Thursday, May 22, 2014
Prusiner tells the remarkable story of his discovery of prions—infectious proteins that replicate and cause disease but contain no genetic material—which cause mad cow disease and scrapie.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
As the US weighs options for intervention in Syria, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) discusses his position and what comes next. Plus: his legislation to create an advisory committee to focus on tick-borne diseases, and the conflict over the future of Plum Island -- the island off the coast of Suffolk County that was home to the federal government's animal disease center.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Is it a doctor’s responsibility to tell you if a disease is written on your genetic code? And if so, do you really want him or her to tell you? Thanks to new guidelines by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics, this may soon be a reality for many Americans. Last week, the national organization – made up of genetics specialists – published a report urging doctors who sequence a patient’s full set of genes to also test them 24 genetic conditions, and alert the patient, regardless of the patient’s wishes to know or not.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
By Robert Krulwich : Host, Radiolab
Alzheimer's is the disease that creeps in and slowly erases what you know until, eventually, there's no more to erase. How this happens is still a mystery, but this short animation by Po Chou Chi tries to make poetic sense of what goes on.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Lars Olov Bygren, a professor at Umeå University in Sweden, grew up in a remote village north of the Arctic Circle. It wasn't an easy place to be a kid, and he has cold, hard data to back him up: book after book of facts and figures on ...
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Tori Hogan describes how working for a foreign aid organization in Africa made her realize that poorly managed aid can sometimes do more harm than good. In Beyond Good Intentions: A Journey into the Realities of International Aid she offers improvements to the way we offer aid overseas.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
By Lulu Miller
As our Parasites episode airs around the country this week, Lulu Miller considers the Zen-like hunting style of ticks... and encourages you to fight back with a technique that lends itself more toward making love than war.
Monday, December 05, 2011
30 years ago, the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States. Since then, more than 25 million people worldwide have died from the disease, and more than 34 million people are currently infected with HIV. Being diagnosed with HIV used to be the equivalent of a death sentence. But over the past few years, anti-viral drugs have become less expensive and more effective in fighting the disease, allowing life to go on for millions.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Malaria kills about 780,000 people a year, and most of them are children in Africa. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made eradication of the disease a top priority. On Tuesday, the organization touted the results of a study that showed a vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline protected nearly 50 percent children from severe malaria. As far a success rates for vaccines go, those are not the best odds, but even that amount of protection would save millions of lives over a even just a decade of use. And the news does indicate that scientists are on the right path toward eventually preventing malaria.
Monday, July 04, 2011
Jill Lepore, professor of American history at Harvard, staff writer at The New Yorker and author of The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History, discusses how four past historical moments have influenced the present political and social climate in the United States: the death of newspapers in 1765, the Karen Ann Quinlan right-to-die case of 1975, the Parrot Fever panic of 1930, and Clarence Darrow's defense in the 1898 right-to-strike case.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
For the second time in history, an infectious disease has been eradicated. In 1979, smallpox was the first disease to be successfully wiped away. Now, a little-known disease called rinderpest is now joining the list. Rinderpest means "cattle plague" in German, and is a relative of the measles virus that infects cattle, deer, and other hoofed animals. The most virulent strains killed 95 percent of the herds they attacked, which was life-threatening for any society dependent on cattle. It has been blamed for speeding the fall of the Roman Empire.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Thirty years ago this week, Dr. Michael Gottlieb identified a new disease in a paper he wrote for the CDC. Characterized by a severely damaged immune system, and primarily afflicting gay men, the syndrome would come to be known as AIDS. In the years since, over sixty million people — of both genders and all sexual orientations — have died of AIDS. Antiretrovirals have been developed, however there is still no cure.
Friday, May 06, 2011
Today’s Please Explain is a look at bugs with Amy Stewart, author of Wicked Bugs. If you want to learn more about some specific insects—and some of the diseases they carry—here are some of our other insect-related Please Explains we've done in the past:
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The World Health Organization meets Wednesday to try to set a deadline to destroy the last known stocks of Smallpox. The disease killed hundreds of millions of people until a global campaign finally ended the virus in 1980. The success of the vaccine is a major medical feat. However, there are only two known repositories of the virus, which are held in U.S. and Russia; and these two countries are fighting international efforts to destroy the samples, claiming that they are necessary for research to combat bioterrorism.
Monday, September 20, 2010
This year marks the thirtieth year since the disease smallpox was eradicated. The disease has been around since roughly 10,000 BC, and killed approximately thirty percent of its victims. Over the course of history, it struck millions, including such famous survivors as George Washington, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln.
Now eradicated for three decades, what lessons can we take away from how we dealt with smallpox?
Sharing his insights is Dr. Walt Orenstein, Deputy Director for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Friday, August 13, 2010
An article last week in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases documented a new and dangerous gene that could allow any bacteria to become a superbug that's resistant to antibiotics and almost impossible to treat. 37 people in the U.K. have been identified as carrying bacteria with the gene, called NDM-1, after visiting India and other parts of Asia for medical tourism. Medical personnel are worried that a new strain of superbug may threaten health worldwide. Why are new bugs so resistant to antibiotics? And what might a world look like as superbugs grow stronger?
Thursday, July 01, 2010
In California, an outbreak of whooping cough — a bacterial infection that results in fits of coughing — has reached epidemic propotions. Five infants, all of them Latino, have died this year. California health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, in Colorado, an outbreak of meningitis has killed two Fort Collins residents. The two diseases aren't connected, but their appearance is raising questions about whether we've become complacent about getting vaccinations — or whether lack of access to health care is to blame.
Thursday, April 22, 2010