Currently Browsing: Health

The price of cheap meat: Antibiotic resistance

The good, the bad, and the buggy: A useful primer on antibiotic resistance, with two pages of illustrations, explains how bacteria develop resistance and pays special attention to the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from hospitals into the community, development of resistance in...

When “no antibiotics” claims may be misleading

This really bugs us: Conventional meat producers routinely feed their animals a steady diet of antibiotics to prevent illness and help them grow fatter faster. But in response to the growing numbers of consumers who hunger for meat and chicken raised naturally, without drugs, more are promoting their...

Health insurance woes strangling rural America

FarmedicAid?: Excellent piece about how access to affordable health insurance is a major barrier for small business owners and farmers in rural America. One-third of farmers and ranchers depend on individual insurance — four times the rate for everyone else — and in many cases those premiums come with such...

Watch the U.S. get fatter on CDC’s animated map!

Amber waves of gain: The Centers for Disease Control has mapped the dramatic increase in obesity state by state on a U.S. map covering 1985 to 2007. Who's the skinniest of them all? Nope, not California (we blame Fresno): Colorado. In 2007, only one state (Colorado) had a prevalence of obesity less than...

Koreans crack open a cool, frosty dose of fiber

As an observer of the American food scene, I see many instances of oddly supplemented foods and drinks, where everyday foods are dosed with antioxidants or vitamins or another supposedly healthful supplement to give its buyer a sense of healthy satisfaction. But there is always another surprise lurking...

Wrongful-death lawsuit filed against Smithfield for H1N1

Tom Philpott might want to call a lawyer: The husband of pregnant Judy Trunnell, the first U.S. resident to die from the H1N1 flu outbreak, has filed a lawsuit against Smithfield Foods, the U.S. owner of a Mexican pig farm in La Gloria where "news reports traced the first cases." Steven Trunnell has filed a...

“The Coming Plague”: The big book of nasty diseases

I first read “The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance” by Laurie Garrett nearly eight years ago. I have a penchant for “disease books,” and as Garrett’s book covers hemorrhagic fevers (Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, hantavirus, and Ebola), yellow fever, meningitis, swine flu, AIDS,...

If there’s ever a serious pandemic, we’re in deep shit

Stay home and call your doctor?: Billions of dollars spent on Homeland Security and biodefense in the U.S., and one very sick WSJ reporter can't get tested for swine flu, even once admitted to the hospital and placed in isolation. (Wall Street Journal) What are we going to do in the event of a really...

CDC briefing: Novel H1N1 virus not raging out of control yet

The Centers for Disease Control held a press briefing this morning at 1 p.m. EST about the "novel H1N1" virus. Anne Schuchat, interim deputy director for the Science and Public Health Program, and influenza expert Nancy Cox gave updated statistics: there are 226 confirmed cases in the U.S. in 30 states, up...

Aporkalypse Now revisited: What’s new in swine flu

Thanks, people: Canadian health officials have found the new H1N1 flu virus in a swine herd in Alberta. They apparently caught it from a human who recently traveled to Mexico. (Reuters) The USDA says in a hasty statement, Not to worry, the virus is still not in our swine, but um, stay away from pigs if...

Health care for farmers

Non-GMO, pro-HMO: Do you know who grows your food? asks Ethicurean contributor Steph Larsen, moonlighting over at Change.org's Sustainable Food blog. Duh, you read the Ethicurean, of course you do. Then, she continues, ask him or her what the family's health insurance situation is. The answer may just make...

Swine flu and Mexican CAFO connection

Hogs, bogs, and floggings: Tom Philpott takes a careful, comprehensive look at the possibility the swine-flu outbreak originated from the area around Granjas Carroll’s hog confinements  (Smithfield has a stake in them), whether transmitted by workers, flies, or asymptomatic pigs. And if it didn't, we should...

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