Disease

Like an unlucky penny, Vladimir Putin keeps showing up in the American media. From allegations of election tampering to hacking emails, Mr. Putin chooses to stay relevant through notoriety. This has, bizarrely, earned him admirers all over the world.

For many reasons, this admiration is deeply misguided. Mr. Putin heads a kleptocracy and imprisons or murders political dissidents. And, as a shocking new essay in Foreign Policy explains, he fiddles while an HIV epidemic blazes through his country.

Today, there are an estimated 1.5 million people who have been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS in Russia, which has a population of...

When a measles outbreak occurred at Disneyland roughly two years ago, anti-vaccine activists mocked it. They derided the infectious disease, caused by perhaps the most contagious human virus known, as "Mickey Mouse measles." Many claimed that measles is no big deal. As proof, they cited memories of getting measles as a child and recovering.

If only every person was so lucky. The World Health Organization estimates that, in 2015, there were 134,200 deaths caused by measles, or 367 deaths every single day. In 1980, a staggering 2.6 million people died from measles. That is why measles really is a big deal; it's a highly infectious virus that is potentially deadly. And it is why global public health...

Recently, Bill Maher instructed America on the importance of knowledge. He's right, of course, but he's a rather imperfect messenger: Listening to him is like receiving a lecture from Bill Clinton or Donald Trump on the importance of marital fidelity.

Mr Maher's monologue provided some insight into his political viewpoint. It was illuminating for two reasons, but probably not in the way Mr. Maher would hope for.

First, he accused people who disagree with his political views of being lazy and engaging in "false equivalence," an entirely fictitious logical fallacy that is an...

With winter approaching, perhaps you or somebody you know will be unlucky enough to catch a nasty "stomach flu" or "24-hour flu," which will allow you to spend some quality time in the bathroom. And while you will almost certainly feel better within 24-72 hours, here's the catch: There's no such thing as the stomach/24-hour flu.

This widespread misconception stems from the fact that so many people don't understand what the flu actually is. The flu is caused by the influenza virus, different strains of which take on names such as H1N1 or H5N1. (Our own Dr Julianna LeMieux has eloquently explained these weird names.) The seasonal flu is a potentially serious infection for the...

Peanut allergies range from inconvenient to potentially fatal. The cause is unknown, but it is likely to involve a combination of immunogenetic and environmental factors. In the case of the latter, research suggests that peanut allergies are more common among Westerners, possibly because they eat dry roasted peanuts while Asians eat boiled ones.

Those who are afflicted by deadly peanut allergies take great pains to avoid any foods that might contain even a trace of the legume. In case they accidentally consume peanuts, some carry an EpiPen to prevent anaphylactic shock.

For these sufferers, relief soon may be...

Necrotizing fasciitis, which literally translated means "inflammation of the fascia (connective tissue) causing cell death," is the proper medical term for what is colloquially known as "flesh-eating" disease. The most recent case that made national headlines involved a man who died four days after becoming infected with the ocean-dwelling microbe Vibrio vulnificus

Naturally, public health officials, microbiologists, and journalists tend to focus on how a bacterium can become so deadly. Indeed, as bacteria evolve, they can acquire various weapons (e.g.,...

The quick and frightening death of a man who contracted a kind of flesh-eating bacterium after cleaning crab pots has made national headlines. As is often the case, the man had a cut on his leg, through which the bacteria entered his body and ravaged his flesh. Even though doctors resorted to radical measures to save him, including amputating his leg, the bacteria still invaded his bloodstream and killed him merely four days after he was infected. 

Understandably, the public wants to know what causes such a terrifying illness and what, if anything, can be done to prevent it. The media is not...

Breast cancer is one of the most intensively investigated forms of cancer. While the research has not yet resulted in a cure, it has informed decisions about how to treat its various forms. Not only are there various types of chemotherapy for treatment, but also effective drugs (e.g. aromatase inhibitors and SERMS) to delay or prevent recurrence. There are also, of course, genetic tests that can help women determine whether they are at increased risk of developing breast cancer, and also genomic tests to indicate which treatments should be undergone.

Women who carry the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 mutations are now known to be at higher risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancer. Knowledge of these mutations, coupled with a family history of breast cancer may induce a woman to...

Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) used to be called "adult-onset" diabetes because it was typically seen in people aged 40 and up, as opposed to Type 1 which is frequently seen in younger folks — even children. Over the last few decades, with the increased prevalence of overweight and obesity, which are linked to T2D, we've seen it occurring at much earlier ages. Bariatric surgery that bypasses part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract has been shown to induce substantial weight loss and often to cause remission of T2D in the obese. Many of the studies that have demonstrated this efficacy included people whose diabetes began later in life. Some researchers have questioned whether it would also be as effective in people whose T2D was diagnosed at younger ages — their disease is less amenable to...

The benefits of circumcision

In recent years, circumcision has become a prickly issue. Protesters smear fake blood on their pants*, decrying "genital mutilation." They declare that a man should make the choice for himself when he comes of age. 

As with most politicized topics, science gets quickly drowned out by activists' hyperbole and exaggeration. The American Academy of Pediatrics, for instance, says that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks, though it falls short of giving the procedure a blanket endorsement. Never mind the scientific consensus, activists retort. This is merely evidence of systemic bias among American medical doctors.

A more evidence-based opinion...