'E' is for Evidence

(Jan 30, 2021)

Our battle with COVID-19 has raised many questions around the evidence base for proposed public health interventions. Outside the furnace of a pandemic, such conversations might progress at a measured pace, one research paper at a time. But with infections rising and lives at stake, debates in the science community become both more heated and more public. We've seen arguments play out in news media and press conferences, debating face masks, psychological impacts of lockdown, hygiene measures and herd immunity. Now, some argue a potentially critical role for vitamin D, a debate that reached the UK parliament in the middle of January 2021.

Vitamin D is naturally created in our skin in response to sunlight,…

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Tags: coronavirus, public health, Scotland, vitamin D

'D' is for deficiency

(Aug 28, 2018)

The United Kingdom has long had persistent regional disparities in mortality, and thus in life expectancy.  A large part of this is due to socio-economic mix, as shown in a much earlier blog.  However, as Gavin showed in a comparison of three UK cities, socio-economic variation cannot wholly explain Glasgow's excess mortality.  There are many possible contributory factors, but in this blog we focus on one: sunshine.

An obvious difference between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom is that it gets less sunshine.  Figure 1 shows the monthly average hours of sunshine between 1981 and 2010:

Figure 1. Average monthly hours of sunshine across the U.K., 1981-2010. Source: Met Office.

And even when Scotland…

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Tags: Scotland, sunshine, vitamin D

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