Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 10:28 pm
In the past week, world leaders have started using a mathematical term when they talk about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
"It's spreading and growing exponentially," President Obama said Tuesday. "This is a disease outbreak that is advancing in an exponential fashion," said Dr. David Nabarro, who is heading the U.N.'s effort against Ebola.
Airports in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are relying on a familiar tool to stop the spread of Ebola: the thermometer.
Airport staff are measuring the temperature of anyone trying to leave the country, looking for "unexplained febrile illness," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is advising these countries on their exit screening processes.
For those who eagerly trace their genetic lineage or subscribe online to find their earliest ancestors, there's a new group to consider adding to the furthest reaches of your list. A previously unrecognized population of ancient north Eurasians may be a major third braid in the genetic twist that gave rise to most modern Europeans and their kin.
Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:16 pm
Colorado's new campaign to deter teen marijuana use tries to make the case that weed is bad for your brain.
One TV ad shows a group of teens lighting up inside a dark car as moody music plays in the background. The commercial cites a Duke University study that found a link between regular marijuana use and a lower IQ.
Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 8:03 am
Catholic and other religious hospitals and universities have been arguing in federal court for much of the past two years that they shouldn't have to offer or facilitate birth control as part of their employee health plans because it violates their religious beliefs.
But what happens when the insurance company is itself Catholic? It turns out that Catholic health plans have for years been arranging for outside firms to provide contraceptive coverage to their enrollees.
Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 8:02 am
Many U.S. scientists had hoped to ride out the steady decline in federal funding for biomedical research, but it's continuing on a downward trend with no end in sight. So leaders of the science establishment are now trying to figure out how to fix this broken system.
It's a familiar problem. Biomedical science has a long history of funding ups and downs, and, in the past, the system has always righted itself with the passage of time and plumper budgets.
Dr. Kent Brantly, a U.S. medical missionary who contracted Ebola in July while working as a doctor in Liberia and survived the deadly disease after treatment at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, appeared at a joint Senate hearing today examining the Ebola outbreak.
Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 8:12 pm
In 2013, 6.3 million children under the age of 5 died. That's a tragic statistic — yet it represents a 49 percent drop from 1990, according to data released Tuesday by the United Nations.
Dr. Mickey Chopra, the head of UNICEF's global health programs, spoke with us about the encouraging trend — and what still needs to be done in parts of the world where children's lives are threatened by unsanitary water, disease and malnutrition.
Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:08 pm
The federal government has poured more than $3 billion into breast cancer research over the past couple of decades, but the results have been disappointing. The disease remains a stubborn killer of women.
So the National Breast Cancer Coalition is trying something bold: The advocacy group has decided that it's not simply going to lobby for more research dollars. Instead, its leaders are sitting down at the table with scientists studying the disease and telling them how they'd like that money to be spent.
Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 5:51 pm
President Obama announced details of his plan Tuesday to help contain the Ebola outbreak that has caused more than 2,400 deaths in West Africa. The strategy reportedly includes sending up to 3,000 military personnel to the region.
Obama spoke at the Atlanta headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday afternoon.
Update at 4:18 p.m. ET: 'It Doesn't Have To Be This Way'
The president describes "a major increase in our response." Some details:
Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:31 pm
If your belt needs to be let out a notch, you're not alone. The average American waistline is growing even though obesity rates haven't grown. And excess abdominal fat increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
The collective American waistline grew by more than an inch from 1999-2000 to 2011-2012, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 8:56 am
I have fond memories of listening to NPR while lounging at the physical therapist's with a heating pad on my shoulder. Don't do that, the nation's physical therapists' association says.
Heat therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound and other "passive physical agents" almost never help, according to a list released Monday by the Choosing Wisely campaign. Instead, they siphon time and money away from what you really want from a physical therapist — an exercise program that will restore strength and mobility.
Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 3:05 pm
For decades, states have set rules for health coverage through mandates. These laws require insurers to cover specific types of medical care or services.
The Affordable Care Act aims to curb this piecemeal approach to coverage by establishing minimum standards for insurance coverage in individual and small group plans nationwide and requiring states to pay for mandates that go beyond them.
Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 4:23 pm
Imagine a job where about half of all the work is being done by people who are in training. That's, in fact, what happens in the world of biological and medical research.
In the United States, more than 40,000 temporary employees known as postdoctoral research fellows are doing science at a bargain price. And most postdocs are being trained for jobs that don't actually exist.
Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 9:43 am
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is already the deadliest on record, having killed more than 2,400 people. Health experts warn it could get much worse, if the spread of the disease isn't contained quickly.
That alarm has President Obama meeting today with experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Obama is expected to announce a major buildup in U.S. efforts to address the threat of Ebola.