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Joe Alcock

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

Initial thoughts on COVID-19

When I first started reading about the coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan China, I had returned from a trip to Japan, and my first thought was: “we will all start wearing masks” as is customary for many Japanese. A few weeks later, I was dismayed to see almost none of my […]

The Bad Microbiome Project

A belated Happy New Year to you, readers of Evolution Medicine! In 2020 I am introducing a new new initiative – the Bad Microbiome Project. Pictured above is a member of the Enterobacteriaceae family – E. coli – a prototypical bad microbe. The bad microbiome project is an exploration of […]

Life History Theory and the microbiome

Life History Theory, a concept first described by Yale evolutionary biologist Stephen Stearns, is the application of evolutionary biology to the entire life cycle from birth to death. It includes the hypothesis that features of life are shaped by natural selection in ways that might have maximized fitness (in the […]

2019 UNM School of Medicine Elective

The Evolutionary Medicine Elective for UNM Medical Students starts again this week. We will begin by discussing this paper by Steve Stearns:  Evolutionary medicine: its scope, interest, and potential. Read that article carefully prior to the first session.   Week 1 (session  one) will focus on a) life history theory, […]

Breaking bad – the microbiome edition

Is your microbiome value-added? Does it provide benefits to your health and well-being? Does it produce vitamins and help with your digestion? Does it educate your immune system and prevent infection? Unless you are hospitalized in the intensive care unit or suffering severe or critical illness, the answer is likely […]

Picking sides in sepsis

As a public health problem, sepsis is a stubborn and serious problem. It is a leading cause of mortality for hospitalized patients. Deaths from sepsis are increasing, not decreasing, so it is unlike other leading causes of death such as cardiovascular disease. Despite many decades of intense research and clinical […]

The curious case of the MAST trousers

Paul E. Pepe came to the our department today to discuss his long history of clinical research in emergency medicine, pre-hospital medicine, and critical care. Dr. Pepe was one of the authors of the influential 1994 Bickell paper in the New England Journal. That paper, which was published when I […]

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 […]