Category: Health and Medicine

Why are we still talking about autism and vaccines? (And why is DeNiro asking us to?)

Why are we still talking about autism and vaccines? (And why is DeNiro asking us to?)

—Jennifer A. Reich
Actor Robert DeNiro hand-picked the documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe to show at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, which he founded. The film, which has since been removed after widespread criticism, explores well-traveled terrain. The controversy over the its inclusion in the festival provides evidence that this conversation isn’t going anywhere for one simple reason: no one can prove a conspiracy doesn’t exist.

Public Statement on Zika Virus in Puerto Rico

We write out of our shared concern over the current Zika virus epidemic in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean in the hopes of making useful interventions. Because of Zika’s adverse effect on fetal development and potential link to Guillan-Barré syndrome, the virus poses serious concerns for public health.

Zika and the Limits of Biomedical Fixes

There are reasons to see the rise of Zika not as another problem in need of a biomedical fix but as a sign of the limits of biomedical fixes.

Howard Ball’s response to New York Magazine’s article “A Life Worth Ending”

Michael Wolff’s family’s tragic circumstance is a manifestation of our society’s pervasive medicalization of death. Since the mid-20th century, technological innovations in medicine—CPR, EMT, MRI, organ transplants, ICUs, pacemakers—have kept patients alive for a much longer time than in previous eras. The average age of death in America in 1900 was 47 years; in 2000, it was 78 years. This means, as Wolff points out in his mother’s story, that one takes a very long time to die—with all the attendant ethical, financial, and personal pain and suffering that accompanies this new reality.