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

    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.”

  • Sweden During the Pandemic: Pariah or Paragon?

    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.

  • Live 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.

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

    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.

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

    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?

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

    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.

  • Hurricanes 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.

  • More U.S. Crops to Require Irrigation

    With climate change, irrigating more crops in the United States will be critical to sustaining future yields, as drought conditions are likely to increase due to warmer temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns. Yet less than 20% of the nation’s croplands are equipped for irrigation.

  • Natural or Not? Identifying Genetically Engineered Organisms

    Ever since gene editing became feasible, researchers and health officials have sought tools that can quickly and reliably distinguish genetically modified organisms from those that are naturally occurring. Following the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the world at large became aware of this need. Now, such tools are being built. The development of new tools to detect modified bacteria, viruses, and cells has bolstered national security against biological threats.

  • Fame-seeking Mass Shooters More Likely to Plan “Surprise” Attacks; Novelty of Their Locations, Targets Brings Added Fame

    Mass shooters pursuing fame often plan their attacks as “surprises,” carefully crafting them in ways that set them apart from previous incidents, which makes them uniquely challenging to prevent. Fame-seekers — unlike those mostly motivated by personal grievance or revenge — planned their crimes around the novelty of the location and targets.

  • The Nuclear Arms Race’s Legacy at Home: Toxic Contamination, Staggering Cleanup Costs and a Culture of Government Secrecy

    The Manhattan Project spawned a trinity of interconnected legacies. Among other things, it led to widespread public health and environmental damage from nuclear weapons production and testing. And it generated a culture of governmental secrecy with troubling political consequences.

  • Using Artificial Mussels to Monitor Radioactivity in the Ocean

    Amid the global concern over the pollution of radioactive wastes in the ocean, researchers have conducted a study which has found that “artificial mussels” (AMs) can effectively measure low concentrations of radionuclides in the sea. It is believed that this technology can be applied as a reliable and effective solution for monitoring radioactive contamination around the world.

  • Nuclear War Would Be More Devastating for Earth’s Climate Than Cold War Predictions – Even with Fewer Weapons

    A limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan could kill 130 million people and deprive a further 2.5 billion of food for at least two years. A global nuclear war including the US, Europe, and China could result in 360 million people dead and condemn nearly 5.3 billion people to starvation in the two years following the exchange.

  • Two Bills Aim to Bolster Bio and Health Security

    Two proposed bills aim to bolster the health security of Americans. The first bill aims to reduce the risks posed by gene synthesis while at the same time ensuring that responsible companies are not disadvantaged by doing the right thing. The second addresses to potential threats to public health posed by AI.

  • Protecting Health Security from Potential Threats Arising from Advances in Biotechnology

    The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said it was applauding congressional leaders in health security for their introduction of two pieces of legislation to strengthen security around emerging threats from advances in biotechnology.