Obesity is unnatural, but it’s natural to try for it.
This morning I sat on a panel for medical students; the subject was obesity. Nationally, as anyone who hasn’t been hiding under a rock knows, the picture is not pretty-in fact it’s pretty ugly. By the standard definition, obesity means a Body Mass Index (BMI; weight in kilos over height in meters squared) above 30, and in about 15 years starting in 1990 we went from 22 percent to 33 percent obese.
Now, I don’t care what you call it or Read more
In breast cancer, promising approaches of twenty years ago are still…promising.
Today I talked about breast cancer to an audience already energized about Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Among other things, I told them that diseases need lobbies, and that breast cancer has one, having learned from the AIDS awareness movement, which in a momentous few years in the 1980s turned our country toward committed prevention.
But in breast cancer, science has made limited progress Read more
A fighter for real health reform loses with grace, grit, and compassion for all who languish outside the health care system.
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) has long been one of my heroes. In 1994 I testified before a full hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, the same committee now marking up the bill to introduce health reform. Sen. Rockefeller is one of the few members who were on the committee in ’94 and are still on it now.
Because I was involved in health care reform in the ’90s–two books, four or five New York Times op-ed pieces, a couple of essays in Newsweek , and two testimonies before U.S. Senate committee—a lot of people ask me to help them separate fact from fiction in the current debate.
Tensions are high. When a congressman from South Carolina, long and widely known as a fool and a boor, yelled, “You lie!” Read more
Obesity is an evolutionary legacy, which is why it’s so hard to control.
I said a few weeks ago (before I was rudely interrupted by the swine flu epidemic) that I would try to explain why the battle against overweight is such a hard and so far losing one, for the species if not for the individual. Read more
Could it be in the end we will thank this virus for bringing us together?
The H1N1 epidemic is not much in the news anymore, but of course it’s percolating along. WHO now calls it “sneaky” because human-to-human spread is rapid and because the virus has the potential to mutate into a more virulent form. As of May 25 the number of countries affected (46) has doubled Read more
How can we be sure how serious the threat is? We can’t.
According to the World Health Organization, which is carefully tracking the new H1N1 virus and reporting daily, as of 4 PM today (Wednesday, May 6), 23 countries have reported 1,893 official cases (822 in Mexico) and a total of 30 deaths (29 in Mexico). Since I wrote on this last week, Read more
Is obesity an epidemic? Is it even a disease? Semantics aside, it’s huge and growing burden.
I’m writing this in an airport, and a couple of hours ago as a line of passengers filed past me in the airplane aisle, I noticed, as I often do, that some of them were not just overweight—many are that—but obese. I remembered from yesterday’s news that some airlines are considering charging such people for two seats. It seems unfair, and yet… Read more
If you want to go forward send girls to school; to regress, try sending them home again.
For many years now, a growing number of authorities on aid to the developing world have come to the conclusion that there is no better way to spend an aid dollar than in underwriting schools for girls.
From java to Jack Daniels, we've long accepted our daily cognitive enhancement along with our daily bread
On December 7 the distinguished journal Nature published a thoughtful but surprising essay, "Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy."