Why Most Gun Laws Aren’t Backed Up By Evidence

“The Dickey Amendment, first attached to the 1996 omnibus spending bill, for example, famously prevented the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from funding gun violence studies for decades. A new interpretation of that amendment in 2018 changed that, but Dickey wasn’t the only thing making it hard to study gun violence.
Instead, the researchers told me, the biggest impediment to demonstrating whether gun control policies work is the way politicians have intentionally blocked access to the data that would be necessary to do that research.”

Masks Make ‘Little or No Difference’ on COVID-19, Flu Rates: New Study

“The wearing of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses had almost no effect at the societal level, according to a rigorous new review of the available research.
“Interestingly, 12 trials in the review, ten in the community and two among healthcare workers, found that wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to influenza-like or COVID-19-like illness transmission,” writes Tom Jefferson, a British epidemiologist and co-author of the Cochrane Library’s new report on masking trials. “Equally, the review found that masks had no effect on laboratory-confirmed influenza or SARS-CoV-2 outcomes. Five other trials showed no difference between one type of mask over another.”

That finding is significant, given how comprehensive Cochrane’s review was. The randomized control trials had hundreds of thousands of participants, and made useful comparisons: people who received masks—and, according to self-reporting, actually wore them—versus people who did not. Other studies that have tried to uncover the efficacy of mask requirements have tended to compare one municipality with another, without taking into account relevant differences between the groups. This was true of an infamous study of masking in Arizona schools conducted at the county level; the findings were cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as reason to keep mask mandates in place.”

“While individual mask wearers might get some benefit for a while if they consistently, perfectly wear masks, this does not comport with the aggregate experience.”

A Scientific Review Shows the CDC Grossly Exaggerated the Evidence Supporting Mask Mandates

“That review, published by the Cochrane Library, an authoritative collection of scientific databases, analyzed 18 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that aimed to measure the impact of surgical masks or N95 respirators on the transmission of respiratory viruses. It found that wearing a mask in public places “probably makes little or no difference” in the number of infections.”

“The authors suggest several possible explanations for these results, including “poor study design,” inconsistent or improper mask use, “self-contamination of the mask by hands,” “saturation of masks with saliva,” and increased risk taking based on “an exaggerated sense of security.””

U.S. Will No Longer Require Animal Testing for New Drugs

“Previously, all drugs in development were required to undergo animal studies before being tested in human trials. Now, drug companies will still have the option to start testing experimental drugs on animals, but they won’t have to.
This doesn’t mean that drug companies will start going straight to testing drug toxicity on humans, but that they may rely on alternative methods to animal testing. Language in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act now states that tests may “include animal tests, or non-animal or human biology-based tests methods, such as cell-based assays, micro physiological systems, or bioprinted or computer models.”

These days, “there are a slew of other methods that drugmakers employ to assess new medications and treatments, such as computer modeling and ‘organs on a chip,’ thumb-sized microchips that can mimic how organs’ function are affected by pharmaceuticals,” notes NPR.”

Airplane lavatories deliver new hope for the CDC’s variant hunt

“after a successful test run at New York’s JFK Airport, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is pursuing talks with airlines and port authorities to start collecting samples from long-haul international flights’ wastewater after they land.”

Lots of bad science still gets published. Here’s how we can change that.

“For over a decade, scientists have been grappling with the alarming realization that many published findings — in fields ranging from psychology to cancer biology — may actually be wrong. Or at least, we don’t know if they’re right, because they just don’t hold up when other scientists repeat the same experiments, a process known as replication.
In a 2015 attempt to reproduce 100 psychology studies from high-ranking journals, only 39 of them replicated. And in 2018, one effort to repeat influential studies found that 14 out of 28 — just half — replicated. Another attempt found that only 13 out of 21 social science results picked from the journals Science and Nature could be reproduced.

This is known as the “replication crisis,” and it’s devastating. The ability to repeat an experiment and get consistent results is the bedrock of science.”

“This is where the Transparent Replications project comes in.

The project, launched..by the nonprofit Clearer Thinking, has a simple goal: to replicate any psychology study published in Science or Nature (as long as it’s not way too expensive or technically hard). The idea is that, from now on, before researchers submit their papers to a prestigious journal, they’ll know that their work will be subjected to replication attempts, and they’ll have to worry about whether their findings hold up. Ideally, this will shift their incentives toward producing more robust research in the first place, as opposed to just racking up another publication in hopes of getting tenure.”