The Week: Most Recent Health Posts recent posts.en-usThu, 04 Dec 2014 15:55:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent Health Posts from THE WEEKThu, 04 Dec 2014 15:55:00 -050010 serious-sounding medical conditions that aren't so serious<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Your doctor just broke the news to you: you have a bad case of rhinorrhea. Not only that, you've a touch of oscitancy and a bit of sudation, too.</p><p>Prognosis? You have a runny nose, you're yawning, and you're sweaty. All of which adds up to, while not exactly a pretty picture, nothing too serious.</p><p>Here are 10 more conditions that sound more serious than they actually are.</p><p><strong>borborygmus</strong></p><p>"Wind is like the human breath, rain like secretions, and thunder like <em>borborygmus</em>."</p><p>Ch'ung Wang, <em>Lun-h&ecirc;ng: Philosophical essays of Wang Chʻung</em>, 1907</p><p><em>Borborygmus</em> is the sound of a rumbling tummy caused...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Angela TungThu, 04 Dec 2014 15:55:00 -05009 helpful germ-fighting products<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p >Whether you use public transportation, need to pump your own gas, or end up in a crowded movie theater, you'll run the risk of catching something this fall and winter. You're also perpetually in danger of getting sick at the office, as germs are often found on keyboards and at coffee stations, as <em>The Wall Street Journal</em> reported recently.</p><p >You can prevent being contaminated by taking some the simple precaution of washing your hands regularly. One of my colleagues who gets around town by taxi recently told me that she rarely gets a cold since taxis take credit cards. "I rarely get sick since I...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Marine ColeWed, 12 Nov 2014 16:02:00 -0500We have military research to thank for Ebola vaccines<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p class="graf--p graf--first">Tragically, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa painfully reminds us of the fragile state of health infrastructure in poor countries &mdash; as well as of the seemingly limited impact of global health governance.</p><p class="graf--p">Though cold comfort, many of the experimental drugs that could help defeat Ebola also remind us of the benefits of military and civilian biodefense R&amp;D.</p><p class="graf--p">Biodefense efforts try to limit the damage from biological weapons. The Soviet Union investigated Ebola as a biological weapon during the Cold War, although the Soviets didn't mass produce the virus as a weapon &mdash; in contrast...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Frank L. Smith IIIMon, 03 Nov 2014 08:38:00 -0500Why you should worry less about Ebola and more about measles<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>The Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 5,000 people in West Africa, but only a handful of cases have been reported in the United States. Still, the virus has sparked widespread fear in the U.S. Views that Ebola is an exotic disease spreading out of control within Africa, with horrific symptoms, inevitable death, and limited means to prevent transmission are contributing to this fear. However, these fears are fueled by a misunderstanding of risk.</p><p>The outbreak is a tragic, public health emergency in urgent need of a massive and coordinated global health response. Fear of contagion is justified in...</p> <a href="">More</a>By William MossSun, 02 Nov 2014 11:00:00 -0500The battle over assisted suicide<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong> What is a 'death with dignity'?</strong> <br /> Advocates of "right to die" laws believe that terminally ill patients facing great suffering and debilitation should have the right to control the timing and circumstances of their deaths. The right-to-die movement gained momentum in the 1980s and '90s primarily as a reaction to the rapid medical and technological advances &mdash; including artificial respirators, feeding tubes, and dialysis machines &mdash; that were enabling doctors to keep people with cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, and other dreadful diseases alive for years and to prolong...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffSat, 01 Nov 2014 08:00:00 -0400Quarantine theater<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">What level of risk to Ebola infections can Americans be expected to tolerate? "Zero" is a comforting answer, especially when an exotic disease has a cinematic impact on the collective imagination. It was in pursuit of zero that Govs. Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo this week imposed a mandatory, 21-day quarantine on all health-care workers returning to their states from West Africa. The governors say that even if there's an infinitesimal risk that a person without symptoms could pass the virus by, say, sharing a subway car, that risk is too high. Cue the applause. But as we should have learned...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/william-falk" ><span class="byline">William Falk</span></a>Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:00:00 -0400These two studies should be a wake-up call to natural-childbirth extremists<img src="" /></P><p dir="ltr">There is a lot of guilt surrounding childbirth these days.</p><p dir="ltr">Many women, including actress Kate Winslet, are ashamed about having a C-section. Women who have opted for pain medication have reported feeling guilty about it. Medicalized births can even be a source of PTSD.</p><p dir="ltr">At the center of this guilt is a belief that doctors and hospitals can't be trusted. By doing what medical experts recommend, many think, a woman has somehow failed herself and her child. Indeed, alternative-birth advocates have long cited the high rate of infant mortality and C-sections as reasons to steer clear of a typical,...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/elissa-strauss" ><span class="byline">Elissa Strauss</span></a>Tue, 28 Oct 2014 07:02:00 -0400How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy<img src="" /></P><p>If you're reading this, it's possible you'll live for a few hundred years. Maybe even thousands. Even better: you could live those years at your peak physical state.</p><p>At first glance, that's an absurd statement, going against the experience of all human history. However, Oxford University's Aubrey de Grey, a leading theoretician of aging, believes there is a 50 percent chance that someone alive today will live for 1,000 years.</p><p>Aging, according to de Grey, is essentially the lifelong accumulation of molecular and cellular damage throughout the body. Using stem cells, hormone therapies, anti-aging...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/nicholas-warino" ><span class="byline">Nicholas Warino</span></a>Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:50:00 -0400All the diseases you should worry about at least as much as Ebola<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Ebola is serious business in the United States, particularly if you're in the media. Turn on a TV and you have 24-hour Ebola coverage on three cable networks, with anchors breathlessly discussing everything from your pet's role in spreading Ebola to any number of alerts, threats, and false alarms for air travel passengers.</p><p>The Ebola virus has killed exactly one person in a country of over 316 million.</p><p>While worldwide it's a true threat (the WHO just called it "the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times"), Ebola has yet to pose the same kind of danger in the States. Indeed...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Gabriel BellWed, 15 Oct 2014 16:29:00 -0400The simple policy fix that could halt the spread of the deadly enterovirus<img src="" /></P><p dir="ltr">I imagine I wasn't the only parent who gasped when learning about the New Jersey boy who died from the rapidly spreading enterovirus 68. Four-year-old Eli Walller seemed healthy when he went to bed on Sept. 24, <em>The New York Times</em> reports, but when his parents went to check on him the next morning, he was dead.</p><p dir="ltr">This virus, which is predominantly affecting children, remains a mystery to medical experts. Early symptoms resemble those of a common cold, including coughing and wheezing. But from there, the virus can progress devastatingly fast, leading to intensive care, paralysis, or, in Waller's case...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/elissa-strauss" ><span class="byline">Elissa Strauss</span></a>Thu, 09 Oct 2014 06:06:00 -0400