Public Health

State and local vaccination requirements for school entry seek to protect schoolchildren from vaccine-preventable diseases.  But not all parents agree medicine is a good thing and the newest CDC results show what states are leading and what states are lagging in protection for kids.

A systemic disease that causes inflammation in the spinal joints and was thought to have affected members of the ancient Egyptian royal families may have been another condition, according to a new study published in Arthritis&Rheumatology.

The authors refutes claims of Ankylosing spondylitis in royals like King Amenhotep III (1390–1352 BC), finding instead a degenerative spinal condition called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) in royal Egyptian mummies from the 18th to early 20th Dynasties.

Soda consumption has been linked to obesity but a new study
in the American Journal of Public Health links it to disease independent from its role in fat.

The paper finds that telomeres, the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells, were shorter in the white blood cells of survey participants who reported drinking more soda. The length of telomeres within white blood cells — where it can most easily be measured — has previously been associated with human lifespan. Short telomeres also have been associated with the development of chronic diseases of aging, including heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer so the link is still circumstantial.


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Millions of Americans are continually losing hope on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ability to identify and stop the spread of infectious disease. 

The gold standard agency has been enjoying the respect across the globe due to its archetype virtue of being occupied by world's most renowned health professionals in identifying and dealing with infectious diseases. 

Do you like to keep your fingernails and toenails aesthetically pleasing? You could be putting yourself at risk of serious nail conditions, say researchers at the University of Nottingham who have devised equations to identify the physical laws that govern nail growth and used them to throw light on the causes of some of the most common nail problems, such as ingrown toe nails, spoon-shaped nails and pincer nails.

Writing in Physical Biology, they note that regular poor trimming can tip the fine balance of nails, causing residual stress to occur across the entire nail. That residual stress can promote a change in shape or curvature of the nail over time which, in turn, can lead to serious nail conditions.


The Ebola crisis in Africa is getting a lot of attention but coverage of a regional problem is displacing concern over a more pressing problem worldwide; influenza. 

The pandemic risk from strains of influenza virus is far more worrisome than Ebola. Influenza pandemics arise when a new virus strain – against which humans have yet to develop widespread immunity – spreads in the human population.


A joke in the European business community is that most young people turn 18 and start thinking about their pensions. They may have good reason, according to a study by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR), which found that for each additional euro the eastern Germans received in benefits from pensions and public health insurance after reunification, they gained on average three hours of life expectancy per person per year. 

Public spending appears to have contributed substantially to life expectancy, they say, so much that in just a generation life expectancy in eastern Germany has increased to be almost equivalent to life expectancy in the west, a big victory for proponents of more government spending.


Mothers are already responsible for propagating the species, a thankless job which men wisely avoid in all ways, but now they may be tasked with a better diet and exercising more also, because it has been directly associated with a range of improved outcomes at birth by researchers from the University of Adelaide.

They say it is the  biggest study of its kind two papers were published on the findings in BMC Medicine.


It's not a secret that rats carry diseases, they quite literally carried the pests that caused the Bubonic Plague across Europe in the middle ages. But New York City has always felt like their rats were exceptional compared to rats beyond the Hudson River, and so scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health trapped 133 Norway rats at 5 sites in New York City, focusing on rats trapped inside residential buildings.

They examined them for identified bacterial pathogens, including E. coli, Salmonella, and C. difficile, that cause mild to life-threatening gastroenteritis in people; Seoul hantavirus, which causes Ebola-like hemorrhagic fever and kidney failure in humans; and the closest relative to human hepatitis C. 


While the modern talk is all about how antioxidants and good and free radicals are bad, biology has never been so simple. Rather than being simply destructive to tissues and cells, free radicals generated by the cell's mitochondria—the energy producing structures in the cell—are actually beneficial to healing wounds.

Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen, such as peroxides and they are commonly referred to as free radicals. A new study finds they are necessary for the proper healing of skin wounds in the laboratory roundworm C. elegans.