What Do the U.S. and Turkmenistan Have in Common?

Foreign Policy come up with a list of "The World's Worst Healthcare Reforms." Keeping company with Russia, China, and Turkmenistan is the good old U.S. of A.

Pick Your Apocalypse

Slate's interactive End of America site presents 144 possible ways the U.S. could meet its demise and lets you choose your favorites. We've covered quite a few of them on this blog

The Importance of Sample Size, Swine Flu Edition

What made swine flu so worrisome was the high death toll it wrought in Mexico. Most of us assumed that the virus would be at least as lethal wherever it spread. It wasn’t. With the virus temporarily in retreat, current estimates show all but one of the swine flu deaths were confined to Mexico, and […]

Swine Flu and the Economy

Feeling a little feverish? Throat a little scratchy? You may be relieved to know that the last time a great swine flu epidemic was predicted it didn’t materialize. In 1976, the U.S. government predicted that 1 million Americans would die from a swine flu epidemic — but only one did. Meanwhile, this post at Foreign […]

An Ingenious Approach to Drug Compliance

Some ideas are just so great I am left in awe. Photo: Christopher Harting As Emily Singer writes in Technology Review that drug-resistant tuberculosis is an important problem, especially in poor countries. After you get TB, you are supposed to take antibiotics for six months to prevent drug-resistant strains of TB from arising. The problem, […]

One More Reason to Be Nice to Your Children

I’m reading a biography about Buckminster Fuller written by Lloyd Steven Sieden. Fuller had a 4-year-old daughter Alexandra who caught the 1918 flu, later got meningitis, and finally was afflicted by polio. Though frail, she managed to survive all these illnesses until the age of 4. It was the fall, and Fuller headed off from […]

Medical Info Overload?

We recently ran a bleg about dealing with too much data. That bleg prompted the following note from a reader named Geoff Barry: I had a thought on when it can be truly negative — even unhealthy. Too much medical information at a layman’s fingertips can actually be detrimental, both for the doctor treating the […]

Flu Data

A few years back, I bought $300 worth of food and water to store in the basement in case some terrible bird flu hit and we couldn’t leave the house for a week or two. We’ve eaten the good stuff bit by bit and a lot of what is left is now well past its […]

Combat One Plague, Risk Another?

Scientists have genetically engineered a malaria-resistant breed of mosquito that can out-compete non-modified mosquitoes in nature, the BBC reports. Releasing the mosquitoes into the wild could be a winning and cost-effective strategy to combat a disease that kills 1 million people worldwide each year and has dire financial consequences for countries where it is endemic. […]

Is the Housing Crisis a Public Health Nuisance?

Public-health officials in northern California are worried that foreclosed and abandoned homes — at least the ones with swimming pools — might become a breeding ground for mosquitoes that could carry West Nile virus. From a Mercury News article: Worried health officials will embark today on an aerial search for backyard, watery havens for mosquitoes […]