• EPIDEMICSPreparing for the Next Pandemic: Improved Method for Tackling Bird Flu

    Concerning reports about avian flu outbreaks at poultry facilities across the country and abroad highlight the increasingly urgent need for a safe and effective vaccine that could thwart a possible spread of the virus from human to human. Researchers have developed an improved way to test potential vaccines against bird flu.

  • RESPONSE TO EPIDEMICSAfter COVID, Systems Need to Be Crisis-Ready for Better Public Health Response

    By Kristen Mally Dean

    The National Science Foundation funded Argonne and others to study the COVID-19 experiences of public health officials and stakeholders. By improving prediction and prevention, they hope to avoid reinventing a wheel no one wants rolling back into town.

  • FLESH-EATING ACTERIAFlesh-Eating Bacteria Infections Are on the Rise in the U.S. − a Microbiologist Explains How to Protect Yourself

    By Bill Sullivan

    Flesh-eating bacteria sounds like the premise of a bad horror movie, but it’s a growing – and potentially fatal – threat to people. In September 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory alerting doctors and public health officials of an increase in flesh-eating bacteria cases that can cause serious wound infections.

  • EXTREMISMHigh Rate of Mental Health Problems and Political Extremism Found in Those Who Bought Firearms During COVID Pandemic

    People who bought firearms during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic have much higher rates of suicidal thoughts, self-harm behaviors and intimate partner violence, a study suggests, compared with other firearm owners and people who don’t own firearms. Pandemic firearm buyers were also much more likely than the other groups to hold extreme beliefs, ranging from anti-vaccination views to support for QAnon conspiracy theories.

  • AIWalking the Artificial Intelligence and National Security Tightrope

    By Jack Goldsmith

    Artificial intelligence (AI) presents nations’ security as many challenges as it does opportunities. While it could create mass-produced malware, lethal autonomous weapons systems, or engineered pathogens, AI solutions could also prove the counter to these threats. Regulating AI to maximize national security capabilities and minimize the risks presented to them will require focus, caution and intent.

  • CYERSECURITYFuture-Proof Security Architecture for Healthcare Communications

    Electronic patient records, digital medication plans, e-prescriptions: These applications are all key elements of the telematics infrastructure (TI). Germany’s telematics infrastructure (TI) aims to allow healthcare professionals to exchange patient data securely, rapidly and from anywhere. The platform for healthcare applications will soon see a new, flexible and therefore future-proof security architecture.

  • EPIDEMICSActing Fast When an Epidemic Hits

    Researchers have developed a method for forecasting the short-term progression of an epidemic using extremely limited amounts of data. The forecasting model uses machine learning to predict short-term disease progression.

  • NUCLEAR POWERWatching Trends: Helping the NRC Model Risk and Reliability

    By Matthew L. Wald

    Nuclear power accounts for 0.03 deaths per terawatt-hour of electricity generated, when including both accidents and deaths due to air pollution. This fatality rate is a factor of 820 lower than electricity produced using coal. One reason U.S. nuclear power plants have such an impressive safety record is that utilities embrace a safety culture, one that uses probabilistic risk assessments, also known as PRAs.

  • WILDFIRESNorth America’s Summer of Wildfire Smoke: 2023 Was Only the Beginning

    By Charles O. Stanier and Gregory Carmichael

    Canada’s seemingly endless wildfires in 2023 introduced millions of people across North America to the health hazards of wildfire smoke. While Western states have contended with smoky fire seasons for years, the air quality alerts across the U.S. Midwest and Northeast this summer reached levels never seen there before. The pressing question on many people’s minds: “Is this the new normal?” From our perspective as air quality scientists, we think the answer is likely “yes.”

  • COVID RESPONSESweden During the Pandemic: Pariah or Paragon?

    By Johan Norberg

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sweden stood out from other countries, stubbornly refusing lockdowns, school closures, and mask mandates. The main difference between Sweden’s strategy and that of most other countries was that it mostly relied on voluntary adaptation rather than government force. It seems likely that Sweden did much better than other countries in terms of the economy, education, mental health, and domestic abuse, and still came away from the pandemic with fewer excess deaths than in almost any other European country, and less than half that of the United States.

  • PUBLIC HEALTHLive Parasitic Worm Plucked from Australian Woman's Brain

    Doctors in Australia have found and removed a live parasitic worm, roughly 8 centimeters long, from a woman’s brain.The worm was some 8 centimeters (just over 3 inches) long and is a roundworm most commonly seen in python species, known as Ophidascaris robertsi.  It’s the first known case of its kind.

  • GUNSNumber of U.S. Children Killed by Guns Hit Record High in 2021

    By Melissa Jenco

    Firearm death rates among children and teens rose almost 9% from 2020 to 2021, while disparities worsened, according to a new study. The increasing rates meant firearms remained the leading cause of death for youths. In 2021, 4,752 children and teens were killed by firearms, a rate of almost 6 per 100,000 youths. The rate is up 9% from 2020 and 42% from 2018.

  • PANDEMIC LOSSESAn Experiment to Fight Pandemic-Era Learning Loss Launches in Richmond

    By Alec MacGillis

    After intense opposition and skepticism, two elementary schools opened 20 days early to help students make up for what they missed during the time of remote learning. The first question: Would kids show up in the middle of summer for extra schooling?

  • BIODEFENSEThe Need for Speed in Biodefense: How JPEO-CBRND is Shaping its Biological Defense and Medical Strategies

    By Kelly Burkhalter and Daniel Critchfield

    Biological incidents possess an alarming ability to wreak havoc on a massive scale, capable of rapidly escalating beyond the scale seen during COVID-19. The need lies in developing solutions that surpass the speed of these threats. The future of biodefense depends on the ability to rapidly respond to an event by quickly developing and distributing medical countermeasures (MCMs), such as vaccines and therapeutics. This includes optimizing manufacturing techniques and establishing robust partnerships to ensure these MCMs can be quickly and effectively deployed in the event of a threat.

  • DISASTERSHurricanes Have Become Deadlier, Especially for Socially Vulnerable

    Following a tropical cyclone, deaths can result from several major causes, including deaths from injuries, infectious and parasitic diseases, cardiovascular diseases, neuropsychiatric conditions, and respiratory diseases.  Over recent decades, there has been a large variation in cyclone-related excess deaths by hurricane, state, county, year, and social vulnerability across the United States, with 83 percent of hurricane-related deaths occurring more recently and 94 percent in more socially vulnerable counties.