ABOUT Kausik Datta

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When not vociferously debunking pseudoscience of various stripes, I have been known to count host immunity, host-pathogen interactions and pathogenesis of infectious disease caused by two mycopathogens, Aspergillus spp., and Cryptococcus spp., as well as general science communication, amongst my interests. My views, of course, are absolutely and irrevocably my own.


Kausik Datta: All Posts


A Life Well-lived With Love, Compassion, Joy Reaches Denouement

Posted 20 February 2015 by Kausik Datta

Fuck cancer. Seriously. We keep losing immense numbers of good people to it; I have lost close friends and family members to it. And yesterday, I was aghast to learn that one of my most favorite scientist/authors, Professor Oliver Sacks, has fallen a prey to this scourge. As he announced yesterday in a New York Times Op-Ed: ... a few weeks ago I learned that I have multiple metastases in the liver. Nine years ago it was discovered that I... Read more

Inflammation, Acupuncture, and HPA axis: Faulty Science Clouds Understanding

Posted 18 February 2015 by Kausik Datta

In the wake of my recent critique of acupuncture being touted as a remedy for allergic rhinitis, I was pointed (via a Twitter comment) towards a 2013 review in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which purported to propose a mechanism for the much-claimed anti-inflammatory effects of acupuncture. There are several putative mechanisms, discussing all of which will make this post gargantuan. Therefore, I shall focus on the explanation involving the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The review, by a group of... Read more

Sniffles, Sneezes, Itches, Boo-boo: What Can The Needles Do?

Posted 11 February 2015 by Kausik Datta

Nasal allergies (a.k.a. Allergic Rhinitis, or hay fever) represent a frequent allergic disorder that reduces the sufferer’s quality of life, and has harsh economic implications in terms of healthcare costs and social productivity. A 2003 retrospective study from Germany estimated that average annual cost of season allergic rhinitis was approximately €1,089 per child/adolescent and €1,543 per adult, considering direct medical and nonmedical costs. (Note: €1 = US $1.0503, on January 1, 2003, the day this study was published.) During the... Read more

About Ethics In Science News Journalism And Editorial Practices

Posted 6 February 2015 by Kausik Datta

Media and communication professionals, including those in the news business, understand the power and value of visual communication. The old adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words", has never been truer than it is now, what with the nearly ubiquitous use of imagery and iconography – both moving and still – to communicate information via printed material, digital screens, and even the built environment. This phenomenon is outside my area of expertise (so I wouldn’t hold forth more on... Read more

(Passing Along Information) One PhD position in Microbial Pathogenesis at Hans Knöll Institute

Posted 2 February 2015 by Kausik Datta

This morning I received an email from Professor Bernhard Hube of the Hans Knöll Institute in Jena, Germany. In this email, Prof. Hube requested for this information to be forwarded to anyone interested. Here is the text of the advertisement, in its entirety: Job Advertisement No. 04/2015 The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute – (HKI, www.hki-jena.de) investigates the pathobiology of human-pathogenic fungi and identifies targets for the development of novel natural product-based... Read more

Worm-holes in Muscles Lead to Universe of Pain

Posted 29 January 2015 by Kausik Datta

Do you dream of steak tartare? Are the names ossenworst, kitfo, crudos, yookhwe, or larb lu, music to your ears? You are not alone. Globally, including in the United States, countless people swear by these and other raw meat dishes. The question is – are you putting yourself at risk? According to 2011 CDC estimates, every year foodborne illnesses attack 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people), resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths. The spectrum of foodborne diseases... Read more

The hands that tinker with nuts and bolts behind research (a fantastic Nature News feature)

Posted 28 January 2015 by Kausik Datta

I was alerted this morning - via Malcolm Campbell - to an excellent news feature on Nature News - titled: "Not Your Average Technician" - on four individuals who are engaged in behind-the-scenes jobs, which nevertheless support the scientific and technological research work of many in more visible fields. NOTE: An indefatigable curator of the most interesting science news, Dr. Malcolm Campbell - I am honored to be his Scilogs colleague - continues to stimulate our minds with his daily... Read more

Restrictive Publishing Policies Guiding Self-archival of Articles by Authors are Not Helpful

Posted 15 January 2015 by Kausik Datta

Publishing policies of scientific journals - especially, the closed-access journals - often leave me scratching my head. Seriously. I am a member of ResearchGate; it is supposed to be a scientist-only social network, perhaps a "Facebook for Science" (as Eli Kintisch wrote in 2014 in Science's Career Magazine), in which scientists can upload and share their research papers, track citations, follow the work of - and even request papers from - colleagues and fellow scientists across the world. Every once... Read more

Many a slip… between actual science and Press Release clip?

Posted 2 January 2015 by Kausik Datta

To whomever reading this first post of a shiny, brand new year, A Happy New Year To You. May the year ahead bring you joy, peace and accomplishments galore. Within the past week from today, two notes related to science communication - from two people I follow on Twitter and elsewhere - came to my attention. And the funny thing is, the two notes (I say 'notes' for want of a better descriptor) are related to each other. One note... Read more

Sciencebloggers and SIWOTI – A Science Communication Research Project

Posted 27 October 2014 by Kausik Datta

A couple of days ago, Paige Brown Jarreau, my Scilogs co-blogger ("From the Lab Bench") and our intrepid, supportive, Scilogs-Community Manager, launched her own crowdfunding project on experiment.com to fund her research work on science communication. It is a worthy effort, and her results will be Open Access, which is an awesome plus. Please do visit her blog as well as the project page to support her endeavor if possible. In her survey (duly approved by the IRB of her institution),... Read more