It’s that time of year again. The leaves are a-changing, there is a crispness in the air, and you’re finding it impossible to NOT purchase Halloween candy that you will inevitably eat and have to buy again anyway. Oh, and your local pharmacy, Facebook feed, tv, magazines, and just about any other media outlet are reminding you to go get your flu shot.
Taking leaping strides back, he held tight to the rock in a firm grip. He gazed left, then right, scanning the horizon for just the right moment. The ongoing battle in front of him means he doesn’t have much time. Just as he reacts to a bengal tiger pouncing to his right, he sees his opening and unleashes the bomb. The tiger doesn’t stop and plows right into his midsection. Others join the foray and soon there’s a pile, thousands of pounds on top of him, crushing. He might have a broken rib and he definitely lost his breath for a moment. As the pile lessens and he’s helped up by one of his own, he shakes away the ringing in his ears, and looks up to witness his success.
National vaccination coverage statistics for adolescents (13-17 years old) were recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be a cancer blog? Oh, it is–the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine prevents infection by the HPV strains that cause cancer.
In 2015, 56% of adolescents had at least 1 dose of HPV vaccine, 45% had 2 doses, and 35% had all 3 doses required for maximal protection. In comparison for the same adolescent population, 87% had a Tdap vaccine and 81% had a meningococcal vaccine.
So why the low HPV vaccination rates? Continue reading Preventing cancer in our children
Epidemiologists say there’s little worry about the impact the Olympics will play in the spread of Zika virus. While that may be true–it is winter in Rio–the virus is not there for the Olympics. The growing number of locally acquired infections in Miami highlight how restricting our attention to big, flashy events like the Olympics does a disservice to curbing this epidemic.
The most significant clinical outcomes of Zika virus infection are birth defects in babies born to infected pregnant women. While a majority of the focus to restrain Zika virus involves travel restrictions for pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant, we need to remember that the virus doesn’t seek out pregnant women. We are all susceptible and we can all contribute to minimizing the spread of Zika virus and reducing its affect on the next generation of our world. Continue reading A socialist view of the Zika epidemic
It’s no secret that I’m an unabashed and staunch supporter of vaccines. Man’s most influential medical accomplishments: vaccines, antibiotics, and water purification have all contributed to lengthening human life by reducing infectious disease. The public health implications of vaccination aren’t questioned–epidemiological data clearly show that vaccines work. Continue reading Protecting kids who can’t be vaccinated
Chances are you’ve been hearing a lot about mumps lately. If you live in the greater Boston area, The Boston Globe reports that Harvard has been hit the hardest with 13 confirmed cases. The grand total for Massachusetts so far in 2016 stands at 26 cases (and all of the U.S. at 250 cases). As we barrel towards peak season for mumps, these numbers are alarming. So what’s with all the mumps? Continue reading What’s with all the mumps?
14 years after we’ve last been fascinated by Mulder and Scully’s investigations of paranormal activities on prime time, the duo went back to work at the FBI’s X-Files in a 6-episode mini-season. This season was just enough to whet fans’ appetites with fond memories of their favorite stories (Eve, anyone?) and infuriate us with a cliffhanger ending. But it was the bookended storyline linking episodes 1 and 6, that made my scientist blood boil (FYI–just a saying, tissues would be incinerated long before blood could boil).
At the same time we have Hillary, 4 female astronauts graduating from the NASA space program, Samantha Bee on late night tv, and actual dialogue about gender gaps in salary and management, it’s still been a rough start to 2016 for women. Continue reading It takes two to make a thing go right, or wrong
Somewhat unbelievably given the preponderance of violence today, humans are not responsible for the most human deaths worldwide. This distinction instead belongs to that annoying buzzy insect, the mosquito. Mosquitoes are like an Uber for infectious pathogens hitching a ride to and from nice cozy destinations such as humans. There are numerous viruses, bacteria, and even fly larvae (I dare you to watch this video) taking mosquito Ubers, but the one I want to talk about today is called Zika.