public health

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South Africa’s Quadruple Burden of Disease

Three years ago, I found myself on a bus in South Africa, with fifteen of my college classmates. We were on our way to Kruger National Park, after a week of volunteering and researching in Cape Town. As I stared out the window, appreciating rural South Africa’s beauty, a large billboard, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, caught my attention. “Relay for Life: A Fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.” This poster piqued my curiosity. I had always associated South Africa with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. In fact, I had documented a handful of posters in Cape Town that aimed to combat HIV/AIDS by reducing stigma and encouraging testing...

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Stanford’s John Ioannidis On “Underperforming Big Ideas”

Press Release | Stanford Medicine | July 28, 2016

In a thought-provoking JAMA commentary out today, Stanford’s John Ioannidis, MD, DSc, and two colleagues call for biomedical researchers — and funding institutions — to “sunset underperforming initiatives.” Nothing controversial there, until you go on to read that some of those initiatives are in the popular fields of gene therapy, stem cell therapy or precision medicine. And, they write, perhaps some less-successful projects have been pursued simply because they fall within a top research field.

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Study Links Pesticide Exposure In Pregnancy To Autism

Kathryn Doyle | Reuters | June 23, 2014

In a new study from California, children with an autism spectrum disorder were more likely to have mothers who lived close to fields treated with certain pesticides during pregnancy...

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Substance Abuse In The Military Is A ‘Public Health Crisis,’ Study Finds

Bob Brewin | Nextgov | September 17, 2012

Drug and alcohol abuse by military personnel and their families constitutes a “public health crisis” that requires the intervention of senior leaders to develop consistent and cohesive prevention, screening, and treatment services, the Institute of Medicine charged in a report released today. Read More »

Success Of GNU Health Goes Beyond Free Software

Jen Wike | opensource.com | March 12, 2013

In 2006, Luis Falcón founded GNU Health, a free health information system that recently recieved the "Best Project of Social Benefit" award given by the Free Software Foundation. Read More »

Superbugs Spread Across U.S.

Brian Hughes | Washington Examiner | October 6, 2014

As Americans worry about Ebola, the swiftly spreading virus that has traveled from West Africa to Texas, a more silent killer poses a greater danger...Drug-resistant bacteria killed 23,000 people in America last year and caused 2 million illnesses...

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Tax 'Toxic' Sugar, Doctors Urge

Staff Writer | CBC News | February 1, 2014

Sugar is so toxic that it should be taxed and slapped with regulations like alcohol, some U.S. researchers argue. Read More »

Tech’s Role In Fighting The Ebola Outbreak

Nicole Blake Johnson | FedTech Magazine | October 6, 2014

...The U.S. government is eyeing body sensors, ruggedized tablet computers, broadband communications and big data capabilities to aid its Ebola response. A high priority on the list is using innovative technologies to improve the protective gear worn by healthcare workers on the frontlines...

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The Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC)

Press Release | Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC) | May 22, 2014

Act now, or face catastrophic post-antibiotic era Read More »

The Appeal of Graph Databases for Health Care

A lot of valuable data can be represented as graphs. Genealogical charts are a familiar example: they represent people as boxes, connected by lines that represent parent/child or marriage relationships. In mathematics and computer science, graphs have become a discipline all their own. Now their value for health care is emerging. Graph computing made a significant advance this past February in the form of a Graph Data Science (GDS) library for the free and open source Neo4j graph database. Graph databases are proving their value in clinical research and public health; I wonder whether they can also boost analytics for providers. This article explains what's special about graph databases, and some applications in health care highlighted by recent webinars offered by the Neo4j company.

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The Best Open Data Releases Of 2012

Emily Badger | The Atlantic Cities | December 19, 2012

Last year, Cities named ten of its favorite metro datasets of 2011 from cities across North America, illustrating the breadth of what we might learn (regarding mosquito traps! misplaced vehicles! energy consumption!) in the still relatively young field of urban open data. For this year's installment, we're going one step further... Read More »

The Case Against Sugar

Gary Taubes | Aeon | December 22, 2016

‘Virtually zero.’ That’s a reasonable estimate of the probability that public health authorities in the foreseeable future will successfully curb the worldwide epidemics of obesity and diabetes, at least according to Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) – a person who should know. Virtually zero is the likelihood, Chan said at the National Academy of Medicine’s annual meeting in October, that she and her many colleagues worldwide will successfully prevent ‘a bad situation’ from ‘getting much worse’...

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The Extraordinary Science Of Addictive Junk Food

Michael Moss | New York Times | February 20, 2013

On the evening of April 8, 1999, a long line of Town Cars and taxis pulled up to the Minneapolis headquarters of Pillsbury and discharged 11 men who controlled America’s largest food companies. [...] Rivals any other day, the C.E.O.’s and company presidents had come together for a rare, private meeting. On the agenda was one item: the emerging obesity epidemic and how to deal with it... Read More »

The FDA Ban On Trans Fat Should Be Just The Beginning

Deborah Cohen | The Health Care Blog | November 26, 2013

It’s been clear for more than a decade that trans fat is a dangerous substance that increases the risk of heart disease.  Denmark banned its use in 2003.  Several American cities and states have followed suit, but the use of trans fat is still widespread despite the availability of suitable substitutes. Read More »

The FDA Takes On Mobile Health Apps

Eliza Strickland | Spectrum | September 12, 2012

The mobile health industry has a problem: It has grown too quickly. Consumers can now download medical apps for at-home monitoring of just about any obscure ailment, and apps for general wellness, diet, and fitness are proliferating... Read More »