‘If We Have a Thermonuclear War, All I Need Is a Scalpel’: What We Heard This Week

Derick Alison
Derick Alison
3 Min Read

“If we have a thermonuclear war, all I need is a scalpel.” — Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, MD, of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, during an FDA advisory committee on critical medical devices during public health emergencies.

“Microbes can turn sugar into alcohol in the same way that grape juice turns into wine.” — Aaron Schwartz, MD, PhD, of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, on an unusual case in which a diabetes drug turned a patient’s urine into alcohol.

“In football, these are small, mini car accidents that the players are experiencing as they collide in many cases.” — Timothy McAdams, MD, of Stanford University in California and head physician for the San Francisco 49ers, on the possible injuries professional football players face.

“These are exceptionally dangerous molecules.” — Andrew Kolodny, MD, of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, warning about an unapproved class of potent synthetic opioids showing up in more overdose deaths across the country.

“Imagine if there were no Zoom, no telework, and the highly paid, politically powerful executives in finance and high-tech were required to come into the office every day.” — David Michaels, PhD, MPH, of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., on the lack of protection for essential workers during the pandemic.

“That study changed parental visiting rights and realities in pediatrics all over the whole country,” — Linda Aiken, PhD, RN, a nurse scientist and policy expert at the University of Pennsylvania, on a dissertation by the late Claire Fagin, PhD, RN, nurse scientist, advocate, and one of the first women to lead an Ivy League university.

“There is a good chance that if they take advantage of these preventive programs, that they will come out with a good result.” — E. Neil Schachter, MD, of Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, on cancer risk after quitting smoking.

“[It] becomes a resident Listeria like finches in the Galápagos.” — Foodborne illness attorney Bill Marler, JD, describing how the bacteria sticks around in a food processing plant.

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