News & Magazines

Quick Reads about Public Health
View All
9 min read

Why Men Don’t Live as Long as Women: It’s the testosterone, don’t you know.

Years ago when I was conducting my doctoral research on the evolutionary history of men among a remote indigenous community of hunter-gatherers living in the forests of South America, I came across a man donning a well-worn baseball cap likely donated by missionaries. The cap read, “There are three stages to a man’s life: Stud, Dud, Thud.” Indeed. It is somewhat sobering to see one’s life’s research summarized on a piece of headwear that can probably be found for a few dollars at a roadside truck stop. But such is the elegance of interesting science. It’s no secret that mortality due to accide
5 min read

The Global Hepatitis Epidemic Rages On

In terms of global killers, hepatitis now trumps HIV and equals tuberculosis. According to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 1.34 million people died from hepatitis B and C in 2015, and about 325 million people are living with these infections. The numbers are particularly disconcerting because these viral illnesses are both preventable and treatable. Yet there is reason to be optimistic that the tide of these infectious and fatal diseases could now be forced to recede. Hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) are two distinct viruses that colonize the liver. Babies born i
The Atlantic
4 min read

A Clever New Way to Predict Next Year's Flu

Flu evolves remarkably fast. Consider the example of H3N2, one of two major subtypes of flu that cause trouble every winter. In some cases, a single extremely well-adapted variant of the H3N2 virus can replace all other H3N2 viruses on Earth over just a few years. Then once enough humans become immune to it, the whole cycle begins anew.   This constant turnover is why the flu vaccine changes every year. Scientists usually have to predict a flu season’s dominant variants months in advance, so that vaccine manufacturers can make enough doses in time. Sometimes, those predictions are quite off. I