The Week: Most Recent Health Posts recent posts.en-usWed, 01 Oct 2014 12:29:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Health Posts from THE WEEKWed, 01 Oct 2014 12:29:00 -0400Why you probably don't have Ebola -- even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'<img src="" /></P><p dir="ltr">After a hectic trip from Liberia's capital of Monrovia to the airport, you finally make it onto your U.S.-bound plane and take your seat. The man next to you appears healthy and friendly. You introduce yourself, shake hands, and have an uneventful journey of small talk as you head back to Dallas, Texas. A few days later, you receive an urgent call from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The man who sat next to you on the plane just tested positive for the Ebola virus.</p><p dir="ltr">You start to feel panic rise in your chest, reliving the fateful handshake over and over. Your anxiety is perfectly...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Sara Stern-Nezer and Aliza Monroe-WiseWed, 01 Oct 2014 12:29:00 -0400Confronting our twisted relationship with food<img src="" /></P><p>Several years ago, Tatiana Gulenkina had her first brush with an eating disorder, when a classmate abruptly left school. Everyone had thought the girl was "just a skinny teenager." It was only after she left that they discovered she had been battling depression and anorexia nervosa. Soon after, a close friend of Gulenkina's admitted she too was struggling with eating &mdash; austerely dieting all week and then going on weekend food benders. Those experiences left a lasting impression.</p><p>Today, the Washington, D.C., photographer, now 26, is confronting these issues the best way she knows how &mdash...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/sarah-eberspacher" ><span class="byline">Sarah Eberspacher</span></a>Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:00:00 -0400The battle over e-cigarettes<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong> Are e-cigarettes dangerous?</strong><br /> They're clearly less dangerous than cigarettes, but that doesn't mean they're safe. Electronic cigarettes are small, battery-powered devices that heat up a liquid containing nicotine and create an inhalable vapor instead of smoke. Like cigarettes, they provide a nicotine buzz, but they do not produce the tar, arsenic, benzene, vinyl chloride, and dozens of other carcinogens that result from burning tobacco. But critics contend that the health risks of "vaping" are still not known, especially because the liquid used to produce vapor contains various chemicals; some brands...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffSat, 27 Sep 2014 08:00:00 -0400Can the U.S. Army degrade and destroy Ebola?<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa accelerates beyond the capacity to count its toll, an unprecedented escalation in global support is evident, led by U.S. President Barack Obama's call for U.S. military intervention. In what will amount to the largest humanitarian commitment since the American response to the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia, the White House announced late on Sept. 15 that an estimated 3,000 military personnel will deploy to the Ebola-ravaged West African nations, alongside a significant increase in civilian mobilization.</p><p>Obama committed the United States, in...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Laurie GarrettMon, 22 Sep 2014 08:34:00 -0400Is back pain ruining your sex life?<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Sex and lower back pain might be the perfect recipe for a screwball comedy, but both the pain and the fear of exacerbating it are very real downers for a couple's sex life. Take heart, though: A new guide to sexual positions could help improve the mood.</p><p>Somewhere around four in five people will experience serious back pain at least once in their lifetimes, and a third or more of those report that pain affects their sex lives, says Natalie Sidorkewitz, a doctoral student at the University of Waterloo's Spine Biomechanics Laboratory and lead author of a new study that takes a look at how men's...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Nathan CollinsMon, 15 Sep 2014 09:25:00 -0400The next pandemic<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><strong> How likely is a pandemic?<br /></strong>Epidemiologists believe we're statistically overdue for a global viral outbreak, which occurs every generation or so. This year's Ebola crisis is probably just a dress rehearsal: Though the virus has killed at least 1,420 people in Africa in the last five months, Ebola is transmitted only through intimate contact with bodily fluids and doesn't have the global reach of a true pandemic, such as Spanish influenza in 1918. Humanity had no prior exposure or immunity to the Spanish flu, which is believed to have incubated in birds and pigs. So it spread like wildfire, infecting...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffSat, 30 Aug 2014 08:00:00 -0400How snake venom could help fight cancer<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Generally, most of us try to get through life without having to cross paths with a venomous animal. But the dangerous substances in a snake's bite or a scorpion's sting may actually have value: In recent years, scientists have begun to investigate the disease-fighting properties of venom.</p><p>"Cancer [treatment] is an emerging area in venom research," says Mand&euml; Holford, a biochemist at the City University of New York's Hunter College. Her research subjects are venomous marine snails, which she describes as "walking drug factories," due to the useful medicinal compounds in their venom.</p><p>There...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Eli ChenMon, 25 Aug 2014 09:30:00 -0400How collaborative innovation led to the experimental serum for Ebola<img src="" /></P><p>Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, the two American aid workers infected with the Ebola virus while volunteering in Liberia, were released from the hospital yesterday after they recovered from the illness.</p><p>They were both given an experimental serum, Zmapp, before being flown from Liberia to CDC facilities in Atlanta, Georgia, three week ago. Brantly &mdash; who was seriously deteriorating before the drug was administered &mdash; yesterday appeared overjoyed, telling the media he was "thrilled to be alive."</p><p>These two Americans might have recovered anyway. In the West African communities that have...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:04:00 -0400The persuasive power of the sugar cube pyramid<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>With New York City's ban on jumbo-sized soft drinks officially dead, it's clear that any reduction in consumption of these obesity-promoting beverages will need to be a matter of persuasion rather than law. Fortunately, a research team has found a simple way to convince consumers to think twice before taking their next swig of soda.</p><p>Their method is to show people just how much sugar they are consuming per can through the use of an easily understandable visual device: A pyramid of sugar cubes.</p><p>This "concrete representation" of an otherwise abstract calculation such as "70 grams of sugar" reduced...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Tom JacobsThu, 21 Aug 2014 14:35:00 -0400This German hospital is ready for an Ebola outbreak<img src="" /></P><p>The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed more than 1,000 lives since it first appeared in March, making it one of the worst in history. Because it is the first major outbreak in the region, health care workers were ill prepared to contain the virus and protect themselves and others, allowing the disease to spread quickly.</p><p>But hospitals all over the world are stepping up their game in preparation, should the virus jump continents. The Charit&eacute; hospital in Berlin has the largest isolation unit in Germany and can handle up to 20 patients suffering from highly infectious diseases.</p><p>Recently...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/lauren-hansen" ><span class="byline">Lauren Hansen</span></a>Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:14:00 -0400