasonable to thank them for their contributions and continued work through a public health emergency that places them in harm's way.

What is troubling about these declarations is that they are not always holistic. Going off the social media posts of my wife’s friends before the vaccines, there were many instances of her acquaintances proclaiming their support for essential workers early in the pandemic and then following the…


A brief story of why I mine and why we should have compassion for miners even with limited GPU stock.

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The past year has been difficult for gamers, given such limited GPU stock. As tends to be the case in modern society, someone, of course, has to be to blame. In certain gaming communities, some believe miners are to blame. Cryptocurrency miners use computer graphics cards (GPUs) to verify cryptocurrency transactions, earning income as a byproduct. In the mining and some parts of the gaming community, “scalpers” are to blame. Scalpers are those who purchase in-demand goods and sell them for exorbitant prices. Thinking back to the great toilet paper shortage early in the pandemic, overpriced toilet paper is one…


I go over the facts of a claim against COVID-19 vaccines

Sidewalk with covid signs
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

I am exhausted from the pandemic. I am not exhausted from my research into the virus and finding targets that could improve COVID-19 treatment but from the misinformation and widespread denial of the world's current situation, to name two. Today I will briefly explain why the COVID-19 vaccine is not an experimental therapy, which some claim and use as an argument to dissuade individuals from receiving a treatment that quite literally can save you and your loved ones’ lives.

Experimental therapies explored during clinical trials are essential. They pave the way to new clinically-approved therapies that improve patient outcomes, such…


Installing this useful program

Photo by Pakata Goh on Unsplash

Regtools is a handy program that can investigate gene expression regulation by focusing on mutations identified in either DNA or RNA sequencing data (1). It can also produce files required for other pipelines, like Sierra that I am currently using, such as a splice junctions file (2). While the GitHub readme presents a simple installation guide for this package, I found unique challenges in installing the program on a Unix-based server. This article details how to install the program in this particular environment.

The beginning of the installation is using provided code from the regtools GitHub directly (1):

### Code…

Learn to combine data frames when limited to subsets of your overall data.

Photo by Scott Sanker on Unsplash

There are many valuable tools in R for data science. Recently, I have been using LDLinkR to gather linkage disequilibrium statistics for my research. What I quickly discovered is that this algorithm can only process a maximum of 1,000 SNPs per iteration. Given that data is outputted as a data frame, I am left with several disjointed data frames that I want to combine to form a single data frame required for my pipeline. This can be visualized by the following where I want to combine the smaller squares into a larger square:

Julian Willett, MD

Loving husband. Physician scientist who enjoys spreading his knowledge with the world whether related to medicine, technology, or science.

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