With Brazil already swarming with Zika-loaded mosquitoes, hosting 500,000 foreign athletes and spectators for the 2016 Olympic games there in August poses unnecessary health risks and is downright “unethical,” according to an international group of 150 health experts.
I guess the big thing that would address my concerns is some quantitative treatment of the CDC’s argument: What is the % increase in the number of people traveling to Brazil — or the whole Zika-infested region — will the Olympics represent? If it is indeed a small percentage, then I could believe it’s true that it won’t cause a significant increase in risk of outbreaks in countries people are traveling from.
The numbers might be small for direct contact, but considering that a significant number of the athletes will be females in a child-bearing age range could exacerbate that.
Curled up in bed reading a new novel about Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf called Vanessa and Her Sister, I came to a section about Bell’s pregnancy in which she is instructed by her doctor to wear a corset and drink champagne. In the middle of navigating my own pregnancy, I laughed out loud. Indeed just like all the scenes of drinking, smoking pregnant women on Mad Men, this fictional advice—based on the author’s historical research—indicates how much the medical establishment’s guidelines for pregnant women shifts with the sands of time.
There’s a good idea buried in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent bungled message about alcohol and pregnancy: Women are typically pregnant for at least a few weeks before they know it. So if you’re trying to get pregnant, you may want to start thinking about your alcohol intake now.
There seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence being thrown around like “my wife drank like a fish right before we found out she was pregnant and my kid’s fine.”
Yeah… that’s all well and good. However, your kid doesn’t have to be drooling on themselves to have a neurological deficiency. Just playing devil’s advocate, maybe your kid could have been more intelligent or you haven’t figured out some deficiency. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, but the CDC seems to think it could be harmful.
Sound advice, CDC! But, uh, just why did you guys feel the need to issue this warning in the first place?
It’s because we’re in the midst of a series of small Salmonella outbreaks, with just under 200 cases reported thus far. A handful of these were traced back to frozen chickens, but the vast majority were from live birds, leading the CDC (as is its habit) to put out a series of pamphlets on how to avoid this latest threat.
Among the rarest causes of death listed in the CDC’s national mortality registry are such ailments as “mouth breathing,” “pathological fire setting,” “flatulence and related conditions,” and “sexual aversion and loss of sexual enjoyment.” Stuart Buck provides an even longer list, and links to his data analysis, in a recent article for Scientific American. It’s a silly list, populated with decidedly non-lethal maladies, but it raises serious questions. Chief among them: Who in their right mind would list something like flatulence (or amnesia, or social phobia, or joint pain) as the official explanation for someone’s death?
Picture yourself with your very own backyard pool. There you are, drifting on an inflatable raft, wearing a cute bikini, sipping a fruity drink, wiping the urine from your eyes…wait—what now? Sometimes ignorance is bliss when it comes the germs you’re being exposed to on the regular—otherwise how would you leave the house? But the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) would prefer you actually learned something about these issues.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention released a report this week on the outbreaks, which spanned 32 states and Puerto Rico, led to 1,788 cases, 95 hospitalizations, and one death. Half of the incidents associated with treated recreational water—pools and hot tubs—were caused by cryptosporidium, a parasite found in fecal matter that causes diarrhea. That’s a large increase since the first cryptosporidium-related outbreak was detected in 1988, the CDC said.
To achieve its claimed ability to remove pathogens, water going into CamelBak’s new UV purifier must first be cleaned by a filter from a rival manufacturer. And that rival product is cheaper. That’s according to CamelBak’s own lab testing. And its not the only water treatment technology that’s incapable of performing as claimed.
It’s 2015—when we feel sick, fear disease, or have questions about our health, we turn first to the internet. According to the Pew Internet Project, 72 percent of US internet users look up health-related information online. But an astonishing number of the pages we visit to learn about private health concerns—confidentially, we assume—are tracking our queries, sending the sensitive data to third party corporations, even shipping the information directly to the same brokers who monitor our credit scores. It’s happening for profit, for an “improved user experience,” and because developers have flocked to “free” plugins and tools provided by data-vacuuming companies.
…WebMD is basically calling up everybody in town and telling them that’s what you’re looking at
A recent paper in the Journal of Advertising suggests that online commenting may sway people as much as public service announcements (PSAs) from health authorities. Depending on who’s doing the commenting, comments may sometimes be even more influential than PSAs.
While it may seem ludicrous that people could trust online comments as much as PSAs, it’s important to remember that online comments have an important advantage: they’re seen as coming from an unbiased source. This is why product reviews by consumers online and other “electronic word-of-mouth” communications are often seen as a trusted resource.