May 21, 2012 |
As the World Health Assembly convenes in Geneva this week, one item on the agenda will be polio, or more specifically, how to finally deliver on an epic promise made a quarter-century ago: to liberate humankind from one of the world's most deadly and debilitating diseases. The world's war on polio has been as ambitious an undertaking as the successful campaign to eradicate another great public health menace, smallpox. Slowly but surely we have advanced on that goal. Polio, a highly preventable disease, today survives in only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.
May 2, 2012 |
In case you missed it, a recommendation came out last month that physicians cut back on using 45 common tests and treatments. In addition, patients were advised to question doctors who recommend such things as antibiotics for mild sinusitis, CT scans for an uncomplicated headache or a repeat colonoscopy within 10 years of a normal exam. The general idea wasn't all that new - my colleagues and I have been questioning many of the same tests and treatments for years. What was different this time was the source of the recommendations.
April 5, 2012 |
Prescription painkillers are growing in popularity in new parts of the country, according to a new Associated Press analysis that has experts sounding alarms of a new addiction epidemic. “Pharmacies, hospitals and physicians dispensed the equivalent of 69 tons of pure oxycodone and 42 tons of pure hydrocodone in 2010,” according to the study. “That's enough to give 40 5-mg Percocets and 24 5-mg Vicodins to every man, woman and child in the United States.” In some parts of the country, the report found that sales increased sixteenfold between 2000 and 2010.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 5, 2012 |
Dr. Leila Daughtry Denmark, a Georgia pediatrician who was the country's oldest known practicing physician when she retired at 103, died Sunday at her daughter's home in Athens, Ga., her family announced. She was 114. Denmark was the world's fourth-oldest person when she died, according to the Gerontology Research Group, which verifies claims of extreme old age. The third of 12 children, she was born Feb. 1, 1898, in eastern Georgia and grew up on a farm learning to tend to plants and wanting to heal animals, she later said.
March 18, 2012 |
Tinderbox: How the West Sparked the AIDS Epidemic and the How the World Can Finally Overcome It By Craig Timberg and Daniel Halperin Penguin Press, 421 pp., $29.95 Few diseases have been the subject of more books than the HIV/AIDS pandemic, with such notable works as Randy Shilts' 1987 volume "And the Band Played On: People, Politics and the AIDS Epidemic" and Laurie Garrett's 1995 "The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Disease in a World Out...
December 26, 2011
Shari Roan's profile of Louisiana State University fitness and nutrition expert Melinda Sothern was excellent ["The Birth of Obesity," Dec. 19]. Sothern postulates that the obesity epidemic may have roots in the 1950s because "a generation of young women … smoked, spurned breast-feeding, and restricted their weight during numerous, closely spaced pregnancies. " We know that there is great work being done around the nation to combat this "obesity trinity. " Sothern believes we can reverse the epidemic and so do I. As a breast-feeding advocate, I support the surgeon general's call to reduce the barriers to breast-feeding.
December 19, 2011 |
After long days discussing America's obesity problem, Melinda Sothern has had enough of windowless conference rooms. "I need to exercise," she says, pausing to review her plans in the San Diego Convention Center lobby. She plans to rent a bicycle in Coronado and ride, fast and far. Sothern, 55, is a woman who practices what she preaches. And one of her messages about obesity is aimed at women like herself: mothers. Fat mothers. Thin mothers. And especially mothers-to-be.
October 14, 2011 |
For this sequel to 2007's far-roaming critique of the beauty industry, "America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments" filmmaker Darryl Roberts narrowed his focus — a bit. The result is a mixed bag of a film that scores not when rehashing our national obsession with dieting but when it challenges the underpinnings of a national obesity epidemic. Loosely structured around Roberts' quest to get healthier through diet and exercise instead of prescription drugs, the film raises serious questions about undue influence — Big Pharma and medical professionals, the dieting industry and government health standards.
September 23, 2011 |
The film "Contagion" may have been fiction, but the 1918-19 influenza epidemic was horrifyingly real. The "Spanish flu" epidemic tore a path of destruction across the globe, killing an estimated 50-100 million people within months before disappearing into history. Now, evidence from U.S. soldiers felled by the virus reveals that it circulated in the country for four months before the pandemic was even identified. The findings, published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offer a picture of a virus as it turned from common pathogen to killer bug, said senior author Jeffery Taubenberger, a pathologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md. "This was one of the worst infectious disease outbreaks that ever occurred," Taubenberger said.
September 16, 2011 |
"We Were Here" shows that a situation you think you know can be something you haven't known at all. That is the surprise, and the power, of this unexpected film. An extraordinarily moving examination of how the AIDS epidemic both devastated and transformed San Francisco's gay community, this clear-eyed and soulful documentary brings us inside the contagion in a way that is so intimate, so personal, you feel like you're hearing about these catastrophic events for the first time. It's not surprising that "We Were Here" comes from producer-director David Weissman and editor/co-director Bill Weber, the team responsible for 2002's "The Cockettes," one of the few documentaries about San Francisco in the deliriously countercultural 1960s that allows you to experience what it felt like to be there.