Reported incidents of rare polio-like illness in children are increasing

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Infographic: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionClick through for the complete graphic.

In the coming weeks, it is likely that there will be more reported cases of a rare and mysterious condition called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), which is causing paralysis in children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that it would begin posting on its website new counts of suspected and confirmed AFM cases on Monday afternoons. So far in 2018, the U.S. public health agency said there have been 127 suspected and 62 confirmed AFM cases in 22 states. About 90 percent of the cases have been in children age 18 and younger. In 2014, the agency began received an uptick in AFM cases; so far there have been 386 cases since that year.

Symptoms include sudden weakness or a loss of muscle tone in legs and arms.

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NYC’s first lady delivers message especially for journalists

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Photo: Len Bruzzese/AHCJ

Chirlane McCray, the first lady of New York City, talked about efforts to improve mental health programs in urban areas at AHCJ’s Urban Health Journalism Workshop in New York on Oct. 19. She chatted with independent journalist Katti Gray following her keynote address. Continue reading

What to know (and do) before covering a medical research conference

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: ACRM-Rehabilitation via Flickr

If you’ve covered medical research conferences for a while, you know the drill and probably have a variety of tips and tricks already internalized to ensure the experience and your reporting goes as smoothly as possible. If you’re thinking about starting to cover conferences, or preparing to cover your first one, it can be intimidating to know what to expect. Continue reading

Study: Older adults want physicians to advocate on their behalf

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Carol Von Canon via Flickr

Older adults rarely ask for referrals to specialists, specific prescriptions, express concerns or follow-up after medical visits. Instead, they trust their doctors to advocate for their health needs, according to a new study.

The findings highlight a disconnect between the expectations of older adults and the realities of a changing health care system, in which doctors have less time to spend with patients. Researchers found that the more adults 65 and older trusted the role of their doctor, the less likely they were to advocate for their health concerns. Continue reading

Tracking deaths in custody in America’s jails

Emily Willingham

About Emily Willingham

Emily Willingham (@ejwillingham) is AHCJ's core topic leader on the social determinants of health. She is a science journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and Forbes, among others, and co-author of "The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Guide to Your Child's First Four Years."

Photo: Paul Robinson via Flickr

Gary Harki of The Virginian-Pilot came to his team’s sweeping series on mental illness, death and U.S. jails by way of a single incident: a young man who died in jail from direct neglect and bureaucratic incompetence for the crime of stealing a zebra cake and a Mountain Dew from a local convenience store.

The young man, Jamycheal Mitchell, had both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and his death, Harki says, was “just appalling,” especially as Mitchell was supposed to have been transferred to a mental health care facility. That incident led Harki to wonder how often people like Mitchell met this fate in America’s jails. And from that, the “Jailed in Crisis” series was born. Continue reading

Welcome AHCJ’s newest members

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and served for nearly 20 years in daily journalism.

Please welcome these new professional and student members to AHCJ.

All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves. Continue reading