• Truth decayThe counties where the anti-vaccine movement thrives in the U.S.

    By Peter J Hotez

    As a pediatrician-scientist who develops new vaccines for neglected diseases, I followed the emergence of doubt over vaccine safety in the general public. Ultimately, in scientific circles, any debate ended when an overwhelming body of scientific evidence demonstrated there was no association between vaccines and autism. In Texas, however, the anti-vaccine movement is aggressive, well-organized and politically engaged. There are now at least 57,000 Texas schoolchildren being exempted from their vaccines for nonmedical reasons, about a 20-fold rise since 2003. I say “at least” because there is no data on the more than 300,000 homeschooled kids.

  • Truth decayVaccination myths must be debunked: Experts

    An analysis of anti-vaccine witness statements presented during the Texas Legislature’s 2017 session revealed recurring misconceptions that need to be challenged, according to an experts. The experts say that there are five recurring misconceptions about vaccines: that they are ineffective; herd immunity is a myth; vaccines “shed” and cause the spread of disease; the impacts of vaccine-preventable diseases are minor; and vaccine-exempt children are not spreading disease. “Each of these myths is inaccurate and unscientific,” the experts say.

  • GunsU.S. doctors slam NRA for telling them to “stay in their lane”

    The NRA told U.S. physicians to “stay in their lane” after a medical association recommended steps for reducing gun violence. Some U.S. doctors responded with graphic images of their attempts to treat gunshot victims.

  • Food securityMore people are getting bigger, requiring more food

    Food demand is growing as people get bigger. Feeding a population of 9 billion in 2050 will require much more food than previously calculated. The number of people on Earth could level off at around nine billion in a few years, compared to just over 7.6 billion now. But an average person in the future will require more food than today. Changes in eating habits, attitudes towards food waste, increases in height and body mass, and demographic transitions are some of the reasons.

  • Food securitySevere Caribbean droughts would magnify food insecurity

    Climate change is impacting the Caribbean, with millions facing increasing food insecurity and decreasing freshwater availability as droughts become more likely across the region, according to new research. Since 1950, the Caribbean region has seen a drying trend and scattered multiyear droughts. But the recent Pan-Caribbean drought in 2013-16 was unusually severe and placed 2 million people in danger of food insecurity.

  • EbolaCongo Ebola case count rises as Uganda health workers vaccinated

    In the latest weekly situation report on the ongoing Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the World Health Organization (WHO) said half of all recent deaths are taking place in the community—a worrisome sign. Community deaths, which occur outside of a hospital or Ebola treatment center, threaten to extend the transmission chain of a given case and further accelerate the mounting case count.

  • GunsLax state gun laws linked to more child, teen gun deaths

    States with strict gun laws have lower rates of gun deaths among children and teenagers, and laws to keep guns away from minors are linked with fewer gun suicides in this age group, a Stanford study found.

  • Mass shootingsPittsburgh trauma surgeon: “Stop the Bleed” training saved lives after shooting, but stopping the need must be next

    By Matthew D. Neal

    I am a trauma surgeon who cared for many of the critically wounded victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting. As we raced to find the source of blood loss in one of the most severely injured patients, one of my trauma surgeon partners, a U.S. Army veteran of multiple tours, joined me in the operating room to assist. His first comment upon seeing the injuries that we were managing struck me. He said he last saw such destruction from military weaponry when he was serving in Afghanistan.

  • Terrorism“Terrorism does not terrorize”: Study

    The impact of terrorism on post-traumatic stress may be less significant than we thought, argue the authors of a significant new study. A major review of over 400 research articles studying the association between acts of terrorism and mental health has reached the significant conclusion that “terrorism isn’t terrorizing” – at least not in a way that causes increases in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) greater than would be expected from any other distressing event.

  • SuicidesSuicide more prevalent than homicide in U.S. Most Americans don't know it.

    In the United States, suicide is twice as common as homicide — and more often involves firearms — but public perception is just the opposite. News reports, movies and TV shows may contribute to the perception of a high risk of firearm homicide, authors of a new study say, leaving a substantial gap between ideas and reality and potentially leading to further danger.

  • GunsAnnual emergency room, inpatient charges cost of gunshot wounds in children: $270 million

    A new Johns Hopkins study of more than 75,000 teenagers and children who suffered a firearm-related injury between 2006 and 2014 pinpoints the financial burden of gunshot wounds and highlights the increasing incidence of injury in certain age groups.

  • SuperbugsU.K. parliament urges making antimicrobial resistance a priority

    The British parliament is urging the government of Prime Minister Theresa May to make antimicrobial resistance (AMR) a “top five policy priority” in a new report. The report by members of the House of Commons’ Health and Social Care Committee warns that “modern medicine will be lost” if the government does not take more aggressive action to reduce inappropriate use of existing antibiotics and promote development of new antibiotics.

  • Terrorism & healthMothers’ exposure to terror attacks during pregnancy increases risk of schizophrenia in their children

    The children of mothers exposed to terror attacks during pregnancy are 2.5 times more likely to develop schizophrenia than mothers not to exposed to terror during pregnancy. This was the finding of a comprehensive new study. “It is possible that the psychosocial stress of terror attacks in the mothers occurred during a critical period of fetal brain development. Insults during such a critical period of neurodevelopment were so potent that years later the risk of schizophrenia increased.” explained Prof. Stephen Levine, one of the authors of the study.

  • BiowarfareInsects as potential weapons in biological warfare

    Owing to present-day armed conflicts, the general public is well aware of the terrifying effects of chemical weapons. Meanwhile, the effects of biological weapons have largely disappeared from public awareness. A project funded by a research agency of the U.S. Department of Defense is now giving rise to concerns about being possibly misused for the purpose of biological warfare.

  • SuperbugsRapidly identifying antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”

    When you get sick, you want the right treatment fast. But certain infectious microbes are experts at evading the very anti-bacterial drugs designed to fight them. A simple and inexpensive new test developed by UC Berkeley researchers can diagnose patients with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria in a matter of minutes. The technique could help doctors prescribe the right antibiotics for each infection, and could help limit the spread of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” which kill as many as 700,000 people worldwide each year.