World Health Organization

Worried About Cell Phones and Cancer?
June 02, 2011

Like many other people umbilically linked to my mobile e-mailing, tweets, calls, and texts, I’m concerned by the World Health Organization’s recent findings regarding mobile phone use and brain tumors. This latest pronouncement prods me to make some lifestyle changes—my favorite one being to waste less time being a slave to my damn cell phone. Yet, as someone who has spent years trying to mobilize economic and political resources for public health, I am very frustrated by this debate.

Cell Phones and Cancer: What Studies Say
May 31, 2011

"Cell phones may cause cancer," news organizations around the world shouted today, after the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer announced that cell phones are "possibly carcinogenic to humans." (Many people found out about the news while checking their cell phones. In other news, incidents of irony soared to record highs today.) More specifically, the IARC found "limited" evidence of a relationship between cell phone use and cases of glioma and acoustic neuroma, two types of brain cancer.

Silent Epidemic
April 29, 2011

In Moscow on Thursday, health ministers from around the world gathered to discuss a serious global health crisis: the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like heart disease, stroke, depression, and cancer. Their goal is to replicate the successes of a similar meeting held nearly a decade ago, when the United Nations General Assembly convened a special session to combat HIV/AIDS.

Leprosy: Can It Be Eliminated?
April 28, 2011

For years, about 150 Americans acquired leprosy annually, but doctors had no idea where about one-third of the cases came from. (Two-thirds were acquired overseas.) In a bizarre twist (bizarre, at least, for those of us who do not follow current events in leprosy), today in the New England Journal of Medicine American and Swiss researchers concluded that these leprosy cases, most occurring in Texas and Louisiana, were transferred from wild armadillos. (Researchers say mere contact with an armadillo is unlikely to transfer the disease.

When Numbers Lie
April 01, 2011

For the first few weeks of the Libyan rebellion, the death count varied wildly. The United Nations estimated that 1,000 Libyans had been killed. The World Health Organization put the estimate at 2,000, while the International Criminal Court put the number closer to 10,000. Since early March, however, estimates have become scarce and even less definite. Now, over a week since the international no-fly zone halted Qaddafi’s advance on Benghazi, authoritative estimates of civilian and military deaths are practically nonexistent.

Why Conservatives Turned on Sarah Palin
March 09, 2011

It’s never easy to extricate yourself from a fling that got way too serious. But that’s exactly what many conservatives are trying to do after a few heady years of Sarah Palin infatuation. In the wake of Palin’s deeply unserious reality TV show and her embarrassing “blood libel” video, the bloom’s worn off the rose, rather definitively. In fact, those incidents may have provided just the convenient excuses the GOP establishment was looking for. Now, with the 2012 election looming, Palin’s former backers are fleeing left and right.

December 09, 2010

WASHINGTON—What does President Obama think of those who fought and bled to pass his bills in Congress (in some cases losing in this year's election for their pains) while also defending him against wild charges from the right wing?

Against Despair
December 08, 2010

Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader Edited by Haun Saussy (University of California Press, 660 pp., $27.50) On a hot August afternoon a decade ago, one of my patients collapsed at a café in Boston. She was in her early sixties and had been treated successfully with chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer, but had suffered side effects from the intensive therapy, with damage to her heart and lungs. Her husband called 911, and EMTs arrived in short order. She was resuscitated and sped by ambulance to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

On The Map: Gentler Suburbs for Growing Old?
July 22, 2010

Monday’s New York Times profiled New York City’s effort to make itself friendlier to its burgeoning senior population. The city is already home to 1 million people age 65 and over, and is projected to add another 350,000 to that total in the next two decades. The city’s efforts--which include public/private partnerships to help make businesses more senior-friendly, as well as infrastructure tweaks like longer lights to cross wide boulevards and more sidewalk benches--build from recommendations in the New York Academy of Medicine’s work, as well as the World Health Organization’s Age Friendly

The Logistical Sublime
June 25, 2010

 The Infinity of Lists: An Illustrated Essay By Umberto Eco Translated by Alastair McEwen (Rizzoli, 408 pp., $45) The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right By Atul Gawande (Metropolitan Books, 209 pp., $24.50) “Please direct your attention to the front of the cabin where the flight attendants are demonstrating safety procedures ... in the event of a water landing ...