Reporting health news isn’t easy, especially when journalists have short deadlines and limited space to parse research that’s frequently complex, nuanced, and laced with caveats. On top of that, there’s often the temptation — for scientists, press offices, and reporters — to oversimplify and oversell research findings to get more … More >
Q. I thought measles was all but eradicated in the United States. Why is it back?
A. There are two main reasons. First, though significant progress has been made in reducing global measles incidence, there is still substantial circulation of the virus in other countries. Unvaccinated U.S. residents who travel to … More >
January 21 is the anniversary of the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade, striking down restrictive abortion laws across the US. At the time I was the Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation in London. I still remember a surprised phone call from New York. My friends and … More >
Let’s think the unthinkable. Let’s do the impossible. We have a Tobacco-Free Campus: why not a Football-Free Campus?
Just as tobacco-free Campus took 50 years to arrive, so could the football-free campus. But it will come, just as assuredly. Why not now?
I was lucky enough to know Sir Richard Doll, the … More >
The recent Ebola scare in the U.S. has raised some important questions about what is the appropriate response to a public threat. The two most obvious ones have to do with what is the appropriate response that we as individuals should take and what is the appropriate response that the … More >
Over a long professional life in global health, I have learnt a bitter lesson: it seems almost impossible for decision-makers to recognize and respond to slowly unfolding threats that take two or three decades to unfold and can involve millions of people. Sadly, big organizations with big money have a … More >
As I write this post, it has been about three weeks since Thomas Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in Texas. The media and political hysteria that has ensued in this country is amazing, statistically and historically. Unlike, say, tuberculosis or the flu, it is extremely hard to get infected with … More >
Last week, over at The Atlantic, Jacoba Urist wrote about a truism in journalism: deaths closer to home matter more.
This sounds ugly but makes sense intuitively. We feel the death of a loved one in a completely different way than a death across town, let alone a death across the … More >
Ebola’s natural reservoirs are animals, if only because human hosts die to too quickly. Outbreaks tend to occur in locations where changes in landscapes have brought animals and humans into closer contact. Thus, there is considerable speculation about whether ecological factors might be related to the current outbreak. (See this … More >