Policy

Category archives for Policy

Microbes on a plane

I blogged back in March about World TB day, the theme of which was “TB anywhere is TB everywhere.” We know that someone can simply hop on a plane halfway across the world, and be practically anywhere else on the globe in the span of about a day–and their bacteria and viruses are just along…

The long shadow of smallpox

Smallpox is, without a doubt, the biggest success story in all of vaccination. The practice of variolation, or the purposeful inoculation of naïve individuals with material from scabs of smallpox victims, was practiced for years prior to Edward Jenner’s substitution of cowpox for the smallpox (Variola) virus. The vaccinia virus, thought to be a derivative…

Last summer, I mentioned that groups receiving federal funding were providing misleading information about abortion, including the unsupported statement that having an abortion increases the risk of development of breast cancer. As I noted, this “link” has been refuted by a number of analyses, including a 2004 Lancet paper and a 2003 National Cancer Institute…

Influenza and masks, redux

It’s difficult to believe that it’s been over a year since I last wrote a post on the use of masks in the event of an influenza pandemic. Since then, there’s been a virtual glut of information out there, and from what I’ve seen at least, people, businesses, organizations, government, etc. interested in preparation seem…

Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection is as old as civilization. The bacterium infects approximately a third of the world’s population–roughly 2 billion individuals. It’s estimated that 8 million new cases are contracted each year–around a new infection every second. ~2 million individuals die as a result of TB every year. The bacterium also plays a prominent role…

I’ve mentioned a few times the work of Ignaz Semmelweis in preventing “childbed fever” in new mothers. To recap: Semmelweis was a physician in Vienna in the 1840s, with an interested in “childbed fever,” a leading cause of mortality in women who’d given birth. During this time, he noticed that the mortality rate from this…

Via Jonah comes this (depressing, as he notes) NY Times article on what else we could’ve bought with $1.2 trillion: For starters, $1.2 trillion would pay for an unprecedented public health campaign — a doubling of cancer research funding, treatment for every American whose diabetes or heart disease is now going unmanaged and a global…

Gina Kolata has an interesting article from Wednesday’s New York Times, discussing education and longevity. James Smith, a health economist at the RAND Corporation, has heard a variety of hypotheses about what it takes to live a long life — money, lack of stress, a loving family, lots of friends. But he has been a…

Tripoli Six update: found guilty

Libya to execute HIV medics (Previous posts on the topic) A court convicted five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor Tuesday of deliberately infecting 400 children with HIV and sentenced them to death, despite scientific evidence the youngsters had the virus before the medical workers came to Libya. The United States and Europe reacted with…

I’ve written previously about how it’s a bad idea to import exotic pets, after “exotic” African species of small animals were imported into the United States and housed alongside prairie dogs that were also to be sold as pets. The African animals brought along with them their own diseases, including monkeypox, which then spread to…