Health Hazards of Mobile Devices

The age of mobile devices reached a milestone last month. According to the latest research from the Pew Internet and American Life project, as of February, just over half of all U.S. adults own a smartphone [1]. In fact, some readers are viewing this on a mobile device right now. If you’re reading this on your iPad or smartphone: how is your neck positioned? How close are you holding your device to your face? Staring down and squinting at a small, bright screen for several hours a day clearly isn’t healthy, and as a reminder the infographic below “Are Mobile Devices Destroying Your Body?” illustrates some of the health risks of mobile devices and provides some prevention tips.

World Health Day: 1000 Cities, 1000 Lives

Urbanization is one of the greatest health challenges facing with world in the 21st century. Today, over 3 billion people live in cities. Between 1995 and 2005, the urban population of developing countries grew by ~165,000 people every day [1]. In 2007, the world’s population living in cities actually surpassed 50% for the first time in history. As city populations around the world continue to grow, unplanned or mismanaged urbanization can have health security and safety consequences.


Science and the Swine Flu

You’ve likely heard news reports this week about the swine flu virus outbreak in Mexico. The swine flu or swine influenza produces regular outbreaks of respiratory disease in pigs and is caused by influenza type A viruses. Transmission of swine flu viruses between people has been reported in the past, but was limited to three people. Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised its pandemic alert to "phase 5", which means that people in at least two countries in one WHO region are spreading the disease [1]. This was done following an increase to "phase 4" several days ago because the virus was already widespread in differnet locations, with confirmations in Mexico, the United States, Spain and Scotland.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that the swine flu is contagious and is spreading from human to human [2], the WHO has indicated that most people infected with swine flu make a full recovery without the need for medical attention or antiviral drugs [3].