December 31, 2012 When scientists figured out how to make the deadly H5N1 virus more contagious, a debate ignited about whether to publish the research and do more experiments. Over the past year, scientists published the contentious work, but they still can't agree on the field's future.
December 29, 2012 Researchers argue that ecology has a pretty big say in whether disease rates increase or die down. They used a new field that blends economics and ecology called "macroecology" to figure out how biodiversity loss affected disease burden.
December 19, 2012 Scientists recently sparked controversy when they made dangerous new forms of bird flu. The National Institutes of Health is about to put in place a new system for reviewing this kind of work in the future.
December 19, 2012 Myanmar and other parts of Southeast Asia are awash with shoddy and phony malaria drugs. Some fakes are almost indistinguishable from authentic drugs. The counterfeits can be deadly for patients, but they also threaten to undermine major weapons against the disease.
December 18, 2012 Global deaths from malaria have dropped sharply in the past decade, thanks in part to powerful drugs called artemisinins. But on the border between Thailand and Myanmar, doctors are starting to see cracks in artemisinin's armor. The medicine is working more slowly, and sometimes not at all.
December 18, 2012 Starting in January, the French government will provide contraceptives for girls ages 15 to 18 — without charge and without parental notification. The measure, which passed parliament without debate, aims to reduce teen pregnancies by increasing access to birth control and education.
December 18, 2012 In South Africa, drug users are crushing HIV medications and mixing them with marijuana, heroin and other illicit drugs. Public health workers worry that people who smoke so-called whoonga are helping to fuel the rise of drug-resistant HIV.
December 18, 2012 State and local officials are rooting for President Obama and Congress to quickly reach a budget deal. They anticipate the fiscal pain that would result from automatic cuts, and know things could even be worse from the negotiated belt-tightening behind any pact. But at this point, they just want some certainty.
December 18, 2012 On Tuesday, the National Institutes of Health in Maryland is holding a second day of talks about whether and how to continue funding some controversial scientific experiments. Back in January, virologists agreed to temporarily stop research that was creating new forms of bird flu, because critics argued that the work was too dangerous.
December 17, 2012 Gin, Jesuit priests, communist bravado — the history of malaria is littered with strange bedfellows, as our video shows. The parasite has proved to be a wily foe, frustrating human efforts to control it time and time again.
December 13, 2012 A fresh look at what makes people sick around the world finds that life expectancy has ticked up in the past 20 years. But people aren't necessarily in the best of health during those extra years. Chronic problems, like depression and pain, are on the rise.
December 12, 2012 In many parts of the world, there aren't enough doctors around to do post-mortems. Answers to a few questions can help a computer deduce what killed someone when an autopsy can't be done. The results can help guide decisions about public health.