Gratitude promotes optimism and helps us to develop a more positive outlook. It lets us pause for a moment to reflect on something we have in our life right now instead of always striving for more, the next goal, the new dress, the new toy, the new car, or the house renovation. Gratitude is simply […]
My mother, when she was dying, said to me, “There are no wrong answers, Kris.”
She was speaking from the vantage point of someone who has nothing left to lose. Someone with the luxury of looking back on a life filled with worry about making the right choices and realizing, in the end, most of those choices become irrelevant.
I was torn between staying at her bedside and going back to Chicago to take care of my kids. I felt I did not have a choice. My kids needed me. I was the glue in our household. But my mother needed me also.
Recently, I was worrying about the right job, the right parenting, the right financial and life decisions. As I’m sure many of you do. Few of us are immune to trying to game the system for the best results.
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Back in the 1940s before the polio vaccine was invented, the disease caused a lot of anxiety among parents of small children. How could you reduce your child’s risk of contracting this nasty illness? Some misguided public health experts apparently recommended avoiding ice cream, thanks to a study that showed a correlation between ice cream consumption and polio outbreaks. This study fortunately was BS. Yes, there was a correlation between ice cream consumption and polio outbreaks, but that was because both were common in the summer months. The authors of the study had mistaken correlation (ice cream consumption and polio are more common at the same time) with causation (ice cream increases your risk of disease).
Medical researchers often trawl through data sets to try and figure out what environmental factors cause chronic disease. Unfortunately, these kinds of studies sometimes make the same kinds of mistakes as the ice…
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The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest in history. As of mid-October, there have been approximately 9,000 cases and 4,500 deaths. The World Health Organisation warned that the infection rate could reach 5000 to 10000 new cases a week by the end of the year.
The virus is primarily transmitted from sick to healthy people by blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen). In addition, objects contaminated with the virus (including needles and syringes) and direct contact with infected animals also play a role. Given this knowledge, it is not an unreasonable question to ask if blood feeding mosquitoes could spread the virus from infected…
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2014 has not been kind.
On a cold, snowy day in January, when my husband was in Tokyo, my 10 year old son received a lifelong sentence. It began with a sick visit to the pediatrician followed by another sick visit to a gastroenterologist. As I sat across from this woman, who I disliked as soon as she entered the room, I could not imagine that my son’s world was going to permanently change. After a brief examination and a denial of all symptoms from which she was sure he was suffering, she stoically pronounced “he has Crohn’s,” which only made me hate her more than I already did. She prescribed antibiotics and advised that he would need to be examined under general anesthesia.
That night, my son slept in my bed. I spent most of the night feeling his forehead, making sure he was still asleep, plotting the death of…
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By Tom Koch
“It was about the Beginning of September, 1664, that I, amongst the Rest of my Neighbours, heard in ordinary Discourse, that the Plague was returned in Holland, for it had been very violent there, and particularly at Amsterdam and Roterdam, in the year of 1663.”
Daniel Defoe, Journal of the Plague Year.
That is how it always begins. There is an outbreak out there, somewhere, away in a place that is safely distant. If we care at all it is because we know the place and some of its people. Perhaps we have business with them. And, too, we care because the diseases affecting those distant places sometimes have traveled from out “there” to our “here.” That was certainly true for Defoe’s narrator, whose hopes that plague would not migrate to London were shattered in December of 1665 when the British Bill of Mortality listed…
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