The People Who Help You Die Better

A network of compassionate volunteers caring for their terminally ill neighbours is allowing more people in Kerala, India, to end their days at peace and at home. Jeremy Laurance meets the man leading the movement. By Jeremy Laurance / 02.26.2017 Thirty years ago a young anaesthetist, newly appointed as head of department at Calicut Medical College[…]

Those Pearly Whites: The Archaeology of Teeth – Their Historical and Anthropological Value

Upper teeth of a Neanderthal who lived about 40,000 years ago. Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg By Dr. Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg / 03.02.2017 Professor of Anthropology The Ohio State University “Show me your teeth and I’ll tell you who you are.” These words, attributed to 19th-century naturalist George Cuvier, couldn’t be more correct. The pearly whites we use every[…]

What Does the Environment Have to Do with Diseases that Affect the Immune System?

Photo © iStockphoto.com/champja The rise in recent decades of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis suggests that factors in the environment are contributing. By Lindsey Konkel / 01.04.2017 In 1932, New York gastroenterologist Burrill Crohn described an unusual disease in 14 adults. The patients had bouts of abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and[…]

Prehistoric Tuberculosis in the Americas

By Dr. Jordi Gómez i Prat and Dr. Sheila MF Mendonça de Souza / Jan. 2003 Prat: Unitat de Malalties Tropicals, Importades i Vacunacions Internationals, D.A P. Ciutat Vella, Barcelona, Catalunya, España de Souza: Departamento de Endemias Samuel Pessoa, Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Fiocruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil Abstract Tuberculosis is a prehistoric[…]

Healing History: The Story of Agnodice, a Woman Practicing Medicine in Ancient Greece

This marble plaque depicts a ‘parturition’, or birthing scene. Such scenes eased the fears of expectant mothers by depicting positive birthing images. Here, a pregnant woman reclines on a couch covered in drapes, attended by three women. They are dressed in classical Roman robes and one is holding the baby. / The plaque was excavated[…]

Big Pharma-Backed Dems Join GOP to Block Sanders Effort to End Drug Price Gouging

Introducing the amendment on Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders asked his senate colleagues if they “have the guts finally to stand up to the pharmaceutical industry and their lobbyists and their campaign contributions and fight for the American consumer?” (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI) Sen. Cory Booker and others draw sharp rebuke from observers, who pointed out that[…]

The History of Smallpox – ‘The Speckled Monster’ – from 1600 to 1977

Smallpox hits the Aztecs, from the Florentine Codex, Book 12, 16th century / Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana, Florence Lecture by Dr. Frank Snowden / 02.01.2010 Andrew Downy Orrick Professor History and History of Medicine Yale University Smallpox, Not Plague Introduction   Smallpox (left) and Plague (right) / Wikimedia Commons Plague was a bacterial disease. Smallpox instead is[…]

Electroconvulsive Therapy: A History of Controversy

An electroconvulsive therapy machine is seen at an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London in 2012. REUTERS/Chris Helgren By Dr. Jonathan Sandowsky / 01.12.2017 Theodore J. Castele Professor of Medical History Case Western Reserve University Carrie Fisher’s ashes are in an urn designed to look like a Prozac pill. It’s fitting that in death[…]

With Late Night Vote-a-Rama, GOP Takes Aim at Key Healthcare Gains

The U.S. Senate voted after 1:00am Thursday morning to get the ball rolling on Affordable Care Act repeal. (Screenshot) Sen. Brian Schatz called the Republican senators’ action “shocking, reckless, and immoral” By Deirdre Fulton / 01.12.2017 Early Thursday, Senate Republicans took the first step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, overcoming a[…]

Physical Activity, Even in Small Amounts, Benefits Both Physical and Psychological Well-Being

Photo by Moyan Brenn, Creative Commons The largest-ever smartphone-based study examining the relationship between physical activity and happiness has found that even minimal levels of activity can have a positive effect on happiness.  01.05.2017 A new study, based on reports from more than 10,000 individuals, has found that physical activity, whether or not it is[…]

The Sociology of the Anti-Vaccination Movement

By Dr. Zuleyka Zevallos / 02.28.2016 Any time there is an article about vaccine initiatives, a segment of the public begin to shout about government conspiracies and their perception of nefarious science. What is behind the anti-vaxxer movement? I start by discussing the scientific evidence about the fraud that inspired the anti-vaxxer movement before providing a broad[…]

Patients Show Considerable Improvements After Treatment for Newly-Defined Movement Disorder

DNA sequencing has defined a new genetic disorder that affects movement, enabling patients with dystonia — a disabling condition that affects voluntary movement — to be targeted for treatment that brings remarkable improvements, including restoring independent walking. A team of researchers from UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, University of Cambridge and the[…]

Boise’s Forgotten Pandemic

Red Cross volunteers respond to the Great Pandemic, 1918. Headstones mark the city’s deadliest virus By Dr. Todd Shallat / 10.04.2016 Professor of History Boise State University Known as the Spanish flu — elsewhere as the Spanish Lady, the Blue Death, the Fever of War, and the Great Influenza — the terror hit Boise at[…]

Alcoholism: A Physiological Description of the Three Stages of Addiction

By Dr. Jamie Smolen / 12.15.2016 Associate Professor of Medicine University of Florida For many, the holidays are indeed the most wonderful time of the year. Families and friends come together and enjoy food, good cheer – and, often, alcohol. Commercially speaking, alcohol and the holidays seem to be made for each other. Alcohol can[…]

Man on a Mission to Beat Cancer

Professor Richard Gilbertson from the CRUK Cambridge Institute / Photo by Carol Sachs Thirty years ago, Professor Richard Gilbertson pledged to implement a 15 per cent reduction in mortality from children’s brain cancer. This is the story of what happened next. 12.14.2016 On the children’s ward at Newcastle General Hospital in 1986, medical student Richard Gilbertson got[…]

The Link between Parkinson’s Disease and Gut Bacteria

Antibiotics: a new weapon to fight Parkinson’s? Alina Kupstova/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Patrick Lewis / 12.06.2016 Associate Professor of Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience University of Reading What do the contents of your stomach have to do with Parkinson’s disease? A new study from a group of researchers at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) in Los[…]