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Only 81% of Seattle Kindergartners Have Been Vaccinated for Polio

“That’s lower than the 2013 polio immunization rates for 1-year-olds in Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Algeria, El Salvador, Guyana, Sudan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Yemen, among other countries, according to data from the World Health Organization,” Seattle public radio station KUOW reports. This in the same state where a… » 7/16/15 5:00pm 7/16/15 5:00pm

On "Mouth Breathing," and Other Rare Causes of Death in America

Among the rarest causes of death listed in the CDC’s national mortality registry are such ailments as “mouth breathing,” “pathological fire setting,” “flatulence and related conditions,” and “sexual aversion and loss of sexual enjoyment.” Stuart Buck provides an even longer list, and links to his data analysis, in a… » 7/14/15 1:20pm 7/14/15 1:20pm

Women in Oregon Can Soon Buy Birth Control Pills Over the Counter

This week, Oregon passed a new law that allows women to buy hormonal contraceptives from a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription. After the law goes into effect in 2016, women in Oregon will be able to get birth control pills without having to first visit a doctor for permission. » 7/13/15 6:47pm 7/13/15 6:47pm

Brain-Eating Amoebas Have Struck Again in Minnesota

It’s July, and, like clockwork, brain-eating amoebas are back in the news. Last week, the deadly parasite Naegleria fowleri, which thrives in warm bodies of fresh water, claimed the life of a 21-year-old woman from Inyo County, California. Now a child in Minnesota is believed to have developed primary amebic… » 7/08/15 5:06pm 7/08/15 5:06pm

Report Finds WHO Unfit To Confront Public Health Emergencies Like Ebola

In the wake of West Africa’s Ebola crisis, an independent panel assembled at the request of World Health Organization director Margaret Chan has judged the WHO unfit “to deliver a full emergency public health response,” finding that it has neither “the capacity [nor] organizational culture” to do so. » 7/07/15 4:33pm 7/07/15 4:33pm

Here's How That New Sex Pill for Women Actually Works

Sometime in the next two months, the FDA will vote on whether to approve flibanserin, a new drug to treat women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or lack of desire for sex. The drug has been touted as “female Viagra,” in the sense that it helps bring sex back into these women’s lives. But flibanserin doesn’t… » 6/29/15 6:39pm 6/29/15 6:39pm

XKCD Tips Its Hat to the Microbiome (and so Should You)

When was the last time you thanked the bugs in your belly? Even if the concept of a “healthy” microbiome is flawed, the trillions of microorganisms living in your gut (and mouth, and vagina, and nose, etc.) play a vital role in many of your body’s functions. They’re so essential, many refer to the microbiome as an… » 6/26/15 10:40am 6/26/15 10:40am

California Passes Bill Banning Personal Exemptions for Vaccination

California vaccination bill SB277 has passed in the State Assembly on a 46 to 30 vote. The bill, inspired in part by the measles outbreak that began last December in Disneyland, mandates ALL schoolchildren be vaccinated, regardless of their parents’ personal or religious beliefs, but still permits medical exemptions. » 6/25/15 3:07pm 6/25/15 3:07pm