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Posts Tagged "epidemiology"

Anthropology in Practice

Editor’s Selections: Bipedalism, Emotions, Mass deaths, and Gifts

This week on my ResearchBlogging.org column: Could there be evidence of a second type of bipedalism in the hominid family tree? Possibly—though the evidence is scant. At Lawn Chair Anthropology, Zachary Cofran discusses the potential a 3.4 million year old foot may bring to discussions about evolution. How does your liver feel? The Neuroskeptic discusses [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Kawasaki Disease Traced to Winds from Northeast China Carrying Unusual Fungal Load

Kawasaki_origin_Rodo_et_al_2014_200

In 2012 I wrote a story for Nature about a strange illness called Kawasaki Disease whose cause has eluded scientists for over 50 years. The diseases causes inflammation of the blood vessels in small children that leads to fever, rashes and reddening, and even coronary aneurysms that can cause heart attacks in the young. Whatever [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Fungi on the March: My New Feature Story for Scientific American

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Healthy humans are strangely impervious to fatal fungi. It usually takes something like a shot in the spine with a contaminated drug to give fungi the necessary upper hand. Sure, fungi can be maddening skin irritants, but when was the last time you heard that someone with a normal immune system had died of a [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Unexpected Award Phone Call: A Good Way to Start Your Day

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Yesterday morning as I was tucking into my first cup of tea, I received the startling news that I’ve won the American Meteorological Society’s Award for Distinguished Science Journalism in the Atmospheric and Related Sciences. Dr. Marshall Shepherd, president of the AMS, called to inform me of the news. I was especially shocked since I [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Could a Mystery Virus be the Culprit in Kawasaki Disease?

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In the Nature podcast interview that went along with my Kawasaki Disease story at Nature (look for the interview halfway down the page at the story here), I talked about the tantalizing work of Dr. Anne Rowley at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. She has studied the tissues of Kawasaki Disease patients and believes [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Can Diseases Cross Oceans By Wind?

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That’s the question I examine in my first feature story for Nature, published today online and in the print magazine April 5. A bizarre disease of toddlers and infants called Kawasaki Disease — which only emerged in the 1960s in Japan — causes little kids to develop rash; fever; swollen hands, feet, and lymph nodes; [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Mystery of Alaskan “Goo” Rust Solved at Last

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Last fall the small Alaskan coastal village of Kivalina was inundated by a mysterious orange “goo”(click for photo). Locals and others suspected a toxic algal bloom (see here for image), or perhaps some sort of chemical release, or millions of microscopic “crustacean eggs”. Yet just a month later the mystery substance was identified as none [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Misery-inducing Norovirus Can Survive for Months — Perhaps Years — in Drinking Water

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Purple packages of pain: false colored (no, they’re not purple in real life) transmission electron micrograph of human norovirus. CDC/Charles D. Humphrey. CDC Public Health Image Library ID 10708, click for link. If there is a central circle of hell, I now know what’s there: endless glasses of water spiked with norovirus that you must [...]

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Guest Blog

The Ebola Outbreak: Hopeful News from the Front Lines

A "Prevent Ebola" bumper sticker commonly seen around Sierra Leone.

The coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa by U.S. media has often seemed unremittingly grim. So it was with some trepidation that I boarded a plane for Sierra Leone. I was part of a field assessment team assembled by Project HOPE, the international humanitarian organization. The country’s first lady, Sia Nyama Koroma, invited [...]

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Guest Blog

Disease Detectives Investigate Outbreaks at Home and Abroad

Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer Dr. Leisha Nolen preparing to depart on assignment to West Africa in response to the 2014 Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak across Guinea, northern Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Pictured atop the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) materiel case to her left are some of the requisite medical supplies she would be taking including phlebotomy vials, and disposable face masks. (Credit: CDC)

The medical sleuths of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been thrust into the limelight with the recent Ebola epidemic. Charged with chasing diseases and stopping outbreaks, they’re a geeky bunch of young doctors, veterinarians and scientists, who prefer to work behind the scenes. I can call them geeks because I was one [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Muddled about MERS? Here’s A Quick Guide

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While I was working on the “H1N-What?” post, I also knew there would soon be questions about MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), just as there were about SARS. So here are the essentials of what we know and don’t know about MERS—which has just been reported in the U.S.—as well as intriguing tidbits that remain [...]

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Molecules to Medicine

Germs, Microbes Compete With Athletes in Sochi Olympics

Ski Jump

This blog appears in the In-Depth Report Science at the Sochi Olympics The Olympics are not just a chance for countries to bring home the gold. They also provide a perfect chance to spread infections all over the world. The Olympics are likely surpassed only by the annual Hajj Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in the [...]

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Observations

Climate Change Has Helped Bring Down Cultures

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Humanity has weathered many a climate change, from the ice age of 80,000 years ago to the droughts of the late 19th century that helped kill between 30 and 50 million people around the world via famine. But such shifts have transformed or eliminated specific human societies, including the ancient Sumerians and the Ming Dynasty [...]

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Roots of Unity

Zombie Fever: A Mathematician Studies a Pop Culture Epidemic

Helpful information for surviving the zombie apocalypse. Image: Todd Hryck, via flickr.

Zombies. They’re everywhere. My dentist and his assistant spent my last visit and chatting about The Walking Dead while drilling into my head, and it seems like every reasonably large town hosts a zombie run. Science education is getting in on the trend, too. Colleges have classes about zombies, AMC (the network that broadcasts The [...]

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Talking back

The Riddle of What Is Killing Thousands of Central American Cane Workers

“Why the Silence Comandante Ortega?” That paraphrasing of a headline from the great Spanish daily El Pais introduced a story in the paper on the difficulties that Nicaragua has  faced in coming to grips with the death and disability wrought by a still-unexplained kidney disease epidemic. By one estimate, at least 20,000 men throughout Central [...]

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