The circumstances of where and how you are born, grow up, live, work and grow old shape your health, just as your genes and lifestyle do. The growing field of "social determinants of health" focuses on the impact of these socioeconomic factors on health. Education, politics, violence, income,... more »
An infectious disease spread to humans by mosquitoes that have bitten infected birds, West Nile virus historically was seen only in Africa, Europe and Asia before it was first detected in the United States in 1999. Though the majority of those infected show no symptoms, the disease can be... more »
Vaccines are often cited as one of medicine’s greatest accomplishments. From the first smallpox vaccine in the 1790s to the human papilloma virus vaccine in 2006, vaccines have stopped the spread of infections worldwide, including dreaded polio disease. Researchers now are investigating vaccines... more »
Created by Congress in 1997, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) provides coverage for children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to afford private insurance. States set their own income eligibility requirements, and the federal government... more »
Health care costs have been increasing in the United States for many years at a rate greater than inflation. In 2008, national health spending rose to $2.3 trillion for the first time, or nearly $7,700 per person, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Containing health costs is one of the... more »
Safety net hospitals are a crucial part of the country's health care system. A safety net hospital is a hospital that serves substantially more uninsured patients and patients enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare than other hospitals. Often the term is used interchangeably with the term public... more »
Doctors tend to shy away from using the word "cure" and cancer in the same sentence, but a wealth of promising research and medical developments in recent years has been extending lives and reducing the incidence of some cancers.
Science has produced the HPV vaccine to prevent a virus linked to... more »
Unique among structures in the body, embryonic stem cells can be converted to almost any type of cell, carrying the promise of a cure for diabetes, Parkinson's disease and shattered spines, among other conditions. A considerable number of Americans, however, think that conducting research with stem... more »
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most common infections in the United States, with more than 19 million Americans affected every year. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As parents and politicians have debated the merits of abstinence-only sex education... more »
Amid the current health reform debate, the number of uninsured Americans continues to climb as employers drop health coverage, employees lose their jobs, and some government programs contract. The U.S. Census put the number of uninsured at about 46.3 million in 2008. Nationally, the vast majority... more »