Streams

 

 

Disease

On Being

[Unedited] David Shenk with Krista Tippett

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Alzheimer's disease has been described as "the great unlearning," a "disease of memory," a "demise of consciousness." But what does it reveal about the nature of human identity? What remains when memory unravels? And how might such insights help Alzheimer

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On Being

[Unedited] Gisela Webb with Krista Tippett

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Alzheimer's disease has been described as "the great unlearning," a "disease of memory," a "demise of consciousness." But what does it reveal about the nature of human identity? What remains when memory unravels? And how might such insights help Alzheimer

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On Being

[Unedited] Alan Dienstag with Krista Tippett

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Alzheimer's disease has been described as "the great unlearning," a "disease of memory," a "demise of consciousness." But what does it reveal about the nature of human identity? What remains when memory unravels? And how might such insights help Alzheimer

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The Takeaway

Diabetes: Preventable Killer Sends Health Care Costs Sky-High

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A major part of the health care legislation that President Obama is expected to sign into law today focuses on cutting the skyrocketing costs of medical care. People with chronic diseases put a particular burden on medical services, and policy analysts say that getting better access to preventative care can drive down health care costs.

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The Takeaway

AIDS and the African-American Community

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In the 1980s, HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, carried a deadly stigma.  The virus was initially thought only to spread among communities which put themselves “at risk.”  AIDS was a “gay” disease, or the killer of “drug addicts” and needle-sharers.  

Yesterday, Dennis deLeon, former New York City Human Rights Commissioner and prominent latino AIDS activist, died in Manhattan at 61 years old from heart failure.  deLeon was one of the first city officials to announce that he was infected with HIV.  The work he and others did to build awareness and education of HIV/AIDS helped reduce the virus' stigma.

Yet in some communities, HIV remains a potent killer.  According to the CDC, African-Americans account for 51 percent of our country's HIV/AIDS cases – while only making up 12 percent of our population.

In an attempt to draw attention to and combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, the National Black Leadership Commission, led by African-American clergy, convened in Detroit yesterday. The conference brings together religious, political and labor leaders in hopes of pushing a Congressional bill that would help tackle the spread of the virus in at-risk communities.

In this conversation we speak with Rev. Horace Sheffield, of New Galilee Baptist Church in Detroit, who spearheaded the conference; along with Dazon Dixon Diallo, the Founder and President of Sister Love, a women’s HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Justice Organization in Atlanta, Georgia.  Together, they discuss some of the structural and social reasons that make the African-American community so vulnerable to infection. 

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The Takeaway

Don't Worry, It's Just the Plague

Monday, August 03, 2009

An outbreak of pneumonic plague in China has killed two men. The pneumonic plague is a bacterial infection similar to the infamous bubonic plague. Authorities in northwestern China have quarantined the town of Ziketan in Qinghai province to prevent further spread of the disease. However, it is unlikely that the disease will cause the mass fatalities associated with historical outbreaks such as the Black Death. Early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics cuts plague patients’ mortality rate to less than 15 percent, the WHO said on its Web site. The Takeaway goes for a check-up with Hugh Pennington, a bacteriologist at Aberdeen University.

For a historical look at the effects of the plague, watch below:

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The Takeaway

Your dollars at work: Charting H1N1's course

Monday, May 04, 2009

Looks like H1N1 virus, still more popularly known as the swine flu, is waning in Mexico. The virus has sickened at least 245 people in the U.S., and killed a young boy. So what lies ahead? Obviously no one (except maybe psychic John Edwards) knows for sure, but some disease trackers are mapping a possible course. How? Well, a computer simulation out of Northwestern University is taking inspiration from an unusual source: the dollar bill. Donald McNeil Jr, Science reporter for our partner, The New York Times, joins The Takeaway with a look at how the virus might spread in the U.S.

For more, read Donald G. McNeil Jr.'s article, Predicting Flu With the Aid of (George) Washington, in today's New York Times.
"Even if we were in 1918, you had a 98 percent chance of survival. And now we've got Tamiflu and we will have a vaccine, so probably we will all be safe. But take precautions.
—New York Times science writer Donald McNeil Jr. on the H1N1 virus

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The Takeaway

Putting swine flu in perspective

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The last few days we've been inundated with numbers and swine flu facts. Eighty deaths in Mexico jumped to 100. Twenty sickened school children in Queens became 40. We know that pork's fine to eat, and that we might not want to travel south of border. But what about some of the contextual facts — are people getting sicker more quickly in this outbreak than they have in others? Will border security stations really help? Here to answer the Big Picture questions is Dr. Richard Wenzel, The Takeaway's go-to swine flu epidemiologist.
"As the numbers expand and we continue to see mild cases, then we have to turn the focus back to what's different about the patients in Mexico."
—Dr. Richard Wenzel on the cause of swine flu
Miss President Obama's speech regarding swine flu? Watch it here:

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The Takeaway

Border controls tighten in wake of flu scare

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

As the confirmed numbers of confirmed cases of swine flu continue to rise around the world, countries are responding at their borders, tightening transport and immigration controls. Joining us now to look at how the world is responding at the border is BBC Correspondent Matt McGrath.

Here's the AP's report on how the swine flu is sparking border precautions:

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The Takeaway

Swine flu Q & A

Monday, April 27, 2009

What is Swine Influenza
Swine flu is a respiratory disease normally found in pigs caused by type A influenza virus. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred. In the past, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received reports of approximately one human swine flu infection every one to two years in the U.S., but from December 2005 through February 2009, 12 cases of human infection with swine influenza have been reported.

What are the symptoms of swine flu in humans?
The symptoms of swine flu in humans are generally similar to the symptoms of the normal human seasonal flu. Symptoms generally include fever, extreme tiredness, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. However, without a specific lab test, it is impossible to know whether you may be suffering from swine flu or another flu strain.

Can people catch swine flu from eating pork?
No. Swine flu is not transmitted by food. You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.

How does swine flu spread?
Influenza viruses can be directly transmitted from pigs to people and from people to pigs. Human infection with swine flu usually occurs when people are in close proximity to infected pigs. Human-to-human transmission of swine flu occurs in much the same way as seasonal flu spreads, namely, through coughing or sneezing of people infected with the virus. People may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

If infected, a person may be able to infect another person one day before symptoms develop and up to seven or more days after becoming sick. Thus, a person is able to pass the flu on before they know they are sick. Those with swine flu should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are demonstrating symptoms and up to seven days longer from the onset of their illness. Children might be contagious for longer periods of time.

What medications are available to treat swine flu infections in humans?
At this time, CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection of swine flu. These drugs work best if started within two day of getting sick.

Will a flu shot protect me?
Not necessarily. The swine flu viruses are very different from human viruses. Thus, it is generally understood that vaccines for human seasonal flu will not provide protection from the swine flu.

For more information:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization

A few key terms
Endemic: The usual existence of a disease in certain areas. For example, experts fear that bird flu may become endemic in Turkey’s poultry population.
Epidemic: Unusual occurrence of a disease that affects a large number of individuals within a population or region at the same time, or the occurrence of a disease in larger number of individuals than usual.
Pandemic: An epidemic occurring over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting large numbers of people. A global epidemic.
Read More

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The Takeaway

Rudy Maxa answers your flu-related travel questions

Monday, April 27, 2009

In the wake of an outbreak in swine flu in Mexico that has been spreading, a health official for the European Union urged Europeans to avoid non-essential travel to the United States and Mexico. And here in the United States many of our listeners are concerned about travel to Mexico. Rudy Maxa is the Host and Executive Producer of the PBS travel series Rudy Maxa's World. He joins us now with answers to your travel questions.

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The Takeaway

Swine flu update with Laurie Garrett and Keith Bradsher

Monday, April 27, 2009

We are continuing our coverage of the swine flu outbreak. The flu started in Mexico, which is reporting over 1600 people believed to have contracted the virus resulting in 103 deaths. The flu has since spread across the United States from New York to California and there are now confirmed cases in Canada and Spain. Across the globe public health officials are swinging into action, spreading the word of hand washing, warning against large public gatherings, stockpiling Tamiflu treatments, and engaging the public. But countries like Hong Kong, who learned their lessons from the SARS scare, are already completely prepared for the possibility of an outbreak and have all their health care infrastructure in place. Keith Bradsher, Hong Kong bureau chief for the New York Times, joins us with a few ideas we can learn from Hong Kong and a look at the global response.

Also joining the discussion is Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist and writer of two bestselling books, including The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance. Ms. Garrett is now the senior fellow for global health Council on Foreign Relations and is well poised to understand this crisis.

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The Takeaway

Don't panic! Pandemics and epidemics throughout history

Monday, April 27, 2009

An outbreak of swine flu is raising alarms from Mexico to New Zealand. But this isn’t the first epidemic to cause widespread concern. From the great influenza pandemic of 1918 to the much-hyped, but far less deadly bird flu outbreaks, we’re nothing if not prepared to worry about a global disease threat. So, how might this current outbreak compare to others throughout history? And how much should we really worry? We’re joined by Philip Alcabes, professor of urban public health at Hunter College of the City University of New York, and the author of Dread: How Fear and Fantasy Have Fueled Epidemics from the Black Death to Avian Flu.

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The Takeaway

The global response to the swine flu outbreak

Monday, April 27, 2009

While Mexico struggles to manage the outbreak of swine flu and is rushing to confirm cases by sending samples to the United States, Hong Kong is already performing genetic tests and has mobilized their hospitals and medical facilities to test and track any possible outbreak. Hong Kong has contingency plans in place and 1400 isolated hospital beds reserved. Just in case! Why are they so prepared? SARS. Keith Bradsher, Hong Kong bureau chief of the New York Times, joins The Takeaway with a look at lessons we can learn from Hong Kong's reaction to the SARS scare.

Also joining us is Donald G. McNeil, a New York Times science reporter who has been covering the swine flu outbreak in the United States. For more, read Donald McNeil's article, U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu, in today's New York Times.
"The question is: Has the rest of the world taken the warnings that you could see coming from avian flu to heart?"
—Keith Bradsher of the New York Times on preparing for swine flu


Click through for a transcript.

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The Takeaway

Swine flu outbreak causes global concern

Monday, April 27, 2009

An outbreak of swine flu that started in Mexico appears poised to spread across the globe, with confirmed cases in California, Texas, Ohio and New York. The possibility of a pandemic is causing worldwide concern. The Center for Disease Control joins The Takeaway to talk about what you need to know to stay healthy. Also joining the discussion is epidemiologist Dr. Richard Wenzel, immediate past President of the International Society for Infectious Diseases and Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, for a look at the the flu, the symptoms, and how we, and the government, should respond.

The Takeaway then turns to Ioan Grillo, Mexico Correspondent for Time Magazine, for look at how Mexico is responding to this health crisis.
"We saw this with avian flu. Primarily young people with what was called cytokine storm, a storm of our own reaction to the virus. So it's possible that that's what's going on in Mexico."
—Dr. Richard Wenzel on the outbreak of swine flu

Ever wonder how the CDC works? It's exactly like this:



Click through for a transcript.

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The Takeaway

Washington D.C. HIV/AIDS infection rate hits 3%

Monday, March 16, 2009

A new report funded by the Center for Disease Control says the rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Washington D.C. has hit three percent. The rate is higher than in many West African countries and comes as a surprise to many who thought the disease was waning. For more on what those numbers mean, we turn to Jose Antonio Vargas, a reporter for The Washington Post who is covering this issue closely for the paper. We also chat with Dr. Helene Gayle, the president and CEO of CARE.

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The Takeaway

The Ick Factor: Can worms cure common illnesses?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Most of us have heard of the hygiene hypothesis. It's the theory that all of our antibacterial soaps and scrubs and sprays are actually weakening our immune systems. But here’s something new: Scientists say you may be able to treat certain diseases like autism and multiple sclerosis by ingesting the same worms we’ve spent all those years trying to kill. The Takeaway talks to Dr. Joel Weinstock, chief of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts University Medical Center.

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The Takeaway

"He's lost his mantle:" US Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee on Robert Mugabe

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Takeaway gets a first-hand update on the worsening situation in Zimbabwe from U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee. He shares his thoughts on president Robert Mugabe, the cholera epidemic and the possibility of a power-sharing deal between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition MDC.

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The Takeaway

A cholera epidemic stalks Zimbabwe

Monday, December 15, 2008

A raging outbreak of cholera has struck thousands in the troubled African nation.
Anywhere where the safety of drinking water is compromised, people who drink the water are subject to infection with cholera and with many other waterborne diseases, even in the U.S. or in Europe or anywhere.
— Dr. Eric Mintz

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The Takeaway

Food shortage and spreading cholera epidemic further destabilizes Zimbabwe

Friday, December 05, 2008

A cholera epidemic and growing food shortages add to the problems in Zimbabwe.
"It's going to take an enormous effort if we are not going to see tens of thousands of people dying."
— Martin Plaut on the crisis in Zimbabwe

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