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CDC: Vaccines Prevented 322M Diseases

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A new CDC report serves as a wake-up call for the importance of childhood vaccines.

Between 1989 and 1991, the U.S. was in the throes of an unexpected measles outbreak that spread over 49 states, sickened more than 55,000 people, and claimed over 100 lives—mostly children.Unlike the current anti-vaccination movement driven mostly by middle-class, college-educated, white women, these cases were concentrated predominately in poor, urban places and the virus’ victims were mostly Black and Hispanic.As Richard Krieg, Chicago’s health commissioner, said at the time, “When mothers have to worry about money for food, it’s understandable that they don’t get immunized.

Bad Medicine

Why Are Docs Giving Kids Codeine?

Corbis

Hundreds of thousands of kids were given codeine during ER visits from 2001 to 2010, despite warnings of its danger. It’s time for doctors to stop this kind of careless medicine.

I try to make a point of not criticizing other doctors’ decisions. When a patient of mine sees a provider outside of my practice and is cared for in a manner different from what I would have done, I generally try to give some deference to variations in perspective and training. Since I wasn’t present in these situations and may not have all the relevant information in assessing the care given, so long as it seems reasonably competent I don’t bad-mouth the other provider.

Dr. Addict

Secret World of Drug-Addict Doctors

SHOWTIME

News of doctor and nurse drug overdoses hit the press this week, highlighting an ongoing (and growing) problem.

The story of a wayward anesthesia trainee who took a near fatal dose of fentanyl hit the news this week. Of particular interest is that he overdosed (and lived) just hours after a nurse in the same large university medical center hospital overdosed and died from a combination of fentanyl and midazolam (Versed™). The tragic coincidence points out the problem unique to health care workers: easy access to feel-good, rapidly and intensely addictive drugs, as well as the clean needles and syringes to inject them.

United States of Addiction

Is Zohydro a Ticking Time Bomb?

Getty

The FDA-approved painkiller is raising red flags in medical circles and consumer protection groups.

Response came quickly to the recent release of Zohydro, an extremely potent, hydrocodone opioid that boasts between five and 10 times the strength of Vicodin. Along with concerns over potency, health officials report (PDF) that the drug lacks necessary abuse-deterrents like features to discourage crushing and injecting. If swallowed by a child, one single capsule could be fatal.The FDA—whose own advisory committee barely approved the drug in an 11-2 vote—claims that if used correctly the drug is safe and effective and may reduce the risk of toxic effects on the liver, as it does not contain the acetaminophen found in other hydrocodone painkillers.

Anti-Vaxxers

Colorado’s Anti-Anti-Vaxxer Bill

John Moore/Getty

With increasing concern over the reappearance of measles and mumps, a Colorado bill would make it harder for parents to say no to vaccines. Why didn’t it get more support?

A bill entering the House in Colorado is seeking to make it ever more difficult for parents to choose to not-vaccinate their children on the basis of personal “belief” was watered down this week. Like many states, until now Colorado has had an EZPass sort of approach, allowing great latitude and creativity to those parents who, for whatever reason, decide to opt out from protecting their kids and their kids’ friends against various childhood infections.

Run Forrest

Cardio Is No Killer, CrossFitters

Justin Sullivan/Getty

CrossFitters and Paleo diet enthusiasts love to talk about how bad prolonged cardio exercise is, but the science says just the opposite.

Depending on who you ask, cardio exercise is either the fountain of youth or the ticket to an early grave. The claim that many groups—particularly CrossFitters and paleo diet enthusiasts—make is that prolonged cardio exercise for 45-60 minutes is bad for you.It allegedly results in a host of health problems like skyrocketing cortisol (a stress hormone) levels, excess inflammation and oxidative damage, and a state of being over-trained. Most startling is the claim that aerobic exercise doesn’t aid weight loss or fat burning.

Cash Before Cures

MIA in the War on Cancer

The Daily Beast

Big Pharma’s focus on blockbuster cancer drugs squeezes out cheaper treatments. The result, one researcher says: ‘If we’re winning the war on cancer, we’re not winning that fast.’

Michael Retsky awoke from surgery to bad news. The tumor in his colon had spread to four of his lymph nodes and penetrated the bowel wall. When Retsky showed the pathology report to William Hrushesky, his treating oncologist, the doctor exclaimed, “Mamma mia.”“Michael had a mean-looking cancer,” Hrushesky remembers.Retsky didn’t need anyone to tell him his prognosis. Although trained as a physicist, he had switched careers to cancer research in the early 1980s and spent more than a decade modeling the growth of breast cancer tumors.

PILL SHOPPERS

How to Make Doctors Irrelevant

Arthur Rothstein/Corbis

After a simple, modified Paleo diet reversed her multiple sclerosis, one doctor is exposing health care and big pharma’s dirty secret: Prescriptions don’t make you well.

When Dr. Terry Wahls accepted her new job as Chief of Primary Care at the Iowa VA Medical Center, she never could have guessed that her multiple sclerosis (MS) would be so bad within a few years that she would be spending most of her time in a tilt-recline wheelchair. And as a conventional physician, she also never would’ve guessed that optimal nutrition—not medicines— would be the key to getting up from that chair and getting her life back.Dr.

Quantified Self

Power Up Without Eating

Shutterstock

Feel foggy after a big lunch? It might be time to trade in your normal routine for a lunchtime run.

Lunch is a productivity ball-and-chain. After a hearty meal, I’m an afternoon work zombie, struggling through mental fog in search of a place to nap. To free myself from this fate, I replaced my 30-minute lunch with a 3-mile run. It was a resounding success: I was far (far) more alert.I measured my hunch on a Stanford-designed test of mental focus, specifically designed for quantified health nuts like myself. Indeed, my afternoon mental focus after a run was about 11% higher, compared to a healthy lunch that tanked my mind by about 9%.

Safe or Sorry

Uber’s New “Safety” Fee

Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post, via Getty

Popular ridesharing app Uber announced a $1 “safe rides fee” after a wave of complaints. They say the fee will go towards driver background checks, new safety features, and more.

As The Daily Beast highlighted last month, safety is a huge concern when using Uber—the popular app that allows users to beckon a private car with less time and effort than it takes to hail a cab. Uber drivers in most cities, The Daily Beast has found, have access to the full names of Uber passengers within the Uber app, in a “waybill” or trip record required by law. What’s more, there is some confusion among Uber representatives as to whether or not the phone numbers of Uber customers always remain anonymous.

Spin Me Right Round

Jack White’s Magic Record Machine

Gonzales Photo/Christian Hjorth

Making a record in this day and age takes a lot of time and effort, but Jack White managed to do it in under four hours.

It’s been six years since the first Record Store Day regaled audiophiles with limited edition EPs, special collaborations, and in-store exclusives, and already the vinyl holiday has a world record under its belt. The record holder? Jack White and Third Man Records. The record? World’s fastest record release.Clocking in at just under four hours, White and co. recorded “Lazaretto” and the Elvis Presley cover “Power of My Love,” trucked the master vinyl to Nashville’s United Record Pressing (URP), and released the 7-inch to the masses, all in the span of a late morning to early afternoon on April 19.

Watch Your Head

Jailed Teens’ Brain Trauma

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Though half of 16- to 18-year-old inmates have a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI), very little is understood about how TBI affects young people.

The incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussion in America’s youth is likely underreported. Still today, some children are told to “walk off” a blow to the head or shake off having had their “bell rung.” Though the nation’s athletic community is more cognizant of these issues than ever before, brain injuries require improved prevention, detection, and treatment efforts.Physicians and scientists are beginning to understand the mechanisms underlying the short-term effects of these devastating injuries, but many questions remain unanswered.

Such Great Heights

Hitchhike a Plane—and Survive

Hawaiian Airlines/AP

A runaway teen hitched a ride in the wheel well of a plane that reached 38,000 feet and subzero temperatures. How the hell did he get out alive?

A 16-year old boy brought respiratory physiology to the front page yesterday by surviving a stint as a stowaway in the unpressurized, non-oxygenated hub of the wheel well in a Hawaii Airlines plane.The airplane flew at an altitude higher than that of Mount Everest—about 38,000 feet compared to Everest at 29,000 feet. The boy also endured temperatures of negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit and space more cramped than coach class. Upon landing, he was reportedly spotted wandering the tarmac with only a comb in his pocket.

WEED WACKERS

Are the Feds Hoarding Pot?

Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Home to the only legal supply of research-grade cannabis, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has the power to shape the future of medical marijuana. Why it isn’t.

The federal National Institute on Drug Abuse, long perceived as blocking research on marijuana’s medical uses, may be cracking its doors open a bit.The institute is funding a University of California at Davis study on whether vaporized cannabis can treat neuropathic pain from spinal-cord injuries, and has agreed to supply marijuana for one at the University of Arizona Medical College on its use to treat post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans.

Enough Already

Rape Threats Over a Comic Book

DC

After criticizing the new ‘Teen Titans’ cover, Janelle Asselin was name-called and threatened with rape. The worst part? No one is surprised.

You’ve seen this scenario before, and you’ll see it again (until more of us do something). Woman writes about something traditionally regarded as a male-orientated industry or area of interest; if she’s conveying love, she’s doing it “for attention” (so what?) or “fake” (whatever that means); if she criticizes, she’s insulting, whining, moaning, on her period; if she says anything at all, her argument or point is made invisible because her damn biology is getting in the way.

Better. Faster. Stronger.

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Freeze Me to Life

In this short documentary, go behind the scenes of the Cryonics Institute, which preserves frozen human bodies with the pseudo-scientific hope of one day waking them again.

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Lincoln Center, NYC | APRIL 3-5, 2014

The Women in the World 2014 Agenda

The Women in the World 2014 Agenda

The fifth annual summit hits New York's Lincoln Center stage April 3-5, 2014. Hear stirring true stories that stretch from war zones to Washington, and learn how you too can get involved. Watch LIVE on The Daily Beast starting today at 6:30PM EST!