Saturday, March 19, 2011


I had a terrible common cold last week with runny nose, fever, burning nose, burning throat, burning eyes, and cough.

Now, the common cold might be gone but it has turned into sinusitis.

Now, the runny nose continues. My nose is stuffy with mucus and it causes some pain to my nose and headache.

I will blog about sinusitis in the future.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

An interesting field experiment

A research (a field experiment) showed that drinking Yakult could lead to lower incidences of diarrhoea. And the result was statistically significant (p<0.01).

Ok, you might ask what is this p<0.01. It means that the result was above 99% confidence, in statistical sense. Read the news right here.

So let's have some Yakult to drink down those Probiotics (good bacteria) for a healthier gut!

Anyway, there is always ethical concern when comes to field experiment. The unfortunate kids who were given placebo are at the losing end compared to the lucky kids who were given Yakult at random.

I remember reading another field experiment where a group of sex workers were given placebo and some were given actual anti-viral drugs at random. Among the ones who were given anti-viral drugs, there were lesser reports of HIV infection. Again, the sex workers who were given placebo are at the losing end compared to the one who were given the actual anti-viral drugs.

Sometimes, sacrifices are needed for the benefit to the greater good of majority. Utilitarianism!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Race and Intelligence - Are East Asians smarter??

I recently watched a very interesting documentary on History Channel. The documentary is "Race and Intelligence: Sciences Last Taboo.

One interesting thing I learned from that documentary is about the research conducted by Professor Emeritus Richard Lynn.

Lynn's meta-analysis lists the average IQ scores of East Asians (105), Europeans (99), Inuit (91), Southeast Asians and Amerindians each (87), Pacific Islanders (85), Middle Easterners (including South Asians and North Africans) (84), East and West Africans (67), Australian Aborigines (62) and Bushmen and Pygmies (54).

I didn't know that, generally, East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans) have a higher intelligence average at 105 compared to the Europeans at 99.

The documentary also reported that ever since Berkeley College started the SAT examination for college entry, the college's population comprises East Asians at 40% while the blacks at 3%. This certainly supported Lynn's hypotheses, in some way.

You can even see this already by yourself in our local Malaysian schools and universities on who always scored the highest in exams.

I also find that the host/narrator (Rageh Omaar) seemed to be unhappy during his interview with Professor Lynn. When Omaar asked the Professor whether there is a hierarchical difference in race according to IQ, the Professor replied "Yes" with a very very straight face. And you can see how surprised Omaar was on hearing that. It looked like the narrator being a black, cannot accept that answer.

Omaar also asked "What is the evidence for that?", the Professsor rightly replied that it was just a conclusion from the research.

Indeed, it was just a conclusion from his research.

The theory that race and intelligence are correlated is always open to be annulled.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The underrated TB

Every now and then, newspapers will publish news on new infection of H1N1 or the H5N1.

What about TB? TB seems to be old news and underrated.

Like I blogged previously, TB was like HIV prior to the 1940s because there was no cure for TB at that time. So, imagine HIV being spread airborne. Those were the days.

Unlike H1N1 or H5N1, TB victims, just like AIDS victims, are tortured for months or even years before being succumbed to it. Of course, there is a cure for TB now. But....

Now, let's put TB aside, instead we have MDR-TB (multi drug resistant TB) today. This is a cause for concern because it's not easy to cure MDR-TB. Again, we are going back to square one.

Please read this journal right here for knowledge sake. MDR-TB is alive and spreading!

According to that study, in 2008, an estimated 390,000-510,000 cases of MDR-TB have emerged globally and China reported a high proportion of drug resistance with the highest burden of cases in the world.

You should be scared.