Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'public health'

Paint, Not Books

November 19th, 2009 · 6 Comments

There’s actually been a small silver lining to our newfound anxiety over the lead content in balsamic vinegar: it’s got us thinking about education spending in a new way. How’s that? Well, upon learning that our favorite salad-dressing base might well harm Microkhan Jr.’s neural health, we started thumbing through the literature on lead poisoning’s […]

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The Vaccine Dream Deferred

November 10th, 2009 · 3 Comments

An MIT economist argues that botched incentives, rather than scientific hurdles, are frustrating the quest for an HIV vaccine. The point that jumped out at us the most: It has become increasingly apparent that an HIV vaccine may need to be administered in combination with antiretroviral drugs, even if a stand-alone vaccine remains the ultimate […]

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The Marching Powder

November 4th, 2009 · 12 Comments

When Latin percussion god Tito Puente died some years back, The New York Post speculated that a 40-year cocaine addiction had finally caught up with the man. This piece of gossip turned out to be of (to say the least) dubious veracity, but it stuck with us nonetheless. That’s because it got us thinking about […]

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Official Sport of the Health Care Debacle

October 9th, 2009 · 2 Comments

When folks ask us about out take on the health care mess, we always bring up the tale of our pal “Lancer.” (Names have been Robotech-ed to protect the potentially moritified.) A few years back, poor Lancer was playing a little pickup basketball when his ACL decided that it no longer enjoyed being a complete […]

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Can Nicorette Be Righteous?

September 23rd, 2009 · Comments Off on Can Nicorette Be Righteous?

As we’ve given ever-deeper thought to our nation’s distressingly high infant morality rate, we’ve started to wonder how best to address the problem. Everything we’ve read in recent days seems to indicate that the rate could be dramatically lowered if more expectant mothers took better care of their bodies—specifically by quitting smoking, which pretty clearly […]

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Our Infant Mortality Conundrum

September 14th, 2009 · 7 Comments

No matter where you stand on the whole health-care debate, it’s tough to argue with the fact that our revamped system needs to address our appallingly high rate of infant mortality. Though the American economy is the largest in the OECD, our babies perish more frequently than the organization’s average. In fact, our national infant […]

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TR and the Nation’s Health

September 10th, 2009 · 8 Comments

As soon as President Obama invoked Theodore Roosevelt’s name last night, we started digging through the archives in search of details about the Bull Moose’s call for health-care reform. It was a tougher get than we expected, as the proposal amounts to little more than a single line in the Progressive Party’s final 1912 platform; […]

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What the Oklahoma Legislature Hath Wrought

September 9th, 2009 · 4 Comments

In researching the history of freedmen’s towns this morning, we came across a rather irresistible bit of trivia: the fact that Oklahomans have an official state meal. And what a doozy of a repast it is (PDF): Chicken-fried steak Barbecue pork Fried okra Squash Blackeyed peas Cornbread Biscuits Sausage gravy Grits Corn Strawberries Pecan pie […]

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The Safety Line

September 8th, 2009 · 4 Comments

We here at Microkhan are avid fans of Robert Young Pelton’s World’s Most Dangerous Places series, in part because we never cease being amazed by the man’s utter ballsiness. (Algeria sans security in the thick of civil war? Really?) But the lure in Pelton’s work isn’t just his bravado—it’s his frankness about which travels threats […]

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Those Wage Earners Left Behind

September 4th, 2009 · 1 Comment

As you’re stuffing your face with sweet sausages and Budwesier Chelada this holiday weekend, we hope you’ll pause for a brief moment to remember those who really could have used a Labor Day respite: victims of karōshi, who remain far more numerous than they should be. Karōshi translates from the Japanese as “death from overwork,” […]

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Olfactory Attack

September 2nd, 2009 · 4 Comments

We’re currently prepping for a work-related trip to East Africa, which means we now get to spend lots of time being freaked out by ominous Centers for Disease Control warnings. (According to the CDC’s literature, setting foot in half the countries on the planet appears to be a recipe for gory death.) It also means […]

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Citrus is Your Friend

August 19th, 2009 · Comments Off on Citrus is Your Friend

Yesterday we touched upon medicine’s tendency to stick with certain treatments even when there’s a lack of credible evidence attesting to their efficacy. But there’s a flip side to that foible—some physicians’ genius for concocting cures on the fly, with no lab or patient data to assist them. Such was certainly the case with scurvy, […]

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Scared Sober?

August 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment

We don’t have too many hobby horses here at Microkhan, but one of them is a steadfast belief that many long-accepted practices are far less effective than advertised. This is typically because our species is easily seduced by logical facades, and thus pays too little attention to actual evidence. You can understand, then, why the […]

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The Fog of Plague

August 6th, 2009 · 1 Comment

With the Chinese town of Ziketan locked down on account of pneumonic plague, it’s worth looking back at a similar incident from 15 years ago: the Surat plague of 1994. The Indian city ended up recording approximately 5,150 cases of pneumonic plague, which resulted in a shade under 60 fatalities—by no means a major epidemic, […]

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Poison on the March

July 15th, 2009 · Comments Off on Poison on the March

A loyal reader recently sent us the above graph, culled from a recent issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The accompanying text only explains what’s obvious to even the untrained eye: as the age-adjusted death rates linked to firearms and motor-vehicle accidents have declined, poison has become an increasingly efficient killer of Americans. Does […]

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Delhi’s Worrying Trend

July 6th, 2009 · 2 Comments

We normally assume that public health constantly improves, if only incrementally for long stretches. But then along comes a story like this, detailing how Delhi’s infant mortality rate has doubled since 2005. The obvious culprit is the continuing influx of rural migrants, few of whom seek professional medical care while pregnant—or, for that matter, for […]

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Jaundiced for the Cause

April 30th, 2009 · 8 Comments

In today’s edition of NtHWS Extras, we’re taking a look at a nearly forgotten medical tale from World War II: The widespread use of Atabrine to combat malaria, with varying results. This story starts all the way back in the 19th century, with a bunch of Dutch smugglers who brought Cinchona seeds from South America […]

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Know Your Flu Terms

April 30th, 2009 · 1 Comment

What’s the difference between an epidemic, a pandemic, and a mere outbreak? Microkhan gives the skinny here. Apparently the dreaded Osaka flu doesn’t qualify as any of the above, at least in the non-Simpsons universe.

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CSWs and PCR

April 7th, 2009 · Comments Off on CSWs and PCR

As a proud realist, I’m typically sympathetic to commercial sex worker (CSW) campaigns that seek legitimacy for their members’ chosen trade. That doesn’t mean I lack all squeamishness about the cash-for-flesh exchange, but I acknowledge that it’s called “the world’s oldest profession” for a reason. The transparency that is supposed to accompany legitimacy strikes me […]

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The Miracle of Concrete

March 20th, 2009 · Comments Off on The Miracle of Concrete

Sometimes the simplest measures can improve public health in the most remarkable ways. Want to save hundreds of thousands of young lives each year, while improving those kiddos’ IQ scores to boot? Cover their floors with concrete.

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