ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network

Posts Tagged "public health"

Food Matters

Of course a soda tax will work. Why else would the industry fight it so hard? (VIDEO)

child-and-big-soda

Sugary drinks are the single-largest contributor to added sugars in the American diet. Their consumption increases risk of type II diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Experts agree that rising sugary drink consumption has been a major contributor to the obesity epidemic, and that reducing consumption is a public health imperative. Over the last [...]

Keep reading »
Food Matters

“You’re Welcome.” How The Soda Industry Celebrated Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 11.58.27 PM

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. As it comes to a close, let’s take a look at how the beverage industry, one of the single most significant contributors to childhood obesity, addressed the issue during this time of reflection and learning. The industry’s spin machine trade group, the American Beverage Association (ABA), kicked the month [...]

Keep reading »
Food Matters

Resistance from the Rear – Hospital Effluent and the Growing Antibiotic Crisis

Not the actual sewer pipe in this story. Click for source.

If you ever worry that you’re a bit too optimistic about the future, try reading Maryn McKenna’s posts about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. The primary tools we’ve had to combat microbial disease for the past century are failing, and it’s largely our own fault. Antibiotic resistance genes (or ARGs) are spreading fast, and [...]

Keep reading »
Food Matters

An Open Letter to Dr. Oz: You’re Cheering for the Wrong Team.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 9.34.04 AM

Dear Dr. Oz: I caught the senate hearing earlier this week during which you answered for using “flowery language” to describe a number of weight-loss supplements that do not have (as you admit) the scientific backing for your claims. I’d like to think that you mean well. You are called “America’s Doctor.” You have huge [...]

Keep reading »
Food Matters

Book Review: The Diet Fix–Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work

the diet fix cover

  The Diet Fix: why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work, by Yoni Freedhoff, MD, is available March 4, 2014. It starts with a prescription for chocolate. Clearly this is not your average diet book. Over nearly ten years and thousands of hours working with patients with weight management issues at his Bariatric Medical [...]

Keep reading »
Food Matters

A Point-By-Point Response To The Beverage Industry Script

Soda Bottles

UPDATE, Feb 3, 8:35 pm: As mysteriously as the comment was removed, after this blogpost was published the comment went back up. Still no word as to why it was removed in the first place. On January 27th, San Francisco news station KGO-TV ran a news story about a possible tax on sugary beverages. As [...]

Keep reading »
Food Matters

The 4 Billion-Year-Old Story of Obesity

Source: genome.gov, captivating DNA diologue by author

Once upon a time some amino acids got smooshed together and stuck inside a tiny bubble of lipids. Inside the bubble these molecules were safe and free to duplicate themselves without getting gobbled up or broken down by the reactive acidic environment outside the bubble.  No one knows for sure just how or where this [...]

Keep reading »
Food Matters

What’s eating us?

From wikipedia (click for source)

As #SciAmFood week draws to a close, we’ve heard a lot about the food we consume, from not getting enough to astronaut nutrition (and getting too much) to tricking your brain about what it’s getting. But what about the things in our food that consume us? We humans do not live a sterile life, no [...]

Keep reading »
Molecules to Medicine

Ebola in the U.S.—Politics and Public Health Don’t Mix

CDC Public Health Preparedness Funding

“Against stupidity, even the gods strive in vain.” — Fredirich Schiller I’ve been glued to the Ebola news, riding the roller coaster of emotions. While  very impressed with CDC’s director, Dr. Tom Frieden’s, initial press conference (10/2/14), I became infuriated at the subsequent statements from Lisa Monaco, Homeland Security Advisor, and the tragicomedy of the [...]

Keep reading »
Molecules to Medicine

Covert Operations vs. Public Health: What is the Government Thinking?

Graffiti on USAID poster - David Lisbona/flickr

My attention having been riveted by Ebola, I missed this startling news last week: U.S. Agency for International Development sent young people undercover to Cuba to incite anti-government activism. Their cover was an HIV prevention workshop. This short-sighted idiocy was apparently aimed at making Cuba more “democratic,” by overthrowing Raul Castro, though that small nation [...]

Keep reading »
Molecules to Medicine

Muddled about MERS? Here’s A Quick Guide

MERS coronavirus

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 [...]

Keep reading »
Molecules to Medicine

What do you need to know to survive this year’s flu?

I spent a year filtering spit and nasal washings, growing influenza in tissue cultures in a minimalist lab, and trying to develop an oral flu vaccine, all as part of my Infectious Diseases fellowship thirty years ago. We’re still not there…but for now, here is information to help you this year. Every year, the strains [...]

Keep reading »
Molecules to Medicine

Diet drugs vs. Healthier lifestyle

BurgerKingQuadStacker-Mychal Stanley-cc-wikimedia

As expected, the FDA recently announced approval of a second drug for obesity within a month, Vivus’ Qnexa, now renamed Qsymia. This approval is less of a surprise, as the data appeared somewhat stronger than that for Arena’s lorcaserin (Belviq). What was rather curious is that USA Today broke news of the drug’s approval before [...]

Keep reading »
Molecules to Medicine

Over-the-counter OraQuick HIV test: What does this mean for you?

The FDA has just announced approval for the OraQuick In-Home HIV test, by OraSure Technologies. That’s great news on some fronts, but the test raises new questions, as well. As I’ve just been catching up on my vacation reading with Marya Zilberberg’s helpful new book, “Between the Lines,” the first thing that caught my eye [...]

Keep reading »
Molecules to Medicine

Molecules to Medicine: Public Health or Impaired Penises?

Viagra

Today’s news starkly juxtaposed this countries’ priorities. First was news of the approval of yet another look-alike drug for erectile dysfunction, avanafil (Stendra). Then “From First Cold To Grave: How Two-Month-Old Brady Died Of Pertussis.” Brady was too young to have been protected by receiving immunizations, but there are strategies for protecting newborns from pertussis, [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Health Insurance Exchanges Open: Here’s What You Need to Know

health insurance exchange

October 1 will be the first day millions of Americans will be able to start shopping for individual health insurance coverage in the new state-level exchanges. But polls are telling us what we already know: most people are confused by the new offerings. All of this comes despite millions of dollars spent by states and [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Food Delivers a Cocktail of Hormone-Like Signals to Body

The chicken pesto pasta on your plate is more than just tasty fuel to keep you going. The dish has carbohydrates, fats and proteins to be sure, but it also contains other nutrients and chemicals that send subtle cues and instructions to your cells. More and more researchers are arguing that to better grasp how [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Explainer: Naming of Parts for an Instrument of Civilian Slaughter

The PTAB 2.5M anti-armor bomblet has a cylindrical body with a dome-shaped ballistic cap at its front and it terminates in a four-fin tail unit that is structured in a drum configuration. In its Aug. 2, 2012 online posting, Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons noted that the tail unit comes in both short and long versions. The [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Global High Fructose Corn Syrup Use May Be Fueling Diabetes Increase

high fructose corn syrup global diabetes

It doesn’t matter where you look: the U.S., Mexico, Malaysia or Portugal, the more high fructose corn syrup consumption, on average, the more diabetes. A new study of 43 countries in Global Public Health, published online November 27, found that adult type-2 diabetes is 20 percent higher in countries that consume large quantities of high [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Newer Docs Might Be Driving Up Health Care Costs

doctor experience health care cost

Health care spending increases have slowed over the past couple years. Still, we are spending some $2.6 trillion—that’s trillion with a “T”—a year on health costs, which is a higher percentage of our GDP than any other developed country. And we don’t seem to be getting that much healthier. So economists and policy researchers are [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Election: Romney and Obama Tied on Vaccines

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

How do you know that a real-live human being is behind the past 14 weeks of blog posts exploring the individual questions posed to presidential candidates by ScienceDebate.org? Because people make mistakes. Last week I inadvertently posted the vaccine answers to the analysis about rare earth elements. Thanks to sijodk for politely pointing out the [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Medical Technology Donations Often Fail to Help

medical donation technologies developing countries

In the U.S. it can be difficult to avoid getting an MRI, laboratory analysis or at least an X-ray in any given year. But in poor areas, medical technologies—from expensive screening machines to simple devices—are often as rare as specialists who know how to work them. So, in an effort to improve health the world [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

A Crypto Expert’s View on Scary Bird Flu Data

Avian Influenza

After months of contentious debate, the journal Science is publishing a controversial study on Friday about H5N1 avian influenza‘s ability to spread among mammals. The report faced a tortuous path to publication as some researchers sought to censor the study’s findings for fear that they could be replicated and put to nefarious use. In a [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

Graphic Warning Labels on Cigarettes Help Smokers Remember Dangers

graphic cigarette warning label smoker recall message

This September, cigarette packs in the U.S. will be getting a lot more colorful. And a lot more disturbing. By then, tobacco companies will be required to display one of nine graphic health warnings on each pack, to comply with the Tobacco Control Act of 2009. The U.S. has followed dozens of other countries in [...]

Keep reading »
Observations

India’s City Dwellers at Greater Risk Than Americans for Heart Disease

india city heart disease risk

Diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other afflictions that once primarily plagued wealthier, western countries are now accelerating in poorer nations. A new study reveals that risk factors for heart disease in Indian cities are now more prevalent than they are in the U.S. or Western Europe per capita. And with a population of more than [...]

Keep reading »
Plugged In

The Cyclic Nature of “Crazy Bad” Air Pollution and Fuel Transitions

Photo of Beijing Skyline (2005) by Bobak

  China has become an icon for global air quality discussions – with its infamously horrible airpocolypses leading to widely publicized health impacts on the local population including widespread headaches, respiratory distress, and anxiety. On January 14, 2014 one such event led to air quality that was so “crazy bad,” measurement tools housed at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing [...]

Keep reading »
Symbiartic

Graphic Guides to Ebola from the Epicenter and Abroad

14-026FEATURE

The Ebola outbreak in Western Africa continues to make the news as more cases are reported and casualties rise. A common thread in reporting is the difficulty in communicating accurate information to combat the spread of the virus when communities are gripped with fear and misinformation spreads as quickly as the virus itself. While our [...]

Keep reading »
Talking back

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Hip-Hop

There’s a brand new dance that’s sweepin’ the nation by the National Stroke Association … … For those who can dance and clap your hands to it… One arm as you slur every word you speak. Imitate like you’re paralyzed and weak… Walkin’ funny … stagger unsteady. Stand in a line and pretend that you’re [...]

Keep reading »
Talking back

Suicide Used as Plot Device in Car Ad, Public Health Norms Be Damned

On May 3, the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report showing that suicide among middle-aged Americans has risen substantially. Perverse coincidence perhaps, but that document arrived about a week after Hyundai Europe pulled an ad that sparked sustained outrage because it shows a guy trying to commit suicide with fumes from his [...]

Keep reading »
Talking back

Gun Control: Searching Down Under for Change to Believe In

Barack Obama talked on Sunday night about how the children who died in Newtown could have been from Anytown America. His words hit a resonant chord. Both of the given names of my two kids—Benjamin and Madeleine—were mentioned among the list of the dead children. “Madeleine,” spelled the same way as my daughter’s name, not [...]

Keep reading »
Talking back

Civilization’s Thin Veneer: The Evacuation of Bellevue

The nation’s oldest public hospital—and the premier emergency institution in New York City—is the go-to place in the aftermath of a plane or train wreck, an all-out gunfight or a commercial airliner slicing through a skyscraper. Its staff has spent enormous time in preparation for the numerous scenarios—chemical, biological, nuclear—for which New York is the [...]

Keep reading »
Talking back

German Court: Circumcision Is Cruel and Usual Punishment

Conventional wisdom has it that the only thing that will unite races, religions and political factions will be the landing of a hostile Martian space ship. It’s a little hard to plan for the exact moment of the next Mars attack. So invoking global terror from extraterrestrials might not be such a great strategy for [...]

Keep reading »
Talking back

16-Ounce Cokes and 40 Joints a Month: When Government Dictates to Consumers

José Mujica is the Uruguayan Bloomberg. Like the mayor of New York, the president of Uruguay is a social engineer, convinced to the core that he knows best by getting citizens to do the right thing. Bloomberg and Mujica even have a mutual fan club going. Bloomberg donated $500,000 and called the Uruguayan leader nearly [...]

Keep reading »

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Back To School

Back to School Sale!

12 Digital Issues + 4 Years of Archive Access just $19.99

Order Now >

X

Email this Article

X