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Joe Alcock

Emergency Physician, Educator, Researcher, interested in the microbiome, evolution, and medicine

Fat Fights Back – the Podcast

Fat, especially visceral fat, has an important immune function, especially in gastrointestinal infections and in response to GI pathogens in the microbiome. In Podcast #39, Coffee Brown and I discuss Mary Jane West Eberhard’s paper on the evolutionary function of fat and a developmental explanation for the obesity epidemic. Her […]

Treat Nobody’s Fever? Podcast #38

Paul Young and colleagues recently published a meta-analysis that was designed to answer the question – does any group of patients benefit from fever control? The research question was: Since fever is physiologically costly, do patients “with limited physiologic reserves” benefit from reducing fever? The short answer, even for these […]

2019 High Altitude Conference

If it seems like I have been posting a lot on high altitude, here is the reason. I am taking part in the 2019 Mountain Emergency Medicine Conference taking place this year at Taos Ski Valley. Check out the flyer and registration information here. I will be speaking about Andean […]

Does Fasting Make you Smarter – Podcast #37

In the EvolutionMedicine Podcast #37, Coffee Brown and I discuss whether intermittent fasting improves cognitive capacity. We talk about the recent paper by Mark P. Mattson, “An Evolutionary Perspective on Why Food Overconsumption Impairs Cognition” published in the journal Cell. Does overeating make us dumb as a culture? Can fasting […]

High altitude and sepsis?

Pathology at high altitude occurs in part because of gene-environment mismatch. We introduced that idea in the first, second, and third blog entries on the topic of high altitude diseases. So far we focused on other clinical contexts in which hypoxia inducible factor (HIF-1) activation is adaptive during common disorders […]

High altitude edema

In Ecuador, one member in our party developed significant swelling of her hands and feet. By itself, edema of the hands is not a problem, and it does not require treatment or descent to lower altitudes. But we have mentioned a few other instances in which edema is a big […]

High altitude headache

More people are living and traveling to high altitude than ever before. Pictured here is my colleague Darryl Macias atop Mount Rainier where we held a high altitude conference a few years back. He claims he felt A-ok, and he looks like it – but others, including myself, had mild […]

Evolutionary oxygen tradeoffs

During normal functioning, adequate delivery of oxygen and blood flow is prioritized to body organs. Oxidation of glucose is the dominant means by which mitochondria in our cells generate ATP, the main currency of energy in the body. Because of the importance of oxygen and blood flow, human physiology comes […]

Oxygen therapy revisited

Coffee Brown and I recorded a podcast last year about the surprising result of a large systematic review of oxygen therapy – the  IOTA trial.  The IOTA trial showed a lack of benefit, often in the direction of harm, from one of our most common medical interventions – supplemental oxygen. Giving […]