Tag Archive | Health

On this day July 30, 1965

U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid to provide federal health insurance for the elderly and for low income families, respectively.


Johnson signing Medicare

The fight for national health insurance began in the early 1900s and greatly caught the public’s attention during Truman’s presidency.

Between 1958 and 1964 controversy grew and the bill was drafted. The signing of the act, as part of LBJ’s Great Society, heralded in an era with a greater emphasis on public health issues. Read More…

On this day June 15, 1667

French physician Jean-Baptiste Denys, eminent physician to King Louis XIV of France, administered the first fully-documented human blood transfusion, giving the blood of a sheep to a 15-year old boy he partially recovered, but then he died.

There have not been since, it appears, any subsequent successful blood transfusion operations between species of such widely divergent taxonomic rank..

Denys performed another transfusion into a labourer, who also survived. Both instances were likely due to the small amount of blood that was actually transfused into these people. This allowed them to withstand the allergic reaction. Read More…

Unjustified swine flu pandemic scare

Reports suggest the World Health Organisation’s declaring a swine flu pandemic was a ‘monumental error’ driven by profit-hungry drug companies spreading fear.

A year after the swine flu pandemic was declared, stocks are left unused and governments try to abandon contracts, pharmaceutical companies have profited at least £4.6billion from the sale of vaccines alone.

The World Health Organisation reaction to H1N1 was influenced by pharmaceutical companies and key scientists behind advice had financial ties with firms Roche and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), claim reports by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) and the Council of Europe. These conflicts of interest have never been publicly disclosed by WHO, an apparent violation of its own rules.

World Health Organisation H1N1 guidelines, were issued in 2004, recommending countries to stockpile millions of doses of antiviral medication. The advice prompted many countries around the world into buying up large stocks of Tamiflu, made by Roche, and Relenza manufactured by GSK. Read More…

Lead contaminated water kills children in Nigeria

Lead poisoning has taken the lives of at least 163 individuals in the northern Nigerian state of Zamfara in recent weeks. Sometime during March residents of remote villages began illegally mining gold in areas of high lead concentration. There have been a total of 355 reported cases, setting the fatality rate at 46%.

According to Henry Akpan, chief epidemiologist at Nigeria’s Ministry of Health, 111 of the 163 recorded deaths have been children, many only several years old. Akpan further said that officials had seen young children playing in contaminated water located near the mining sites.

The government had found through their yearly immunization program that there were almost no children living in the villages of Zamfara. Adults from the area reported that the children had died of malaria. However, after an investigation, health officials concluded that there was an abnormally large amount of lead circulating in the villagers’ bodies. Read More…

On this day June 5, 1981

The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that five people in Los Angeles, California have a rare form of pneumonia seen only in patients with weakened immune systems, in what turns out to be the first recognized cases of AIDS.

In the beginning, the CDC did not have an official name for the disease, often referring to it by way of the diseases that were associated with it, for example, lymphadenopathy, the disease after which the discoverers of HIV originally named the virus. Read More…

FDA found bacteria in recalled Children’s Tylenol

The US Food and Drug Administration released a report today harshly criticizing the conditions at a Johnson & Johnson factory that produced medications recalled this weekend.

The report, the result of an FDA inspection conducted at the facility, said that the plant in question, located in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, had upwards of 20 documented manufacturing problems, including both quality and security issues.

According to the report, material used in the medicines produced were contaminated by Burkholderia cepacia. This bacteria is known to be resistant to common antibiotics. Read More…

On this day April 20, 1862

French chemist Louis Pasteur and physiologist Claude Bernard completed the first test on pasteurization.

Louis Pasteur

Louis Pasteur

Claude Bernard

Claude Bernard

Pasteurization is a process which slows microbial growth in foods. The process was named after its creator, French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur.  The process was originally conceived as a way of preventing wine and beer from souring. Read More…

On this day April 1, 1970

President Richard Nixon signs the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law, requiring the Surgeon General’s warnings on tobacco products and banning cigarette advertisements on television and radio in the United States starting on January 1, 1971.

Luther Leonidas Terry

The Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act was one of the major bills passed by the United States Congress in response to U.S. Surgeon General Luther Leonidas Terry’s 1964 report that found that lung cancer and chronic bronchitis are causally related to cigarette smoking.

Congress previously passed the Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act in 1965 requiring that all cigarette packages sold in the United States carry a health warning. But after a recommendation by the Federal Trade Commission, the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act amended the 1965 law so that the warnings are made in the name of the Surgeon General. Read More…