February 10, 2015 |
SUDDENLY, the debate over vaccines has gone mainstream. Amid a measles breakout - a disease that doctors believed had been eradicated a decade ago - a pair of Republican politicians came under fire for seemingly anti-vaccination comments. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that vaccinations should largely be left to parents, while Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said he believed that vaccinations can lead to "mental disorders" in children. The idea that vaccines cause autism has been debunked, but the declining vaccination rate is making the measles resurgence possible.
February 6, 2015 |
Pandering has no boundaries in politics, even when public health is at stake. Thus we had a U.S. senator and the governor of the most densely populated state in America suggesting in the midst of a measles outbreak that it's OK not to vaccinate children against contagious diseases. New Jersey's hypocritical Gov. Christie, who was once so insistent on protecting the public that he had a healthy nurse returning from Ebola-ravaged Africa involuntarily quarantined, told reporters in London this week that "parents need to have some measure of choice" as to having their children vaccinated.
February 6, 2015
NOW VACCINATION is a political issue? It bubbled beneath the surface before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie injected himself into it with an off-hand (and later walked-back) remark about inoculations. But after Big Boy mentioned it, the floodgates of cable TV, Twitter and Facebook swung open. As a public-health issue degenerates into a political issue, I'm here to sort a few things out. (Spoiler alert! I am pro-vaccination.) When I was in elementary school (and leeches were used by doctors)
February 4, 2015 |
CAMBRIDGE, England - After Gov. Christie said Monday that parents need "some measure of choice" on vaccinating their children, stirring alarm that such views would hurt the fight against a measles outbreak, his office moved quickly to clarify his position. The dustup overshadowed the second day of what Christie has planned mainly as a trade mission. Monday morning, the Republican governor, a potential candidate for president in 2016, responded to a question about the spread of measles by saying that while he and his wife had their children vaccinated, parental concerns warrant "balance.
December 22, 2014 |
At the start of the life-or-death competition in the Hunger Games series, the contestants are presented with a cornucopia teeming with tools for their survival. The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is warned to steer clear. As much as she needs the resources, charging into the stockpile will put her in the throes of a savage competition for dominance. Those seeking the keys to a healthy diet these days face a similar predicament. Decades of studies have produced vast stores of data about the foods and nutrients likely to enhance and extend life.
December 5, 2014 |
CITY COUNCIL is prepared to fight the latest invader into the lives, homes and mattresses of Philadelphians - the dreaded bedbug. Imagine now a task force established specifically to address the growing problem of bedbugs creeping into the small fibers of rowhouses across the city. Beyond that, Council will consider a Bedbug SWAT Team to work in conjunction with the Bedbug Task Force. Councilman Mark Squilla said he had bedbugs in April, and according to one witness who testified before the Committee on Public Health and Human Services yesterday, Squilla won't be able to "start relaxing" for two years.
November 1, 2014 |
Philadelphia imposes a mandatory quarantine three or four times a year for uncooperative people with tuberculosis and is planning to automatically seek a court order as a precaution if a patient is confirmed with Ebola, officials said. The city is monitoring about 40 travelers from West Africa who arrived at five designated airports in other parts of the country. An additional 20 or so, including 11 in Burlington County, are being followed at least daily in surrounding counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
July 25, 2014 |
STUDENTS HAVE BEEN removed from a Fishtown school amid concerns over asbestos removal, a district spokesman confirmed yesterday. Students attending summer classes were told Wednesday not to report to Penn Treaty School, on Thompson Street near Berks, spokesman Fernando Gallard said. At least 40 students were moved to the nearby Adaire School, at Palmer and Thompson streets, where they will continue to take classes, sources said. Gallard said the action was taken in response to allegations by Jerry Roseman, an expert in occupational health and safety for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers' Health & Welfare Fund.
June 12, 2014 |
Last summer, at a subdued doctor's office near 12th and Fitzgerald Streets in South Philadelphia, patients would line up 20 or 30 at once, at 11 on weekday mornings. Somehow, they knew where to be, just days after the psychiatric medical office, which bore no visible name outside, had opened, said City Councilman Mark Squilla. An armed guard hired by the psychiatric office stood watch at the front door, and patients who emerged with prescriptions would often fill them at a local pharmacy.
May 29, 2014
EVERY ONCE in a while you get a chance to meet two needs with one action. I won't say kill two birds with one stone. This isn't about throwing stones or killing anything - just the opposite. It's about changing public policy to enhance, maybe even to save, lives; and by doing so, possibly providing a political boost to a politician who could use one. First, the policy: Community health centers for poor folks in Philly and across Pennsylvania are hurting. They're losing money big time, according to a new study by George Washington University: $29 million in Pennsylvania this year, half or more of that in Philly.