All posts by Matthias Wjst

A mistake in the operating room

Found at via

A mistake in the operating room can threaten the life of one patient; a mistake in statistical analysis or interpretation can lead to hundreds of early deaths. So it is perhaps odd that, while we allow a doctor to conduct surgery only after years of training, we give SPSS® (SPSS, Chicago, IL) to almost anyone. Moreover, whilst only a surgeon would comment on surgical technique, it seems that anybody, regardless of statistical training, feels confident about commenting on statis- tical data. If we are to bring the vast efforts of research to fruition, and truly practice evidence- based medicine, we must learn to interpret the results of randomized trials appropriately.

ICMJE Conflicts of Interest – spyware?

I dont’t understand why the ICMJE Conflicts of Interest is distributed not as a standard PDF but as an Adobe Form that can be opened only after installing a lot of unnecessary software that opens a lot of unnesssary ports transmitting a lot of unnecessary data. This is how it looks natively on a Mac

and this is how it should look like

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC does not allow printing into a PDF, so this is an intended behaviour to tie up customers.

Viel hilft viel

Immer wieder wird Deutschland ein flächendeckender Vitamin-D-Mangel attestiert. So schrieb beispielsweise die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung in ihrem Bericht, den sie im Sommer veröffentlichte, rund 30 Prozent der Erwachsenen seien nicht ausreichend mit Vitamin D versorgt. Wobei Ältere als Risikogruppe gelten und bei Seniorinnen der Mangel aber ausgeprägter ist als bei Männern. Für Personen mit hohem Risiko für einen Vitamin-D-Mangel erachtet es die DGE für notwendig, ein Vitamin-D-Präparat einzunehmen, um den Bedarf zu decken. Evidenz für eine generelle Substitution gibt es zwar nicht. Aber anscheinend führen solche Berichte und das zugehörige Medien-Echo dazu, dass eigenmächtig ohne Rücksprache mit Arzt oder Apotheker Vitamin D eingenommen wird – und zwar nach dem Motto: „viel hilft viel“

Wer glaubt schon der Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung? Immerhin doch Einige: Die Deutschen Apothekerzeitung berichtet aktuell über zwei Fälle von akuten Nierenversagen bei ausgeprägter Hyperkalzämie,.

So many contract disputes

While working on the revision of a paper on GDPR & open access, I found an interesting table who is fighting whom in science.

The NetherlandsVSNURoyal Society of Chemistry
FranceCouperinSpringer Nature

Do we need any of these publishers? I would say no.
What’s currently allowed is in the Sherpa/Romeo list.

All humans, and two ancestors?

Daily Mail reports a study in Human Evolution with comments at

A scientific study has prompted speculation that all modern humans could have descended from a solitary pair who lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
Scientists surveyed the genetic ‘bar codes’ of five million animals – including humans – from 100,000 different species and the results have prompted speculation that we sprang from a single pair of adults after a catastrophic event almost wiped out the human race.
These bar codes, or snippets of DNA that reside outside the nuclei of living cells, suggest that it’s not just people who could have come from a single pair of beings, but nine out of every 10 animal species, too.

I have heard that before.

The not so revolutionary phenotype

While scanning the internet for the crispr’d babies I found some bizarre accounts. One of these is “Revolutionary Phenotype” by Jean-Francois Gariépy, a book to appear in late 2018, and more fi than sci.

Suppose you want to have a child, but instead of reproducing in the traditional fashion, you and your mate opt to store your genetic information on a computer. Then, while your genes are digitally stored on the computer’s hard drive, you decide to make a few minor edits—just some slight improvements to ensure your kid will be healthy. You then dump your revised digital genome into a series of DNA molecules, which you inject into a human egg that has been stripped of its own native genome. Nine months later, your flesh- and-blood child is born, and you and your family proceed with your deeply satisfying life. You end up never regretting the decision you have made to modify a few genes in your child’s DNA. Your child likes it too since he has better health and strength compared to most of his peers. He’s already dreaming of having his own genetically- modified children.

Humans are not only determined by their genome. And the human genome is a bit more than a digital sequence. But maybe this misunderstanding is intended to increase sales.

How does the soma to germline transfer work?

I never had problems to understand environmental induced sperm methylation as spermatozoa of animals are produced continuously by meiotic division.  But I learned that in humans all ova are produced before birth, so how could these ever be influenced by an environmental exposure? It seems that the dogma of prefabricated eggs is wrong as described already in 2012.

Rare mitotically active cells have a gene expression profile that is consistent with primitive germ cells. Once established in vitro, these cells can be expanded for months and can spontaneously generate 35- to 50-μm oocytes

So there is a lifelong chance that environmental exposures both in fathers and mothers can be transmitted to the offspring “fat eggs, fat offspring” – there is no Weismann Barrier. (This remains also an important question as somatic gegen therapy could accidentally introduced germline changes – at least in theory).

But how does any soma to germline transfer work? A new paper examined this  in more detail. They found that the negative regulator of sperm activation in C elegans, SWM-1, is produced in body wall muscle, then secreted into the body cavity. Whenever it enters the gonad it finds it target TRY-5, a spermiogenesis activator, that influences sperm success.

So to the more conventional soma to germline theories of persistent methylation changes or RNA fragments ( as described in a recent review) there maybe more possibilities like microbiome transfer.