Found 388 Resources containing: Epidemic
The NAMES Project Foundation is co-producing the Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt Folklife Festival program as a prelude to their participation in the XIX International AIDS Conference. This conference, or AIDS 2012, will take place in Washington, D.C., from July 22nd to July 27th, 2012. This is the first time that the conference has been held in the United States since 1990, when it was held in San Francisco, California. The International AIDS Conference is "the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policy makers, persons living with HIV, and other individuals committed to ending the pandemic. It is a chance to assess where we are, evaluate recent scientific developments and lessons learnt, and collectively chart a course forward."
The conference typically attracts up to 25,000 delegates, including scientists, activists, and government leaders, representing nearly 200 countries around the world. This year’s theme, "Turning the Tide Together," reflects this unique moment in the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Thanks to recent scientific advances in both treatment and prevention, the world is at a defining point in time where people around the globe are finally able to envision an end to the epidemic. "Turning the Tide Together" is both an expression of renewed optimism and a call to action as the world moves forward in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
In honor of AIDS 2012, The NAMES Project Foundation will display The AIDS Memorial Quilt across Washington, D.C., from July 21st to July 24th. The Quilt will fill the available sections of the National Mall (from 8th Street to 14th Street) and will be on display in over forty locations throughout the metropolitan D.C. area.
The AIDS 2012 conference is organized by the International AIDS Society in partnership with a number of international bodies and local partners. It will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (WCC), a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Washington, D.C. For more information, click here
Lindsay Tauscher is an intern at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, assisting in the production of the 2012 Creativity and Crisis Folklife Festival program. She is assistant executive director of Capturing Fire, a national queer spoken word and poetry festival, and works for La-Ti-Do Cabaret, the District’s only weekly spoken word and musical theatre cabaret series. Lindsay is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she double majored in History of Art and French and minored in Museums and Society.
A lot of things can cause a sneeze—from sickness to sex. But sneezing can be pretty gross. Sneezes eject particles of mucus and saliva, some contaminated with viruses and bacteria, at ten miles per hour, creating a giant cloud of potentially infectious mist. There's still much left to learn about how exactly that disgusting cloud moves. Most advice for avoiding sneeze clouds are largely educated guesses.
Mathematical physicist Lydia Bourouiba, head of the Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory at MIT, has spent her academic career sussing out the secrets of the sneeze, reports Rae Ellen Bichell at NPR. Her most recent contribution to schnoz science is a slow motion video of sneezing, which she published at the New England Journal of Medicine.
The high contrast black and white video shows just how large a sneeze cloud can be. Understanding exactly where and how far vaporized mucus travels is important. “Respiratory infectious diseases still remain the leading infectious diseases in the world,” Bourouiba tells Bichell. “It's actually quite amazing that we can produce such a high-speed flow that contains all these ranges of sizes of droplets.”
Bourouiba’s analysis shows that just standing a few feet away from a sick patient doesn't remove them from the firing zone. Tiny droplets can hover in a room for several minutes and zip across an entire room in mere seconds.
In an earlier study, and a different set of sneeze videos, Bourouiba found that the droplets are are not uniform, contradicting previous guesses about sneeze spew. Instead, as the droplets exit the mouth and nose, complicated physics take hold. A combination of the sneeze force and turbulence causes the production of a range of particle sizes, from fine lingering mists to larger spray drops. And even tiny drops, Bourouiba found, can harbor disease causing agents.
Bourouiba says mapping the sneeze cloud could help hospitals and places facing epidemics figure out how to squelch the spread of diseases. Air temperature, humidity, room layout and ventilation could all be tweaked to reduce person-to-person transmissions. For example, when someone sneezes on a plane, the airflow patterns actually facilitate the spread of spray to nearby passengers. But not everyone is just sitting by with a cringe. Raymond Wang won the 2015 Intel Science and Engineering Fair for his innovative airflow foils for the plane interior which actually prevent the spread of germs in the enclosed space.
“This is a major blind spot when designing public health control and prevention policies, particularly when urgent measures are needed during epidemics or pandemics,” Bourouiba says in a press release. “Our long term goal is to change that.”
Myopia, the blurry vision we know as nearsightedness, is reaching epidemic proportions—it could overtake a third of the world’s population by decade’s end. But is the condition caused by the rise of computers and mobile devices that strain the world’s eyes? It turns out that tech can cause nearsightedness...but not in the way you might think.
Scientists are increasingly linking myopia with time spent indoors, reports Ellie Dolgin for Nature. She notes that scientists have long been on the hunt for the cause of myopia, which has been linked to higher education levels, genetics and book work over the years. But though researchers have been unable to find a link between specific computing or reading behaviors and myopia, says Dolpin, they did find a connection between eyesight and the amount of time spent indoors.
As we spend more time indoors consuming technology, it appears that our susceptibility to myopia rises. But Dolgin reports that there’s a way to protect your eyes from the condition:
Based on epidemiological studies, Ian Morgan, a myopia researcher at the Australian National University in Canberra, estimates that children need to spend around three hours per day under light levels of at least 10,000 lux to be protected against myopia. This is about the level experienced by someone under a shady tree, wearing sunglasses, on a bright summer day. (An overcast day can provide less than 10,000 lux and a well-lit office or classroom is usually no more than 500 lux.) Three or more hours of daily outdoor time is already the norm for children in Morgan's native Australia, where only around 30% of 17-year-olds are myopic. But in many parts of the world — including the United States, Europe and East Asia — children are often outside for only one or two hours.
That insight could help put a stop to the growing tendency towards myopia. In the United States, it grew 66 percent between 1971 and 2004. But though the National Eye Institute estimates that 33 percent of Americans have myopia, the number is much higher in children—and in countries like China, nearsightedness rates are as high as 86 percent in some cities. And Dolgin notes that it’s even worse in Seoul, where more than 96 percent of 19-year-old men have myopia.
Research on how light affects myopia is still ongoing, and there’s fierce debate about not just how to get kids outside, but how to supervise them once they’re there. And though it’s not clear how long it will take for science to focus the world’s vision, a new pair of glasses might help you focus on your work—these experimental eyeglasses use neurofeedback to get you back on task.
Tacked on to the appendix of a British government health report in 1858, a rose-shaped diagram presented a striking finding: during the Crimean War, far more soldiers died of disease in hospitals than of wounds on the battlefield.
The diagram’s author, famed mother of nursing Florence Nightingale, had a talent for statistics. Today, her rose diagram remains iconic, but Nightingale certainly wasn’t the first to visualize her data, nor would she be the last. An exhibit at the British Library entitled “Beautiful Science” displays 400 years worth of infographics, each with its own fascinating backstory.
The exhibit contains three sections: public health, weather and climate, and the tree of life. Each section features infographics and data visualizations from past and present—allowing visitors to draw conclusions about how scientific visuals have changed, or stayed the same, over the centuries.
Obviously, a lot has changed over 400 years. For one thing, technology has made modern visualizations much more dynamic. Though perhaps beautiful individually, maps of ocean currents from the 1700s look a little underwhelming compared to the technological wizardry of computer simulations in NASA’s “Perpetual Ocean,” a swirling depiction of the world’s ocean currents that the library has projected onto a large screen in the exhibit.
“The really interesting and exciting difference between then and now is the degree to which we can actually use the data. And in fact, data is no longer static, but it’s actually something through which we can explore our world and interact,” says Johanna Kieniewicz, who curates the exhibit for the British Library.
For example, in the public health section an interactive program called Epidemic Planet (developed by researchers at Northeastern University and the ISI Foundation in Italy) allows visitors to tinker with parameters and see how an epidemic would spread across the globe under different settings.
The tree of life section includes the oldest document in the collection: an image of the ancient Greek concept of the Great Chain of Being, depicted in 1617 by English physician Robert Fludd. The newest items in the exhibit are works such as One Zoom Tree, an interactive program developed by scientists at the Imperial College London that allows users to zoom in and explore different branches of the evolutionary tree. Another visual called “Circles of Life” by Canadian artist Martin Krzywinski depicts the genetic similarities between humans and other animals, including chimps and chickens, through colorful circle graphics generated by a computer program called Circos.
The visuals might at first seem totally unrelated, but subtle parallels—between the Great Chain of Being, Darwinian evolution, and modern taxonomic trees based on genetic data—show humanity’s continual efforts to classify and understand life and its ties to nature.
Image by Image: © Martin Krzywinski. Through a computer program called Circos, you can see how closely related the genes in an animal are to those in human chromosomes. Imagine arched over the top half of each circle is the genome of an animal--in this case a dog. Arched over the bottom half are genes in each human chromosome. The curves between hemispheres indicate similarities between sequences. (original image)
Image by Image: © Martin Krzywinski. A comparison of chicken and human DNA, as part of "Circles of Life." (original image)
Image by Image: © Martin Krzywinski. A comparison of platypus and human DNA, as part of "Circles of Life." (original image)
Image by Image: © Martin Krzywinski. Circos diagrams showing the similarities between human genes and those of an opossum, as part of "Circles of Life." (original image)
In the weather and climate section, the work of amateur 19th-century meteorologist Luke Howard, who obsessively measured barometric pressure outside of his London home every day, doesn’t seem that far off from today’s citizen scientist movement. Like Nightingale’s diagram, Howard’s work also questions the idea that “big data”—the exponential and unstructured growth of observations—is a modern phenomenon. Sure, we have better tools for crunching the numbers today, but datamongers of the Victorian era were equally dedicated to recording all that they could observe.
Infographics have long played a role in scientific endeavors. “These diagrams are both tools of discovery as well as scientific communication, so in a sense [they are] highlighting the importance of data visualization to the overall scientific process,” says Kieniewicz.
She points to an 1855 map of London’s SoHo district by another English physician, John Snow, which shows cholera deaths clustered around a local well. Snow thought that water contamination—not miasma or “bad air,” prevailing ideas at the time—lay at the root of sweeping cholera epidemics hitting the city. The map became an iconic and invaluable tool for Snow to both prove his hypothesis and communicate science to those who doubted him.
In some sense, the exhibit—like the data it shows—is itself a tool for discovery. Kieniewicz hopes that visitors will be inspired to “see how interesting some of these stories actually are and be keen to learn more.”
Moreover, the exhibit shows that science can be a visual pursuit. “There is a beauty that is inherent in the science and that’s something that we should actually celebrate,” says Kieniewicz.
“Beautiful Science” will be on view at the British Library through May 26, 2014.
Earlier today, the Food and Drug Administration announced the launch of its largest coordinated enforcement effort in history, sending warning letters and fines to more than 1,300 retailers to combat the “epidemic” of e-cigarettes sales to minors.
“I use the word epidemic with great care,” FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. “E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous—and dangerous—trend among teens. The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end.”
Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been “the most commonly used tobacco product among both middle school and high school students,” according to the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which is published by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But the number of teens using e-cigarettes is believed to have jumped significantly since that last survey. While 2017 numbers listed more than 2 million middle school and high school students as e-cigarette users, Laurie McGinley at The Washington Post interviewed people familiar with preliminary data from the most recent survey, which is not yet published, who say the latest data reflects a 75 percent jump in high school students using e-cigarettes in 2018, an indicator of just how widespread “vaping” has become.
In the agency’s statement, the FDA rolled out significant new steps to face the problem. Today’s action included sending warning letters to retailers that were caught selling the products to underage customers during an undercover enforcement blitz that took place over the summer. Fines ranging from $279 to $11,182 were issued to retailers for repeated offenses. Twelve online companies were also delivered warning letters for selling teen-friendly vaping products.
Most significantly, the agency called on the five leading e-cigarette manufacturers, Vuse, blu, Juul, MarkTen XL, and Logic, which collectively represent 97 percent of the industry, to file plans to limit sales to underage consumers within 60 days. If the plans don’t significantly reduce the number of underage smokers, the agency says it will take steps to pull flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to teens off the market.
The debate over e-cigarettes is complex. The product is a small electronic device that converts a “juice,” typically propylene glycol mixed with nicotine and flavors, into an inhalable vapor. The flavors include almost any taste imaginable, including cheesecake, bourbon, gummy bears and Fruit Loops. The nicotine-spiked juice is often marketed as a way for smokers to wean themselves off the real thing since they can control the levels of nicotine in their vape juice. But vaping is not healthy for those who don’t already smoke. A recent study indicates that, besides leading to a nicotine addiction, vaping may be exposing teens to chemicals linked to cancer. Another study from National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine earlier this year found that nicotine levels in e-cigs can be higher than in traditional tobacco products and can make users more likely to use the real thing.
Sheila Kaplan and Jan Hoffman at The New York Times report that in the past, Gottlieb has supported e-cigarettes for their potential to help adult smokers quit and considered them a critical piece of an ambitious plan to reduce traditional smoking revealed last year. But he now says the alarming rise in underage vaping caught public health officials by surprise and preventing teen smoking outweighs its benefit to adult smokers. “[T]he youth risk is paramount,” he said in his staff comments. “In closing the on-ramp to kids, we’re going to have to narrow the off-ramp for adults who want to migrate off combustible tobacco and onto e-cigs.”
One company in particular, Juul, has been singled out for its popularity among teens. In just three years, reports McGinley at the Post, the brand has captured 70 percent of the vaping market with its streamlined appearance and social media presence particularly appealing to adolescents. Juul has been under scrutiny by the FDA since April for its marketing practices. The company tells the Times' Kaplan and Hoffman that it has stepped up its monitoring of its retailers and polices the way its products are presented on social media and elsewhere. In a statement, the company says it will comply with the FDA request and is “committed to preventing underage use of [its] product.”
In an interview with the Post, Matthew Myers, president of the leading advocacy organization Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, calls the FDA’s action a “fundamental turning point.”
“This is potentially the most important step FDA has taken to curtail youth use of e-cigarettes,” he continues. However, Myers warns that it will only be effective if the agency requires manufacturers to immediately undergo a premarket review, assessing the risks of the products. That step was initially scheduled to take place this August, but the timeline was pushed back to 2022 in order to give the FDA and the industry more time to prepare.
If it weren’t for modern wastewater systems, we’d probably all have cholera. The deadly disease festers in sewage-laden waters—outbreaks in the 19th century killed hundreds of thousands of people, and even today, it runs rampant in areas without adequate plumbing infrastructure.
To remind us of that devastating prospect, the sewer exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, England, once included a life-size diorama of a funeral for an epidemic victim. The idea was to show what our (short) lives would be like without the help of sewers and related purification systems to prevent disease. Although the funeral diorama was removed as part of a gallery remodel in 2012, the museum now takes visitors through a simulated sewer, crafted from the bricks of a 19th century model, with “fake poo glazed on the walls, piped in sounds of scurrying rats, and a pumped-in odor.”
To experience the real thing, here are five place across Europe and the U.S. to explore these underappreciated urban marvels:
Additional printed text on recto reads: "Maison Le Mée, Majunga (Madagascar)."
Jonas Salk built his career on developing vaccines against influenza and polio. In the 1940s he helped revolutionize immunology by developing vaccines that did not expose recipients to the disease itself. In 1947, as America confronted a polio epidemic, Salk turned to finding a vaccine for the disease, reporting successful results by 1953; by 1955 the Salk vaccine was in widespread use and dramatically diminished the impact of polio, especially among children. Salk never claimed a patent for the vaccine, asking "Could you patent the sun?"
Additional printed text on recto reads: "Maison Le Mée, Majunga (Madagascar)."
One of the greatest challenges in the fight against AIDS was changing public attitudes toward the disease and its victims, who were predominantly homosexual men. To awaken a seemingly uncaring nation to the magnitude of the crisis, activists created the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Through its thousands of panels, each with a personal story, the quilt has served as a call for compassion, education, and action.
A Quaker and an abolitionist, Laura Smith Haviland played a critical role in organizing the first antislavery society in the Michigan Territory in 1834. After an epidemic claimed the lives of her husband, parents, sister, and youngest child in 1845, Haviland immersed herself in antislavery initiatives and performed missionary work among African Americans in both slave and free states. As an operative on the Underground Railroad, she made countless trips through Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan to aid fugitives on their perilous journey to freedom in Canada. During the Civil War, Haviland provided nursing care to wounded Union soldiers. She also served as an agent of the Michigan Freedmen’s Association (1864–66) and traveled widely throughout the South, giving much-needed assistance to the region’s newly emancipated slaves. In an effort to document slavery’s brutality, Haviland posed for this photograph holding the iron shackles she found on a Louisiana plantation.
Additional printed text on recto reads: "Maison Le Mée, Majunga (Madagascar)."