Herd Immunity

profmom

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OK, I am going to be a little bit cranky here. Words have meaning. Very few of us do research. We try to inform ourselves, to the best of our abilities, by looking up things on the internet. Most of what we find consist of media reports or other kinds of stories about research. And unless your physician is a professor at a teaching hospital, your doctor isn't doing research either.

Research in the sciences and social sciences first involves designing a study. The study is then reviewed to ensure that it follows ethical guidelines for the treatment of research subjects, whether animal or human. The researcher then collects empirical data, either from fieldwork of some sort or by designing and running an experiment. The researcher analyzes the data and writes it up. The way good research gets into the world is through peer-reviewed publication in a legitimate journal or by a rigorous academic press. This process involves sending out the study writeup to usually at least three other experts who are usually intentionally left in the dark about who the author is. They each independently write up reports that go back to an editor, who decides whether to publish (very rare), ask the author to make revisions and resubmit the piece, possibly altering or redoing parts of the study if the reviewers have problems with it (a bit more common at a top journal), or reject it outright (very common at top journals and presses).

If you are sincerely interested in the solid science behind what is going on with COVID, stop reading the media reports. Instead, go to the studies themselves. Look at the journals publishing them -- are they fly-by-night, non-peer reviewed vanity journals, or are they longstanding academic journals that engage in serious peer review? What happened with the study and what were the researchers trying to figure out? Keep in mind that very often, people in the media will present studies' findings as far broader and more definitive than they really are.

Make yourself a thoughtful consumer of research, but unless you are actually out there recruiting participants for your own experiments, you're not doing research. /rant

As for the vaccine issue, it's now become part of the whole trash heap of the US response. CDC is politically compromised. I'm not even completely sure about FDA. The top agencies have handled this so poorly that I have little confidence that the process of developing a vaccine will be effective, nor that whatever gets rushed to market will be safe. However, as the science on COVID progresses, I am increasingly concerned about the long-term health effects of the virus. I am keeping in mind that the longest term window we have right now is less than one year. So as I said above, it's Hobson's choice. For me, for now, the only good choice is not to play, and thankfully my county is taking this very seriously. With the massive wave of infections, however, I have very little hope that we will be able to keep our numbers at a level where we can track them all and get the exposed into quarantine within a day of a confirmed exposure. And so it goes.

Choices? Sure, we have them. But it's important to remember that by choosing for yourself with regard to an infectious disease, you are choosing for other people. It would be nice if people would keep that in mind, and try to make choices that incorporate some kind of recognition that these choices are not exclusively individual.
 
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ldw4mlo

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Words have many meanings.

Dr Smith is doing field research at xyz archeological site.
Bill is at the library doing research for his term paper.
Sally is researching SUVs to find the one to best suit her families needs.

And ultimately any decision about our bodies are ultimately up to us. That was a general statement in to a particular post, speaking about general medical procedures.

Awful lot of assuming going on.

I had a hysterectomy a while back. Lot of decisions in that process regarding many things. Research included, speaking with many doctors, women who had the procedure. Along with actual journal readings.......

Regarding Covid, long list of screw ups.... starting with China and WHO.
 

gymgal

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Make yourself a thoughtful consumer of research, but unless you are actually out there recruiting participants for your own experiments, you're not doing research. /rant
Your definition is awfully narrow. Any general dictionary will define the word "research" to include gathering of information for the purpose of gaining more information about a topic. So yes, a person who seeks more information about a particular condition is, in fact, "doing research". I do, however, agree that people need to go to the source and not rely on media reports, which often skew results to fit a narrative. I tend to be skeptical with most news reports now (left and right) and often seek the studies in which they reference to figure out the real truth.

Definition of research
(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : careful or diligent search

2 : studious inquiry or examination especially : investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws

3 : the collecting of information about a particular subject

research
verb

researched; researching; researches

Definition of research (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb
1 : to search or investigate exhaustively research a problem

2 : to do research for research a book

intransitive verb
: to engage in research
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Regarding the definition of "research," yes the word has different context-dependent meanings, but we aren't discussing it in a generic context here; we are specifically discussing medical research. Medical and scientific research is conducted by medical and scientific experts and peer-reviewed by other scientific and medical experts.

If you didn't go to med school, you are not conducting medical research.

Now, there's certainly nothing wrong with getting a second or third opinion, but those second and third opinions should also come from medical experts.


Everyone should do their own research, or get second opinions, etc..... all those professionals are mere mortals.

Ultimately, it’s our bodies, our decisions.
What "research" could I possibly do that would make me more of an expert than somebody who actually went to med school and whose literal job is to help keep people healthy?

Proper research would involve reading actual medical journals, written by and for medical experts. Having the knowledge base to properly understand those articles would involve going to medical school.

No amount of sitting at home on google and wikipedia will make me more of a medical expert than.... well, actual medical experts.
 
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ldw4mlo

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If you didn't go to med school, you are not conducting medical research.
Where did I say go out and "conduct medical research" as in double blind studies.

@gymgal had a nice post above about a broad vs narrow definition of "research"

Regarding "medical experts"

3 medical experts weighed in my hysterectomy and my ovaries....

My medical doctor, a male, who said those suckers had to go. Well because why take a chance. Of course he will never have to deal with sudden surgical onset of menopause. But he did go to medical school. It was also the last time I saw him.
My OB surgeon, just coming off a residency, where she pretty much dealt with all sorts of gynecological cancer. Very much a expert regarding cancer and surgery. Brilliant woman and surgeon. I recommend her often.
My General OB, with close to 30 years of practicing OB/Gyn, dealing with all sorts issues, including menopause.

All of them technically medical experts. The 2 that actually had experience I gave their due weight, (as we met together), they both had very different opinions regarding those suckers and combined with my additional research I made a decision. My body, my ovaries, my decision.

As @raenndrops said. I am the expert on me......

A long winded way to circle back to my original point. I don't (nor do I encourage anyone) to do something solely because "the doctor" said so.
 

Freddy's Fred

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Your definition is awfully narrow. Any general dictionary will define the word "research" to include gathering of information for the purpose of gaining more information about a topic. So yes, a person who seeks more information about a particular condition is, in fact, "doing research". I do, however, agree that people need to go to the source and not rely on media reports, which often skew results to fit a narrative. I tend to be skeptical with most news reports now (left and right) and often seek the studies in which they reference to figure out the real truth.

Definition of research
(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : careful or diligent search

2 : studious inquiry or examination especially : investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws

3 : the collecting of information about a particular subject

research
verb

researched; researching; researches

Definition of research (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb
1 : to search or investigate exhaustively research a problem

2 : to do research for research a book

intransitive verb
: to engage in research
Anytime someone quotes the dictionary, I loser all confidence in them. I am a medical librarian at an R1 university.
 
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mommyof1

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Proper research would involve reading actual medical journals, written by and for medical experts. Having the knowledge base to properly understand those articles would involve going to medical school.
You don’t need to have attended med school to be able to understand scientific studies on a basic level. Even one undergraduate statistics course will get you partway there. The quantitative techniques used in medical research and the social sciences are very similar.

There is a difference between trusting science in general and blindly trusting public health authorities or drug companies or doctors to correctly interpret and present science. Not everything done in the name of "science" is correct or beneficial; for example, overprescribing of opioids by doctors at the behest of pharmaceutical companies, combined with the characterization of pain as a vital sign that must be brought into normal range at all costs, got us into the opioid crisis.

I do give substantial weight to the recommendations of authorities like Anthony Fauci, who has demonstrated throughout his career that his views and recommendations are grounded in science and evolve along with the evidence.
 

profmom

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You can say you are informing yourself through critical engagement with the medical and epidemiological research on COVID, and if you know anything about science, you'll know it is incremental and at times contradictory. But what I object to is this idea that a bunch of people running around reading blogs and Medium posts and breathless dodgy newspaper articles are doing research on COVID or vaccines. The meaning of "research" matters, and you cannot simply by appropriating the word put yourself in the same category of expertise as someone who has the knowledge base and resources to do research. Researching the best minivan to buy is not the same thing as researching whether a vaccine is safe according to conventionally accepted medical principles.

I also want to raise once again the harm principle. Choose whatever choices you want for your body if we are talking about a medical condition that only affects you. But we aren't. Infectious diseases are a public health matter and your untrammeled liberty stops at the point where it encounters my health and safety.
 

raenndrops

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Medical and scientific research is conducted by medical and scientific experts and peer-reviewed by other scientific and medical experts.

If you didn't go to med school, you are not conducting medical research.

Now, there's certainly nothing wrong with getting a second or third opinion, but those second and third opinions should also come from medical experts.
Proper research would involve reading actual medical journals, written by and for medical experts. Having the knowledge base to properly understand those articles would involve going to medical school.

No amount of sitting at home on google and wikipedia will make me more of a medical expert than.... well, actual medical experts.
I was a pre-med major for 1 year. During most of that year, I worked at the University's medical center. My job a clerical one. I made copies, organized papers, and went around to all the places (on 12 different floors ... some were in doctor's lounges and others were in conference rooms or mini-libraries) that they kept their cancer treatment protocal "books" and update certain cancer treatment protocols. Sometimes, I was to remove and replace pages and other times, I was to just add the new information. Since I had to know which way to update, I had to look at the pages anyways, so I would read part of the updates. Since most of my job was done only 1-2 days a week, I had some free time "on the clock." I would spend that time reading actual medical journals. I looked at topics that interested me. I also talked to some of the doctors who worked (and taught) at the medical school. I became well versed in a couple specific medical topics. That was 1990-91. There has been a lot of new research in those areas since then, but I still keep up on them through reading medical journals and looking at the studies that come out.

After pre-med, I transitioned to elementary education (B.S. Ed) and psychology (B.A). I took an entire class on research methods for my psychology major and it wasn't just about research FOR psychology and other social sciences.

Currently, I do limited scope / limited subjects studies ... the scope is something specific to me ... I am the only subject in the study (because why not since I am the one I want to know about). I design my study, implement it, take copious notes every step of the way, gather and synthesize my data and draw conclusions based on the evidence. One of my more recent studies resulted in increasing my water intake. If I want to avoid going to the hospital for a small bowel obstruction caused by dehydration, I must consume a minimum of 1330 ounces of water a week.
 
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ldw4mlo

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But what I object to is this idea that a bunch of people running around reading blogs and Medium posts and breathless dodgy newspaper articles are doing research on COVID or vaccines.
I don't think anyone suggested they were getting their information from blogs, medium posts and news articles. Nor did I see anyone suggest anyone else use that as a source. I certainly don't without verifying the source of the data.

The meaning of "research" matters, and you cannot simply by appropriating the word put yourself in the same category of expertise as someone who has the knowledge base and resources to do research. Researching the best minivan to buy is not the same thing as researching whether a vaccine is safe according to conventionally accepted medical principles.
Again, hammering on a narrow definition of research. No one said, one should research a car the same way you would research a vaccine's efficacy and safety. They are both however "researching" along with Billy working on his term paper at the library.

The meaning of "research" matters, and you cannot simply by appropriating the word put yourself in the same category of expertise as someone who has the knowledge base and resources to do research.
I've done my time in research, studies, validation, FDA approval processes.......................... Lots of connections to MDs, PHDs, pharmacologists. No need to school me.

I also want to raise once again the harm principle. Choose whatever choices you want for your body if we are talking about a medical condition that only affects you. But we aren't. Infectious diseases are a public health matter and your untrammeled liberty stops at the point where it encounters my health and safety.
And stop assuming there are a bunch of folks here claiming...... I don't have to and am not going to do something because it is my "right" not too. No one here said that either. There are actually people who simple can not do vaccines. It is for those people the rest of us do.
 

Freddy's Fred

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Interesting chat with my daughters pediatrician today at her physical. She is optimistic about a vax. She would do it (She has to be close to 70 or perhaps older). And she would wait before giving it to kids in general as they are not at high risk for serious illness.
Great! I hope others get it as well. Risk analysis is such that the threat of Covid is way greater than vaccine injury.
 
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