Longer Looks: Schizophrenia, ‘Forever Chemicals,’ The Story Behind The Ebola Vaccine And More
Each week, KHN finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The Washington Post:
What Schizophrenia Does To Families — And Why The Mental Health System Can’t Keep Up
Alissa Dumsch flips through her high school yearbook, pausing on a photo of a hulking young man with sandy hair and a chiseled jaw. “There’s Aaron,” she says, pointing to her brother. “He was so good-looking.” She turns a few more pages. “Here he is at student council. I ran every year — and I lost every year,” she says, laughing. “He ran one year and, like, won by a landslide!” (Jones, 1/13)
Scientists Fight Back Against Toxic ‘Forever’ Chemicals
On the day Susan Gordon learned Venetucci Farm, in Colorado, was contaminated by toxins, the vegetables looked just as good as ever, the grass as green, and the cattle, hogs, chickens, and goats as healthy. The beauty of the community farm she and her husband managed made the revelation all the more tragic. Chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, invisible and insidious, had tainted the groundwater beneath her feet. PFAS had seeped into the soil from decades of training exercises that involved spraying firefighting foam at the nearby Peterson Air Force Base, in Colorado Springs. (Marill, 1/15)
The Inside Story Of How Scientists Produced An Ebola Vaccine
In the spring of 2014, as Ebola exploded across West Africa, a scientist named Gary Kobinger was following the news intently from Canada. Kobinger was the head of the special pathogens unit at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. He and the team he led had a well-deserved reputation for their work on Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers; Kobinger himself had led development of a promising Ebola therapy. (Branswell, 1/7)
The New York Times:
Why Did The Woman’s Finger Turn Numb And Blue?
‘‘What do you think of this?’’ the 54-year-old woman asked her friend, who happened to be a doctor. They were at a popular bakery in downtown New Haven, Conn., on a Saturday afternoon making cupcakes with a church group they belonged to. All of a sudden, the woman noticed that the middle finger on her right hand had gone completely numb. She looked down and saw that the palm side of her finger looked bruised at the base. ‘‘It doesn’t hurt, it’s just numb,’’ she said. ‘‘I don’t think I banged it on anything.’’ (Sanders, 1/15)
‘I’ve Quit Drinking The Water’: What It’s Like To Live Next To America’s Largest Coal Plant
Without Tony Bowdoin’s grandfather, Georgia Power might never have come to the quiet town of Juliette. The central Georgia hamlet, just off the Ocmulgee River and a little over an hour’s drive south of Atlanta, is mostly known as home to some of the state’s best shoal bass fishing. Juliette’s only other claim to fame is its turn as the setting for the 1991 Oscar-nominated film Fried Green Tomatoes. (Blau, 1/13)
The New York Times:
The Gene Drive Dilemma: We Can Alter Entire Species, But Should We?
One early summer evening in 2018, the biologist Anthony James drove from his office at the University of California, Irvine, to the headquarters of the Creative Artists Agency, a sleek glass-and-steel high-rise in Los Angeles. There, roughly 200 writers, directors and producers — many of them involved in the making of science-and-technology thrillers — were gathered for an event called Science Speed Dating, where James and other scientists would explain their work. The sessions were organized, James told me, “in hopes of getting the facts at least somewhat straight.” (Kahn, 1/8)