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Thinking about disease

Ebola and the Construction of Fear by Karen Sternheimer (Everyday Sociology)
"Sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things, explains how misguided panics are not just benign opportunities to prevent something horrible, but can divert attention and public funds away from more likely threats. He notes:
Panic-driven public spending generates over the long term a pathology akin to one found in drug addicts. The money and attention we fritter away on our compulsions, the less we have available for our real needs, which consequently grow larger (p. xvii).
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 29, 2014 - 74 comments

The itch nobody can scratch

“It’s just like something from science fiction. It’s something that you’d see in a movie or in a book on aliens from another planet. It’s out of this world.” [closeup images of human skin that may be disturbing] Morgellon's disease [no images] is the topic of this week's Stuff You Should Know podcast. [no transcript] A CDC study could not identify a cause, and the medical community's consensus is that it is a form of delusional parasitosis, but conspiracy theories abound [images]. (previously)
posted by desjardins on Aug 3, 2014 - 58 comments

Nature's Perfect Killing Machine Can Be Killed With Soap

Ebola is nightmare fuel: a biological doomsday device conspiring with our bodies to murder us in uniquely gruesome fashion. It’s also killed fewer than 2,000 people. How has a virus with such a modest body count so fiercely captured the darkest corners of our imagination? - Leigh Cowart for Haziltt.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 8, 2014 - 56 comments

17 Lies We Need to Stop Teaching Girls About Sex

Whether it's the constant fretting over Miley Cyrus' influence on school girls or the growing (and troubling) tradition of Purity Balls, it's clear that society has a fascination with young women's sexuality — especially when it comes to controlling it. But what are we actually teaching today's girls about sex? Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't die. That sex education in America has gaping holes in its curriculum hasn't helped much, either; in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report just 6 out of 10 girls said that their schools' sex ed program included information on how to say no to sex. This lack of personal agency was reflected in a forthcoming study by sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University as well, which found that many young girls think of sex simply as something that is "done to them." Knowledge is power, and we can promote a healthier relationship with sex by encouraging a more open dialogue, teaching girls to feel comfortable with their sexuality and, most importantly, emphasizing that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone.
But first, we're going to need to stop perpetuating the following 17 myths about female sexuality.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 28, 2014 - 120 comments

"It took more time than it should have for them to be put in isolation"

In the past weeks, there have been 20 confirmed cases of the measles in New York. After being virtually "eradicated" in the United States in 2000, 2013 saw 189 cases reported. The most recent outbreak seems to have spread due to "failure of medical workers to recognize the disease quickly enough and to quarantine patients so they would not infect others." And via Slate: "I’m a Pediatrician. Should I Treat All Kids, or Just the Vaccinated Ones?"
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Mar 20, 2014 - 232 comments

This Is the Average Man's Body

This Is the Average Man's Body
posted by anazgnos on Oct 14, 2013 - 138 comments

The Suicide Epidemic

Self-harm now takes more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. Why are we killing ourselves, and how can we stop it?
Over the last five decades, millions of lives have been remade for the better. Yet within this brighter tomorrow, we suffer unprecedented despair. In a time defined by ever more social progress and astounding innovations, we have never been more burdened by sadness or more consumed by self-harm. And this may be only the beginning. If Joiner and others are right—and a landmark collection of studies suggests they are—we’ve reached the end of one order of human history and are at the beginning of a new order entirely, one beset by a whole lot of self-inflicted bloodshed, and a whole lot more to come.

posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 3, 2013 - 129 comments

H7N9: The next pandemic?

Is this a pandemic being born? [Google cache] The H7N9 (Bird) Flu Virus May Have Adapted To Mammals. The WHO is investigating. Four new human cases were identified late Tuesday.
posted by spock on Apr 2, 2013 - 139 comments

Pertussis Epidemic — Washington, 2012

Since mid-2011, a substantial rise in pertussis [Whooping Cough] cases has been reported in the state of Washington. In response to this increase, the Washington State Secretary of Health declared a pertussis epidemic on April 3, 2012. By June 16, the reported number of cases in Washington in 2012 had reached 2,520 (37.5 cases per 100,000 residents), a 1,300% increase compared with the same period in 2011 and the highest number of cases reported in any year since 1942 [Make sure you don't miss Figure 1]. Commentators are already drawing corellations with the fact that Washington State leads the nation in vaccine non-compliance, Washington State's recent cutbacks in public health funding, and increases in the number of uninsured (PDF). [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 27, 2012 - 111 comments

The Viable Zombie

“[...] it took more than a dozen calls to work out the details of her zombie contagion. “After about the 17th time,” says McGuire, “I called and said, ‘If I did this, this, this, this, this, this and this, could I raise the dead?’ And got, ‘Don’t … don’t do that.’ And at that point, I knew I had a viable virus.”
posted by batmonkey on Jun 27, 2012 - 70 comments

Autism Prevalence on the Rise

Since 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has based its estimates of how many children in the United States have autism on surveillance reports from its Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. Every two years, researchers count how many 8-year-olds have an autism spectrum disorder in about a dozen communities across the nation. According to a new report released by the CDC yesterday, (pdf), the latest data estimate that 1 in 88 American children has some form of autism spectrum disorder. (1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls.) That's a 78% increase compared to a decade ago. The report, which analyzed data from 2008, indicates a 23 percent rise in diagnoses of ASDs over a two-year period. (Last link has autoplaying video)
posted by zarq on Mar 30, 2012 - 42 comments

How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public's Expense

How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public's Expense: Report looks at methods of corporate abuse, suggests steps toward reform [Full Report (PDF)] [Executive Summary (PDF)] [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Mar 11, 2012 - 27 comments

But there's no sex-fueled crime spree

Confessions of a Binge Drinker : "If, as the CDC suggests in a new report, binge drinking leads to violence, spread of sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy, and risky behavior, then why am I doing just fine?" [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Jan 20, 2012 - 100 comments

Not Even A Nibble

Don't castrate lambs with your teeth.
posted by Ideefixe on Dec 8, 2011 - 53 comments

U.S. Measles Cases Hit 15-Year High

So far this year there have been 118 cases of measles reported in the United States. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on May 25, 2011 - 173 comments

CDC's Advice on Living With the Living Dead

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Matters Blog issues advice on Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse. Preppers, unite! (Single-link zombie preparedness awareness campaign. That is all.)
posted by MonkeyToes on May 18, 2011 - 35 comments

The last two stores of smallpox under review

Health ministers from the World Health Organization's (WHO's) 193 member states will meet this week to debate when to destroy the two last known remaining stocks of the virus that causes smallpox. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on May 15, 2011 - 34 comments

More Americans are Surviving Cancer

According to new data released by the CDC yesterday, more Americans are surviving cancer thanks to advances in increased early detection and treatment. CDC analysis shows an unprecedented 20% increase in survival rates between 2001 and 2007, which is nearly a quadruple increase since 1971. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 11, 2011 - 27 comments

The Far-Reaching Consequences of Bad Science

Mumps has stricken New York, in the U.S.'s largest outbreak of the disease since 2006. [more inside]
posted by SpringAquifer on Dec 20, 2009 - 46 comments

A Whole New Meaning to 'Forefathers.'

The Circumcision v. HIV debate rages on. [previously and previously-er and previously-er still] The debate has been rekindled due to new findings. It is expected to be one of the main topics during the CDC's National HIV Prevention Conference this week, as the CDC is considering endorsing routine circumcision. The American Academy of Pediatrics is also considering revising their circumcision policy, thus making it covered under Medicaid. Naturally, there is a lot of criticism of the evidence. In related news, it appears that there is a modicum of the so-called 'Birthers' who believe Obama's citizenship can be proven by his penis.
posted by Lutoslawski on Aug 25, 2009 - 378 comments

Fat, Depressed & 35 y.o.

"The average video gamer is not the stereotypical adolescent locked to a computer screen 24/7."* According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emory University and Andrews University: "A new study [PDF] says the average age of video-game players in the United States is 35 [PDF], and oh, by the way: They're overweight and tend to be depressed." [more inside]
posted by ericb on Aug 18, 2009 - 63 comments

Julie Gerberding Set to Resign as CDC Director

Julie Louise Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., first female director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is resigning her post effective January 20th. While subject to criticism for her management of the agency and failure to mollify the autism community over issues of vaccine safety, she was a straight (if silenced) shooter on global warming and her efforts to restructure the CDC as a prevention-oriented agency are to be commended.
posted by The White Hat on Jan 10, 2009 - 27 comments

But will it work on the subset of searches sent via avian carriers?

Google Flu Trends brings us epidemiology through search analytics. The prevalence of certain search terms seems to be a good predictor of CDC flu reports a couple of weeks later. The New York Times has a story on this project.
posted by grouse on Nov 11, 2008 - 21 comments

Finally: government surveillance that we can be thankful for!

Curious about what creepy crawlies your kids might be bringing home? Follow the real-time trends for all of the best respiratory and enteric (GI) viruses! [more inside]
posted by scblackman on Dec 17, 2007 - 11 comments

How many abortions o'clock is it?

World Clock SWF application showing the time of day expressed in actual time, the number of species passed into extinction, barrels of oil produced, the temperature of the earth, prison population, world population, and deaths by various causes. Because, y'know, you weren't depressed enough already. Site also offers a number of free games, calculators and applications for your own site.
posted by psmealey on Jun 30, 2007 - 36 comments

"We need to rely on people to do the right thing" when they have TB and fear for their lives

An Atlanta man caused the U.S. government to issue its first quarantine order since 1963 this weekend, knowingly exposing as many as 107 passengers on two transatlantic flights to a rare, "extensively drug-resistant" form of tuberculosis. "It's regretful that we weren't able to stop that," the CDC's Dr. Martin Cetron said of how the man fled when U.S. health officials tracked him down in Rome and told him not to get on an airplane.
posted by rkent on May 30, 2007 - 109 comments

Rabies... for kids!

Hey kids! Ever wanted a page about rabies just for you? Well now you have it!
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Sep 20, 2006 - 31 comments

A Handmaid's Tale?

Forever Pregnant. The CDC has released guidelines for improving the "preconception health" of all women of childbearing age whether they plan to have children or not. From the the WaPo article: "among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control." So ladies, don't even think of touching the litter box. You know, just in case.
posted by kimdog on May 19, 2006 - 121 comments

H5N1, shmaitch5N1

Dengue in Texas. If it ain't the flu, it's the haemorrhagic fever. Disease info from WHO, CDC, Wikipedia.
posted by Eothele on Oct 28, 2005 - 10 comments

1 Million HIV Cases

For the first time since the 1980s, the CDC estimates that there are more than 1 million people living with HIV in the United States. [MSNBC link, but the article is actually good.] This is good news and bad, it means more people are living with the disease with the help of Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART), of which there are just over 20 drugs in 4 different classes. The CDC has recently launched a new prevention initiative targeted at people with the disease, rather than at convincing HIV- people to avoid contracting it. Central to the new effort are increased HIV surveillance methods, which basically boil down to increased testing (in the case of pregnant mothers, testing they would have to opt out of) and reporting of HIV positive testees. This despite the fact that there is plenty of evidence that HIV discrimination is alive and well.
The other discouraging news is that despite the success of HAART for controlling HIV, the adverse effects are significant, including much higher rates of heart attack and cardiac disease, increased incidence of diabetes and insulin resistance, lipodystrophy and very noticeable changes to how people look, lactic acidosis, as well as the more standard (and less toxic) problems of nausea and diarrhea. Up to 50% of people on HAART will experience these problems.
posted by OmieWise on Jun 13, 2005 - 80 comments

Super Size Me!

New federal study released today finds that overweight folks —not the obese, though—have a lower risk of death than those who are average weight. Some welcome these findings as the death knell for “fat hysteria.” The study also concluded that deaths related to obesity are actually a third of what has been reported by the CDC. Seems rather counterintuitive, no?
posted by Sully6 on Apr 20, 2005 - 42 comments

Manure pit.

While attempting to climb out of the pit, the initial victim was overcome and fell to the bottom. The grandson then entered the pit to attempt a rescue. He too was overcome and collapsed. What produces Methance, Hydrogen Sulfide, Carbon Dioxide, and Ammonia at the same time, naturally? Your friendly center for disease control will be happy to explain.
posted by Keyser Soze on Jul 9, 2004 - 29 comments

Collect 'em, trade 'em, quarantine 'em!

Disease Trading Cards! Here's set two! There's diseases for everyone at the CDC 'kids' page!
[warning; squeam factor, PDF]

Caveat: Several search attempts to verify it's not got the Double Post Syndrome. Does not include bubble gum.
posted by moonbird on Jul 7, 2004 - 3 comments

Big government in boardrooms, bad; in bedrooms, good

The CDC recently issued new HIV prevention guidelines that would mandate all organizations that get any federal funding to submit all surveys, curricula, web materials, posters, ads, brochures, etc. to new community-based Policy Review Panels. Politically appointed censors rather than health officials will now decide what's acceptable in terms of HIV prevention and education. Materials must promote abstinence and include a message about the ineffectiveness of condom use in preventing the spread of HIV and STDs. There is a period of public comment on the new regulations until August 16. - more inside -
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 1, 2004 - 39 comments

The Pledge of Diseases?

Bad news for American Taliban abstinence supporters... A survey commissioned by the CDC (I'm surprised the admin didn't bury this one) shows that "The Virginity Pledge" has an 88 percent failure rate. On average, pledgers do delay sex longer and have 'less' partners, and have 'statistically-insignificent' lower STD rate. Choose among Reuters story, New York Times story, Miami Herald, AP via MSNBC (can't find it at FoxNews or the New York Post yet). Let the spin begin: sex education advocates say: "See?", radio talk show host cries BS.
posted by wendell on Mar 10, 2004 - 42 comments

CLAP on! CLAP off!

Half of young Americans to get STDs - so say several collected studies by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and others. Can the Bush administration's plan to double abstinence-only spending solve this problem? Or can the argument be made that keeping condoms out of the classrooms causes more STDs than prevents?
posted by wfrgms on Feb 24, 2004 - 45 comments

FLUS, SARS, WMDS

Fat Lazy Unsafe Smokers=FLUS CDC Official says obesity is closing in on tobacco as leading cause of death in U.S. "We just recalculated the actual causes of death in the U.S. and we did see that obesity moved up very close to tobacco, and is almost the number one health threat," Julie Gerberding said. Her work in an emergency unit revealed many tobacco-related cases along with some involving failure to wear seat belts and helmets. There were no cases linked to bioterrorism. Hmmm, you mean I should just keep brushing my teeth, eat right, exercise, buckle up, etc. How boring.
posted by newlydead on Jun 5, 2003 - 21 comments

Medical Alert

CDC posts medical alert for atypical pneumonia. There is travel alert for those traveling from Asian countries around and in China. It seems that this type of pnenumonia has been found in North America. Symptoms include fever and hard-of-breathing. More articles about the disease here.
posted by azileretsis on Mar 15, 2003 - 29 comments

USG PR

US Government Support for the Fight Against HIV/AIDS is an overview from the State Department of funding and programs directed towards international AIDS prevention and treatment. World AIDS Day was proclaimed by the President. The special CDC site focuses on the stigma and discrimination of AIDS that creates impediments to fighting the disease. The National Institutes of Health launch AIDSInfo on December 2, combining prior resources. USAID notes its own programs and accomplishments. The US Surgeon General notes the impact on persons of color. Housing and Urban Development looks at housing opportunities. And the Department of Veterans Affairs provides more AIDS care than any other single agency. The NIH Drug Abuse office has its own information site, including notes on the perhaps ineptly, perhaps tellingly PSA spot series titled "Jack and Jill".
posted by dhartung on Dec 1, 2002 - 1 comment

The Politics of Flu Vaccination.

The Politics of Flu Vaccination. When the next deadly Flu pandemic sweeps the world, will you be able to get a vaccination? Are you an infant, elderly, or a nuclear power plant worker? Due to economics, the yearly flu vaccinations are unreliable.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy on Sep 4, 2002 - 17 comments

The Real Biothreat

The Real Biothreat Currently the United States is experiencing shortages of eight of the eleven vaccines required by law for children. In response, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have revised their immunization schedule from "optimal" to "some protection," which means that, depending on the vaccine, kids may get the first shot and not the boosters that solidify immunity, or they may not get the first shot at all until several months past the recommended age...
posted by Irontom on Jun 7, 2002 - 10 comments

Condoms don't really work?

Condoms don't really work? According to this study conducted by a panel of 10, 000 physicians, while condoms are 85 percent effective in helping prevent the spread of HIV, they offer less protection against sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and genital herpes. The worst part? They claim the CDC has known this for years.
posted by summer1971 on Jul 25, 2001 - 45 comments

Well, that's it.

Well, that's it. We're done for. Ebola hits North America...maybe.
posted by ritualdevice on Feb 6, 2001 - 29 comments

Déja vu

Déja vu
"A mysterious epidemic, hitherto unknown, which had struck terror into all hearts by the rapidity of its spread, the ravages it made, and the apparent helplessness of the physicians to cure it." — on syphillis, in the 16th centruy.

Highlights from the CBC's 1996 Ideas shows on AIDS in historical perspective, available in real audio for downloading or streaming. I remember stopping the car and listening to the whole thing four years ago: "The programs underline how a whole series of biological, psychological and social factors shape the public's perception of disease, and society's response to it. The strengths and limits of past approaches to detecting sexually transmitted diseases are explored, in order to shed light on approaches that could be used to control AIDS today."
posted by sylloge on Dec 1, 2000 - 0 comments


Four out of 10 people mistakenly believe

Four out of 10 people mistakenly believe it is possible to get HIV by sharing a drinking glass or being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person. The survey, released Thursday, was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It's scary that so many people are still so ignorant of what causes HIV-AIDS," said Marty Algaze, a spokesman for the Gay Men's Health Crisis. "Almost 20 years into this epidemic, it's disturbing that people think you could still get it from casual contact."
posted by jhiggy on Dec 1, 2000 - 3 comments

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