Monthly Archives: April, 2014

Word Watch: pollen vortex

sf.reader1Hot off the press! Canadian Word Spy Paul McFedries was very quick off the mark to note this one, following on the heels of this winter’s polar vortex.

A “pollen vortex” is the high levels of spring pollen that are created when temperatures rise quickly following an extremely cold winter. Given the recency of “polar vortex,” it’s not surprising that the earliest citation McFedries found was just over a month ago on Twitter, tweeted by Marc Santia, a reporter for WNBC-TV in New York.

Since then, it’s appeared in Mother Jones magazine as well as the Washington Post.~TM

Word Watch: gluten-freegan

binox copyCanada’s Word Spy Paul McFedries has identified another new term: “gluten-freegan,” meaning someone who eats a gluten-free, vegan diet.

The earliest citation appeared in a Salt Lake City restaurant review on the Goldteef blog.

Another use appeared in the Post Punk Kitchen Forum in 2011. The heading – “flexitarian, seagan, beegan, etc.” – raised a host of other questions.~TM

NEWS: Drug prevents measles in animal model; seen as adjunct to immunization

Credit: kreizihorse

Credit: kreizihorse

Researchers in the U.S. and Germany have developed a drug that may prevent vulnerable people exposed to measles from getting the disease.

They have successfully tested the drug against a virus similar to measles (canine distemper virus, or CDV) in ferrets, in which it is invariably fatal. Ferrets given the drug prophylactically and then infected intranasally with a lethal CDV dose had lower viremia and prolonged survival, they reported today in Science Translational Medicine (16 April).

Ferrets infected with the same dose of virus and treated at the onset of viremia showed low-grade viral loads, remained asymptomatic, and recovered from infection, whereas control animals succumbed to the disease.

Animals that recovered also mounted a robust immune response and were protected against rechallenge with a lethal CDV dose, they added.

The findings suggest the drug can not only treat measles in the early stages, but prevent disease in the social and household contacts of those with measles. Continue reading →

When was Rona Ambrose made energy minister?

ambrose_0The demise of the Canadian Health Care Accord. Extreme secrecy about drug reviews. Confusion surrounding the distribution and wariness among physicians about prescription of medical marijuana. An as-yet unfulfilled promise to make violence against women a health priority. A failing grade for the role of the federal government in health care at the end of 2013 by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

With those and other key domestic health matters receiving inadequate attention from the feds, why is Health Minister Rona Ambrose going to China to “underscore Canada’s priority to diversify its export markets for energy and underline Canada’s potential as a responsible and reliable provider of energy to China”? Continue reading →

Play public health crisis computer game!

mystery in manresaIf you don’t deal with enough public health crises in your day job or if you’ve wondered what it might be like to figure out what’s ailing a developing country after a massive earthquake, the University of Roehampton, London Online has posted an online simulation of decision-making that goes into identifying and containing a disease outbreak under those circumstances.

Save Manresa” is “an interactive role-playing activity that provides an exciting window into the world of public health,” according to a news release from the university. It’s also aimed at enticing professionals to consider a career in public health — ideally after taking Roehampton’s new “100% online” Master of Public Health (MPH) programme.

Continue reading →

Fur flies as cats found to transmit TB to humans in England

cat-neonThe fur has been flying in Britain with the news that two people in England have developed tuberculosis after contact with a domestic cat infected with Mycobacterium bovis.

Public Health England (PHE) and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) reported that the cases are linked to the nine case of  M. bovis infection in domestic cats in Berkshire and Hampshire they investigated last year. Continue reading →

And the new Scrabble word is…

It’s hard to get too excited about this, but I started this, so I may as well complete the story:


Word Watch: Round One of the Scrabble Word Showdown

scrabbleYou may recall that Scrabble and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary invited nominations of words to be considered for inclusion in the next edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Today, they announced the 16 words they’ve chosen for a bracket-style “Scrabble Word Showdown,” with fans voting on the Facebook page until one word emerges triumphant.

The 16 words have been announced, none of which are the least bit medical. The list is below with the best definitions I could find for them: Continue reading →

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