Here's this week's offerings: Why we emotionally attach to Alexa and Siri ... the Pontiff joins the debate on AI ... India can go to Mars (but bathrooms still seem to be a challenge) ... and how do those restaurant buffets turn a profit?
Yes, life is unfair, and that partially explains why billionaires exist. But many billionaires have used their tremendous wealth to help the poor and boost public health. For these reasons, we should not be scornful, but grateful.
Is leptospirosis, an infection from a bacterium that's transmitted through contact with urine, on the rise among dogs in Utah and Colorado, as headlines declare? Possibly. Maybe an optional leptospirosis shot for the pooch isn't a bad idea.
In the wake of over 1,000 injuries and dozens of deaths due to vaping, the public is right to be concerned about the safety of e-cigarettes. Given that we have covered this issue in some depth, we wanted to provide a resource that answers as many questions as possible and provides links to our other articles.
From a public health perspective, what's the biggest preventable cause of cancer? Pesticides? Poor diet? Pollution? UV light? No, no, no, and nope. It's tobacco, by far. Obesity and infectious diseases are #2 and #3.
Teenagers are rebellious and they do stupid things. Given the range of options available to them -- from drinking and driving to unprotected sex -- vaping is a rather mild vice. However, it is still harmful, so laws need to be in place to prevent teens from getting them.
Usually, when we have something to say about California, it's bad. After all, this is the state that gave us Proposition 65, a smorgasbord of insane public health policies, as well as 38 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. But now, the state has done something good. In fact, very good.
While an investigation is underway into the exact nature of the problem, so far the likeliest explanation is that improper use of vaping devices has led to illness, or the death, of some users. But that sort of nuance isn't governing the thinking of the FDA or CDC officials, both of which are allowing myths and fearmongering to drive their policies and public statements.
The Office of National Statistics in Great Britain reports that the number of suicides last year surged nearly 12% over those in 2017. Contrary to popular myth, suicides are preventable. The reason? Suicide is often a spur-of-the-moment decision. Therefore, if that impulse can be interrupted there's a good chance a life can be saved.
What explains disparate public health threats such as senseless gun violence and anti-vaxxerism? The answer may come from Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who said that the West had become too focused on personal rights at the expense of duty to one's neighbor.
Disease X -- a yet unseen deadly infectious disease with an epidemic potential for which no countermeasures exist -- has recently been added to WHO's Blueprint list of priority diseases of concern to public health. While we don’t know what Disease X might be, it reflects the fact that a future pandemic threat may be unexpected.
A Virginia news report states that two people died and 18 are hospitalized following an outbreak of an unknown respiratory infection at a retirement community. It's probably not influenza, but answers as to the cause are elusive.