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The Biggest Public Health Stories of 2013

2013 was a big year for public health. We were thrust to the forefront again with disease outbreaks, and have had to deal with increased skepticism of the nature of what we do from the public. Meanwhile, within the establishment, rifts have been growing between groups, as different professional organizations vie for power and control. Here are my top five public health stories for 2013, presented in no particular order, but I’d love to hear yours in the comments.

1. Polio in Syria
Polio is a crippling disease that has been covered on the blog before. It’s been almost completely eradicated, but is still endemic to certain parts of the word. However, following civil unrest in Syria, polio has started to spread again and has, to date, crippled 17 children. Before the March 2011 uprising, vaccination rates were estimated to be above 90%. However, since then, estimates for vaccination rates hover around 68% – enough to prevent the benefits of herd immunity from kicking in. In order to increase immunization rates, the UN is trying to mobilize a vaccine drive. However, due to political and safety concerns, they are having a hard time ensuring that all children are vaccinated. To quote NPR:

Polio does not stop at borders or military checkpoints. Without a comprehensive response to stop the virus, aid workers fear that the outbreak could become a public health catastrophe.

Click here to continue reading!

Interesting reads: July 14th – July 20th, 2012


I like to tweet interesting stories and articles during the week (follow me @MrEpid); if you follow me you might have seen these links already:

Have a great weekend!

-Atif

Interesting reads: July 7th – July 13th, 2012

Stanley Cup Summed Up from Bard Edlund on Vimeo.

I like to tweet interesting stories and articles during the week (follow me @MrEpid); if you follow me you might have seen these links already:

Have a great weekend!

-Atif

Interesting reads: June 30th – July 6th, 2012

I like to tweet interesting stories and articles during the week (follow me @MrEpid); if you follow me you might have seen these links already:

  • The link above is from the San Francisco Big Bay Boom fireworks. A computer glitch resulted in all of the fireworks going off together – 20 minutes worth exploding in 15 seconds. For another view, click here.
  • Scott Gavura over at Science Based Medicine takes on Dr Oz. When Dr Oz claimed that coffee beans can lead to weight loss, Scott reviewed the evidence. One of these men followed the scientific method. The other is the Vice Chair of Surgery at Columbia University.
  • Oscar Pistorius became the first amputee athlete to compete at the Olympics! Way to go Oscar!
  • Of course, this isn’t without controversy – do his artificial limbs give him a competitive advantage?
  • Do you remember the game Centipede? Did you know it was coded by one of the first female programmers in the business? I had no idea, but here’s a cool interview with her and her experiences of working in a male-dominated profession.
  • Finally, PLoS medicine did a great series on “Big Food.” It’s highly worth the read.

Have a great weekend!

-Atif

Interesting reads: June 16th – June 29th, 2012

The World’s Most Accurate Pie Chart

A double whammy of interesting reads today. Last week I was at the Canadian Obesity Student Meeting in Edmonton (thoughts about that to come shortly), and this week I’ve been catching up on work. Things should calm down by the middle of July though, so I’ll have some new posts up around then.

I like to tweet interesting stories and articles during the week (follow me @MrEpid); if you follow me you might have seen these links already:

Have a great weekend!

-Atif

Interesting reads: June 9th – June 15th, 2012

I like to tweet interesting stories and articles during the week (follow me @MrEpid); if you follow me you might have seen these links already:

Have a great weekend!

-Atif

Interesting reads: June 2nd – June 8th, 2012

A great pic of Venus travelling across the sun in NJ (via @gmusser)

I like to tweet interesting stories and articles during the week (follow me @MrEpid); if you follow me you might have seen these links already:

Have a great weekend!

-Atif

Interesting reads: May 26th – June 1st, 2012

I like to tweet interesting stories and articles during the week (follow me @MrEpid); if you follow me you might have seen these links already:

  • A friend of mine has proposed a social marketing approach for oral rehydration therapy and has applied for funding to make it a reality. If you want to support her application for Grand Challenges Canada, please vote here.
  • This is an ethical quandary. Darcy Doherty has a cancer, and wants to be treated with an experimental drug. However, because it is experimental, the company doesn’t know the side effects and ramifications of giving it to him and so won’t give him the medication. However, he feels he has nothing to lose. If, after you read it you want to support Darcy’s cause, there’s a petition available here. Thanks Michelle D. for the link!
  • Why are women not pursuing academic careers? Thanks to Kathleen for the link!
  • Is Facebook making us lonely? (warning: long read)
  • Finally, a heartwarming story about how some Queen’s students raised money to support a Special Olympics athlete

Have a great weekend!

-Atif

Interesting reads: MSF Scientific Day Edition!

I’m not going to post my usual collection of links this week. Instead, I’m going to encourage all my readers to check out the MSF Scientific Day. It’s looking to be an interesting event, and the Agenda and posters cover a broad range of topics. They’ve been holding interviews on Twitter with the presenters (#MSFSD), and it’s been well received so far.

I’d strongly recommend participating if you can. You don’t have to watch the whole day (I know I won’t due to meetings and work), but if you have some time to kill, stop by their live stream, ask some questions on Twitter or Facebook and expand your horizons.

You can follow along online on the MSF Facebook page, Twitter @msf_uk or by using the hashtag #MSFSD.

Have a great weekend! And for those of you running in the Ottawa Race Weekend, good luck!!

-Atif

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