• Heat waveDangerous Heat Wave Is Building in the Central and Eastern U.S.

    The National Weather Service said Thursday that an upper-level ridge is building over the southeastern U.S., setting the stage for what will be a miserably hot and humid weekend for millions of Americans. Heat advisories and warnings affect 154 million Americans. In many major population centers, the heat index  is forecast to peak around 110 degrees between Friday and Sunday.

  • PerspectiveThese Hackers Made an App That Kills to Prove a Point

    Two years ago, researchers Billy Rios and Jonathan Butts discovered disturbing vulnerabilities in Medtronic’s popular MiniMed and MiniMed Paradigm insulin pump lines. An attacker could remotely target these pumps to withhold insulin from patients, or to trigger a potentially lethal overdose. And yet months of negotiations with Medtronic and regulators to implement a fix proved fruitless. So the researchers resorted to drastic measures. They built an Android app that could use the flaws to kill people.

  • Public healthWHO Declares Ebola Outbreak in Congo an Emergency of “International Concern”

    The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a “public health emergency of international concern.” “It is a measure that recognizes the possible increased national and regional risks and the need for intensified and coordinated action to manage them,” said the WHO in a statement.

  • Public healthGerman law would require measles vaccination to attend schools, kindergartens, daycare

    German children will have to prove they have had a measles vaccination before they would be allowed to attend kindergarten or go to school. A new draft law imposes steep fines on parents who refuse to immunize their children.

  • Radiation risksBill Expands Compensation for Victims of Radiation Exposure

    Tens of thousands of individuals, including miners, transporters, and other employees who worked directly in uranium mines, along with communities located near test sites for nuclear weapons, were exposed during the mid-1900s to dangerous radiation that has left communities struggling from cancer, birth defects, and other illnesses.

  • AnthraxFighting anthrax by removing the bacterium’s armor

    Anthrax is a deadly and highly resilient disease, caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Historically, it was a major cause of death in humans and cattle. has shown that removing the armor of the bacterium that causes anthrax slows its growth and negatively affects its ability to cause disease.

  • PerspectiveRadiation in Parts of the Marshall Islands Is Far Higher than Chernobyl, Study Says

    Think of the most radioactive landscapes on the planet and the names Chernobyl and Fukushima may come to mind. Yet research published Monday suggests that parts of the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific, where the United States conducted 67 nuclear tests during the Cold War, should be added to the list.

  • Climate crisisSouthwest to Endure 50 Days or More a Year When Temperature “Feels Like” Exceeding 105 Degrees

    Increases in potentially lethal heat driven by climate change will affect every state in the contiguous U.S. in the decades ahead. Few places would be unaffected by extreme heat conditions by midcentury and only a few mountainous regions would remain extreme heat refuges by the century’s end. The dangerously soaring heat across the U.S. is posing unprecedented health risks.

  • Perspective: Preventable DiseaseWhat the Measles Epidemic Really Says about America

    The critic Susan Sontag observed that disease can serve as a metaphor—a reflection of the society through which it travels. Now, a virus is offering insights into the country’s psychic and civic condition. Two decades ago, measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. Yet in the first five months of this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 1,000 cases—more than occurred from 2000 to 2010. Three cultural conditions have contributed to the resurgence of measles in the United States. One is historical forgetting: contemporary America suffers from a dangerous lack of historical memory. The second is diminished trust in government. As distrust of government has grown, so too has distrust of vaccines. The third is a population that suffers from overconfidence in its own amateur knowledge. This third condition is especially dangerous: It’s one thing to Google a food to see whether it’s healthy. It’s quite another to dismiss decades of studies on the benefits of vaccines because you’ve watched a couple of YouTube videos.

  • DronesMedical Drones for Accident and Emergency

    Drones could revolutionize the way in which emergency medical supplies, such as bags of blood plasma, are delivered to areas hit by disaster, accidents or other life-threatening situations. Research have undertaken a cost analysis of using drones for this purpose.

  • Preventable diseasesCuring vaccine hesitation by meeting someone with vaccine-preventable disease

    Since 1 January, a staggering 1,109 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in twenty-four states — the greatest number of cases since 1994. Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. The outbreaks have been attributed to an increasing number of Americans who choose not to vaccinate themselves or their children. Exposing vaccine hesitant to real-life pain of diseases makes them more pro-vaccine.

  • Preventable diseasesU.S. measles cases reach 1,109 as studies point to early vaccination

    On Monday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded 14 more measles cases, raising the year’s total number of cases to 1,109, as two studies conducted in other nations highlight some advantages of early vaccination of babies.

  • Preventable diseasesCalifornia Laws Lead to Higher Kindergarten Vaccine Rates

    From 2014 to 2016, California authorities took three separate actions meant to increase childhood vaccination rates, and a new study suggests these interventions were successful. “The best way to remedy the current system failure regarding measles vaccination may be to adopt a unified national approach to prohibit nonmedical exemptions, and thereby regain the degree of nationwide protection against vaccine-preventable disease from which children and other community members will benefit,” says one expert.

  • Truth decayGlobal Public Health Scientists Launch New Challenge to Anti-Vaxxers

    Vaccines have prevented hundreds of millions of infectious diseases, including polio, measles, hepatitis B and meningitis, saving up to 3 million lives yearly. These facts have not prevented ill-informed anti-vaxxers from conducting a conspiracy-fueled campaign of misinformation and about the safety of vaccines. An international group of leading public health scientists say that search engines and social media organizations must do more to prevent the spread of inaccurate information on childhood vaccination, and governments must better support mandatory immunization programs.

  • PerspectiveRe-thinking Biological Arms Control for the 21st Century

    International treaties prohibit the development and use of biological weapons. Yet concerns about these weapons have endured and are now escalating. Filippa Lentzos writes in a paper issued by the U.S. Marine Corps that a major source of the growing concern about future bioweapons threats stem from scientific and technical advances. Innovations in biotechnology are expanding the toolbox to modify genes and organisms at a staggering pace, making it easier to produce increasingly dangerous pathogens. Disease-causing organisms can now be modified to increase their virulence, expand their host range, increase their transmissibility, or enhance their resistance to therapeutic interventions. Scientific advances are also making it theoretically possible to create entirely novel biological weapons, by synthetically creating known or extinct pathogens or entirely new pathogens. Scientists could potentially enlarge the target of bioweapons from the immune system to the nervous system, genome, or microbiome, or they could weaponize ‘gene drives’ that would rapidly and cheaply spread harmful genes through animal and plant populations.