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The truth is rarely pure and never simple

Zika is not the new Ebola But what is the truth about Zika and microcephaly?
Argentine and Brazilian doctors suspect mosquito insecticide as cause of microcephaly
Meanwhile Brazil’s health minister insisted on Friday that authorities were “absolutely sure” Zika was connected to microcephaly, though it has yet to be scientifically proven.
A review of four years’ worth of medical records finds far greater numbers of microcephaly cases from before the ongoing Zika virus epidemic than had been officially reported.
(Related)
posted by adamvasco on Feb 13, 2016 - 21 comments

How Ronald Reagan paved the way for Star Wars selling everything to kids

If asked to think of the lasting legacies of Ronald Reagan, you might conjure up the long shadow of US military intervention in Central America or the coordinated attack on organized labor and public-sector programs. Probably few of us would think about the spectacle of Shrek hawking Twinkies. But one lasting consequence of Reagan’s reign is felt by every parent in the country every day: As president, Reagan opened the floodgates to targeted junk food marketing to children and teens.
What Ronald Reagan has to do with Dora on your Popsicle package: the backstory behind Shrek hawking Twinkies (and everything else) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 12, 2016 - 18 comments

Carbonating the World

Carbonating the World. "Overweight, obesity, and diabetes have been spreading throughout the world hand in hand with the consumption of ultra-processed foods, especially sugar-sweetened beverages. My country, Mexico, has almost the highest per capita consumption of sugary drinks in the world, where 70 percent of added-sugar consumption comes from those products. You can stand in front of any audience and ask who has a relative with diabetes, and a landscape full of hands will rise before you, revealing a tragedy that has already caught up to us." [more inside]
posted by storybored on Feb 9, 2016 - 64 comments

Wolverine, bring me a cheese pizza

Melbourne researchers develop a paper clip-sized mind control device that sits inside your brain.
posted by adept256 on Feb 8, 2016 - 6 comments

Would it be wrong to eradicate the mosquito?

By spreading malaria, dengue fever, West Nile, yellow fever and now the Zika virus, they are the most dangerous animal in the world. What would happen if we got rid of them? It sounds like a promising idea, but what would take their place and would the rainforests survive?
posted by soelo on Jan 29, 2016 - 107 comments

Let's talk about daily life with depression

New Yorkers Alice Bradley and Deanna Zandt made a podcast about life and depression. It’s all going to be okay. Probably.
posted by jden on Jan 25, 2016 - 3 comments

10 things to know about progress in international development

10 things to know about progress in international development (.pdf) Around the world, amazing progress is being made. More than 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990, with major gains made in health and education and in other areas that contribute to human well-being.

Lots of problems remain of course. And you can still be very poor and not be below the $1.25 (in $2005) line. But a big deal.
posted by hawthorne on Jan 23, 2016 - 9 comments

The incredible tale of irresponsible choco milk research at U Maryland

Academic press offices are known to overhype their own research. But the University of Maryland recently took this to appalling new heights — trumpeting an incredibly shoddy study on chocolate milk and concussions that happened to benefit a corporate partner. It's a cautionary tale of just how badly science can go awry as universities increasingly partner with corporations to conduct research. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 21, 2016 - 19 comments

the largest Zika epidemic researchers have ever seen

"This is quite a large epidemic, so another question is how did this get so big so fast? And no one has the answer," said Hotez. "There's nothing really published, most of what we’re going on are World Health Organization alerts." First case of tropical zika virus linked to serious birth defect found in Texas (Jessica Glenza, The Guardian); What You Need To Know About the Zika Virus (Alexandra Ossola, Popular Science); CDC home page for resources and information; FAQ from Pan American Health Organization
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jan 14, 2016 - 24 comments

"No safe level of drinking": UK alcohol guidelines tightened

"No safe level of drinking": recommended drinking guidelines in the UK have been sharply tightened to no more than 14 units a week (equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine) for both men and women, and no alcohol at all for pregnant women. [more inside]
posted by Dip Flash on Jan 9, 2016 - 75 comments

Diagnosing women

A writer for Gray's Anatomy on confronting the doctor who missed her rare cancer. I didn't question him when he prescribed anti-depressants—rather than another MRI—after I confided I was sleep deprived from constant knifing back pain. I convinced myself that his inability to fix me was my failure, not his. I wasn't tough enough. I weighed too much, exercised too little. It was my fault I couldn't walk to the grocery store without a cane and a fistful of Vicodin. He called me "impatient" and "emotional." It never occurred to me that being "female" was perhaps the most dangerous label of all. [more inside]
posted by pie ninja on Jan 8, 2016 - 131 comments

The State of the HIV Epidemic

"This summer will mark 35 years since the first reports of AIDS. Additionally, two decades have now passed since combination antiretroviral treatment began to transform a health crisis into a more manageable public health concern. " [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 6, 2016 - 7 comments

Stop! Don't make those New Year's resolutions!

Time writer Jessica Lamb-Shapiro warns that New Year's resolutions are a bad idea. The statistics are bleak: only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions stick to them, and those who don’t usually abandon them after just one week. Unrealistic resolutions are fated to fail. And it is unrealistic to think that you can immediately overcome a habit you have spent years establishing. But is this necessarily harmful? There’s a good chance that it is. [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna on Dec 31, 2015 - 52 comments

The right kind of attention doesn't have to stop...

Angela Lansbury teaches you everything you need to know about fitness and sensuality, no matter who you are.
posted by howfar on Dec 22, 2015 - 27 comments

The Destruction of Workers' Compensation in the US

Over the past 25 years, the giant meatpacking company Tyson Foods has taken a lead in pushing for changes in workers’ comp in state after state—often to the detriment of workers. ... Tyson’s story also tells a broader one about American politics: How time after time, one determined company, facing a challenge to its profits, can bend government and the law to its will. Over the past year, ProPublica and NPR have examined how many states have been quietly dismantling their workers’ comp systems. [more inside]
posted by Bella Donna on Dec 22, 2015 - 54 comments

"Starving silences who you really are."

There Once Was a Girl. A work of criticism and of memoir on the false narratives surrounding anorexia in life and literature.
(Some may find the descriptions in this essay disturbing or triggering.)
posted by zarq on Dec 10, 2015 - 9 comments

These are my surprised wings.

The beverages are consumed regularly by thirty-one per cent of kids between the ages of twelve and seventeen, and by thirty-four per cent of those aged eighteen to twenty-four. U.S. sales for energy drinks and shots now total more than twelve and a half billion dollars—a number that the market-research firm Packaged Facts predicts will grow by another nine billion dollars by 2017. A new study [note: behind paywall] , published in the November issue of Health Psychology, suggests that appeals by energy-drink companies to the thrill-thirsty male id are coming at a psychological and physical cost, however. -- Rachel Giese, How Energy-Drink Companies Prey on Male Insecurities
posted by Room 641-A on Dec 3, 2015 - 42 comments

1 in 30 American Kids is Homeless. That's about 2.5 Million Children.

A College Guide for Homeless Students (by Resilience.org) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 26, 2015 - 6 comments

Genegineering

Humans 2.0 - "With CRISPR, scientists can change, delete, and replace genes in any animal, including us. Working mostly with mice, researchers have already deployed the tool to correct the genetic errors responsible for sickle-cell anemia, muscular dystrophy, and the fundamental defect associated with cystic fibrosis. One group has replaced a mutation that causes cataracts; another has destroyed receptors that H.I.V. uses to infiltrate our immune system." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 16, 2015 - 69 comments

The Next Frontier of Fertility

Uterus Transplants May Soon Help Some Infertile Women in the U.S. Become Pregnant (SLNYT)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Nov 12, 2015 - 51 comments

There's No Pill For That

You are not a crazy genius or an irredeemable asshole or a misfit who's damned for all time. You are just a person. We are all damned in our own little ways. We are all uniquely blessed and uniquely fucked. Welcome to the world. [more inside]
posted by Braeburn on Nov 4, 2015 - 46 comments

How one of the most obese countries on earth took on the soda giants

As debate rages about whether to introduce a sugar tax, this is the story of how Mexico defied its own powerful fizzy drinks industry to impose a tax on soda. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 4, 2015 - 12 comments

The role of sex and gender in autism

The Lost Girls: 'Misdiagnosed, misunderstood or missed altogether, many women with autism struggle to get the help they need.' Part of Spectrum's Sex/Gender in Autism special report. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 27, 2015 - 34 comments

"Ma'am, this is a jail."

"GetYourCare.org was created to show that women have real choices when it comes to health care," the site says. "All across America, thousands of low-cost health centers offer women and their families high-quality health care." A press release from the Alliance Defending Freedom claimed that the facilities listed on the map "typically offer the full range of women's health services without all the scandal of Planned Parenthood." But in an investigation into the facilities, RH Reality Check has found that these "real choices" include hundreds of elementary, middle, and high schools; clinics that provide care for homeless people; nursing homes; pediatrics centers; and even the D.C. jail. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Oct 26, 2015 - 48 comments

Macho Nachos

People prefer food in sexist packaging. Putting unhealthy food in macho masculine packaging, or healthy food in feminine-themed packaging, makes it taste nicer, and people are willing to pay more for it. According to a new paper(Direct paper link)
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory on Oct 22, 2015 - 80 comments

Balancing Safety with Sieverts

"In New York City, the police now maintain an unknown number of military-grade vans outfitted with X-ray radiation, enabling cops to look through the walls of buildings or the sides of trucks ... The NYPD will not reveal when, where, or how often they are used."
posted by tocts on Oct 21, 2015 - 46 comments

Breast Cancer awareness

The American Cancer Society released new guidelines today recommending that women start getting the tests later, at age 45, and only every other year. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Oct 20, 2015 - 17 comments

In Battlestar Galactica, fracking causes pregnancy.

Premature birth and problem pregnancies near fracking wells A new study in the US's 'fracking capital' Pennsylvania has found that pregnant women who live near gas fracking wells are far more likely to give birth prematurely or develop problems during their pregnancies. [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Oct 10, 2015 - 18 comments

"I am healthy, and I have a plan to stay that way.”

Dallas County district attorney Susan Hawk's life fell apart after she took office: divorce, depression and thoughts of suicide. After she fired some of her most experienced staff and amid allegations of erratic or unstable behavior, she vanished from public view in late July. Nine weeks later, she re-emerged to announce that she had undergone two months of treatment at a mental health facility for Major Depressive Disorder. She says she’s ready once again to serve. Is she up to the job? (Some links in this post discuss suicide / suicidal ideation. Some readers may find linked content disturbing.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 6, 2015 - 108 comments

Three Months Without Breathing

I had trouble saying more than a few words at a time, my voice croaking and words slurred or over-pronounced. I stuttered and gasped. I started leaving out words that weren’t essential, breaking my sentences down into telegrams, paid by the word or even the letter. Big words were a thing of the past. Or, as I would have said it then: Big. Words. Gone.
posted by orchidfox on Sep 30, 2015 - 11 comments

The "M" that must not be named.

"Why, if my neighbor sees me looking sad and asks me if I am okay, is it perfectly acceptable to tell her my aunt passed away, or I lost my job, or I had to put my dog down -- but if I tell her I experienced a miscarriage, I am somehow inappropriately oversharing?" (by Laura Benanti)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 30, 2015 - 40 comments

Fatigue and intermittent pain are still my companions

"We now know that endometriosis is an equal-opportunity disease. Girls can have it, grannies can have it. It is necessary for doctors not to pre-judge, but to look at and listen to their patients: to exercise those old-fashioned lo-tech skills, and refrain - please - from the routine humiliations meted out to women with gynaecological disease. The injured self you take away from your consultation is the self you take home. Suffering may not be avoidable, but stigma is under social control." —Hilary Mantel on endometriosis in The Guardian [more inside]
posted by Athanassiel on Sep 28, 2015 - 29 comments

Unfitbits

Does your lifestyle prevent you from qualifying for insurance discounts? Do you lack sufficient time for exercise or have limited access to sports facilities? Maybe you just want to keep your personal data private without having to pay higher insurance premiums for the privilege? Unfit Bits provides solutions. Check out their website for more
posted by rebent on Sep 27, 2015 - 40 comments

“Each person that has difficulty has different reasons,”

Can’t Swallow a Pill? There’s Help for That [New York Times]
Most children start swallowing pills around age 10, said Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician in Calabasas, Calif., and a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics. And 20 percent to 40 percent are unable to swallow a standard-size pill or capsule, according to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics. [...] Many never outgrow the problem.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 22, 2015 - 76 comments

The Joy of Popping

(Secretions, secretions everywhere, alert) As a zit popping video nears seven million views, the Guardian asks (popping video autoplay alert): "Millions are watching videos of cyst extractions, botfly removals and blackhead treatments. But what’s fuelling the explosive growth of the online community?" Also 12 pimple-popping videos, man pops tooth infection, a speciality website and reddit/r/popping. But, in medical advice, "think of a pimple as a little sack that holds oil, debris, and acne bacteria". On AskMeFi: "It tastes funny when I pop a zit." Previously (broken, but comments).
posted by Wordshore on Sep 15, 2015 - 69 comments

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch.”

Why the healthy school lunch program is in trouble. [The Washington Post]
Student E114 is a case in point. E114 -- the identification code she was assigned by researchers studying eating habits at her public elementary school somewhere in the Northeast -- left the lunch line one day carrying a tray full of what looked like a balanced meal: chicken nuggets, some sort of mushy starch, green beans and milk. Exactly 13 minutes later she was done. The chicken nuggets and the starch were gone. But the green beans? Still there in a neat pile and headed straight for the trash. Before/after photos of what students ate.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Sep 8, 2015 - 183 comments

Upgraded Medium Chain Snake Oil

The founder of Fitocracy explains how consumers fall for dubious fitness fads, with special emphasis on the work of Dave Asprey, "The Bulletproof CEO" (previously and previously).
posted by chrchr on Aug 27, 2015 - 82 comments

"Live the healthiest life that you can enjoy - [...] do your best."

Yoni Freedhoff is an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa and the founder of the Bariatric Medical Institute which is a multi-disciplinary, ethical, evidence-based nutrition and weight management centre. Dr. Freedhoff has been referred to as Canada's most outspoken obesity expert and the Canadian Medical Association Journal once dubbed him a Canadian "nutritional watchdog". In other words, he's a respected professional - and he's using that power for good. [more inside]
posted by VioletU on Aug 11, 2015 - 73 comments

"I’ll be 25. I can’t rent my first car as a virgin. They’ll know."

The Atlantic: On "Late"-in-Life Virginity Loss. Vice's predictably Vice-ier take. Meanwhile, Dr. Nerdlove and Gawker's After Hours have advice. [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Aug 6, 2015 - 15 comments

Game changer

New Ebola vaccine shows 100% success rate in clinical trial. Today the World Health Organization has announced that the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine had a 100% success rate in preventing onset of the disease if administered within 10 days of exposure (n=4,000). In response to the current outbreak in West Africa that has afflicted over 27,000 and killed over 11,000, this collaborative effort led by the WHO pushed the vaccine through a process that usually takes more than a decade in just 12 months. Official paper from The Lancet here (pdf).
posted by Ufez Jones on Jul 31, 2015 - 23 comments

Warren Buffet wants to give you an IUD

Warren Buffett’s Family Secretly Funded a Birth Control Revolution
Quietly, steadily, the Buffett family is funding the biggest shift in birth control in a generation. “For Warren, it’s economic. He thinks that unless women can control their fertility—and that it’s basically their right to control their fertility—that you are sort of wasting more than half of the brainpower in the United States,” DeSarno said about Buffett’s funding of reproductive health in the 2008 interview. “Well, not just the United States. Worldwide.”
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 31, 2015 - 79 comments

Coming from bad circumstances will kill you, even if you escape them.

Advantaged people with high levels of self-control and resilience age slower. Disadvantaged people with high levels of self-control and resilience age faster.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick on Jul 18, 2015 - 35 comments

"one of the strictest school vaccination laws in the country"

California Gov. Jerry Brown signs new vaccination law, one of nation's toughest "The bill, one of the most controversial measures before the Legislature this year, was introduced because of concern about low vaccination rates in some communities and an outbreak of measles at Disneyland that ultimately infected more than 150 people." (LA Times) [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jun 30, 2015 - 182 comments

Male and female mice process pain differently, study finds

New research into the pain processing of mice has found male and female mice process pain differently, and the discovery may also apply to other species, including humans. Scientists are now questioning what this means for the future of medical research, which until now, has had a strong bias towards experimenting on male mice. [more inside]
posted by sciatrix on Jun 30, 2015 - 21 comments

The first time I coughed up blood, I shook it off.

Medical Fat Shaming Could Have Killed Me Sex educator Rebecca Hiles (Frisky Fairy) details the years of being told to lose weight to deal with her persistent cough before doctors finally diagnosed her with lung cancer. Part I of her cancer story.
posted by emjaybee on Jun 27, 2015 - 184 comments

Bring the fat back

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) report, submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, makes a historic change: for the first time since 1980, the report no longer recommends the restriction of dietary cholesterol nor of total dietary fat. An article published today in JAMA calls on HHS and USDA to heed the DGAC report. The article goes on to praise the report's new emphasis: reducing consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates, and increasing consumption of whole foods (even those high in fats).
posted by overeducated_alligator on Jun 23, 2015 - 124 comments

Hipster New York Health Advice

Living Simply With A Flip Phone [more inside]
posted by aloiv2 on Jun 18, 2015 - 94 comments

Staggering

New U.S. government research indicates that female military veterans commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of other women and at rates nearly equal to that of male veterans -- a finding that surprised researchers because women are generally are far less likely than men to commit suicide. The findings raise questions about the backgrounds and experiences of women who serve in the United States' armed forces. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 10, 2015 - 39 comments

“It’s disheartening. They should have known better.”

Loaded with Lead. America has an estimated 10,000 gun ranges and 40 million annual recreational shooters. But when guns are fired with lead-based ammunition, they spread a toxin: lead vapor and dust. A year-long Seattle Times investigation shows that due to poor ventilation and contact with lead-coated surfaces, thousands of workers, shooters and their family members have been contaminated and been made sick at shooting ranges nationwide. Reckless range owners/operators, unenforced regulations as well as a lack of oversight and inspections are to blame. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 26, 2015 - 75 comments

Breakfast at Noon is still Breakfast

We talked to registered dietitians, personal trainers, health editors, book authors, nutritionists, and healthy food writers and asked them -- what do you eat for breakfast? (buzzfeed)
posted by The Whelk on May 11, 2015 - 164 comments

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