Older adults have special preparation needs when disaster strikes

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: Georgia State Defense Force via Flickr

Hurricanes. Wildfires. Floods. Blackouts. We all like to think we would know what to do when a disaster or emergency strikes, but a new national poll shows that many adults over 50 haven’t taken key steps to protect their health and well-being in case of severe weather, long-term power outages or other situations.

Less than half have signed up for emergency warning systems offered by their community, which can give crucial information in case of storms, natural disasters, lockdowns, evacuation orders, public health emergencies and more. Continue reading

Tip sheet on organoids can help journalists avoid misleading hype

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.

BRAINS!!! What zombie wouldn’t be thrilled to hear scientists are growing brains in Petri dishes? It’s like a zombie’s dream come true! Except, like zombies, brains grown in a Petri dish don’t actually exist. What some scientists are doing is growing brain organoids in Petri dishes — and the difference is crucial.

Organoids are most easily described as not-quite-organs. They’re “simplified replicas” of a specific organ “with some of the features of the organ they model,” according to Chloe Reichel, whose tip sheet on organoids at Journalist’s Resource can help journalists avoid the pitfall of misrepresenting or overselling research on growing these tissues. Continue reading

Resources for covering Hurricane Dorian and disaster preparedness

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.

Image: NOAA

As Hurricane Dorian reaches closer to landfall in Florida or southern Georgia this weekend, we’ve updated our list of resources to help reporters connect with public health officials and other sources.

Excessive flooding and damage to local health infrastructure means people will be dealing with the public health effects of the storm for a while.

Even if you’re not reporting on an affected location, this may be a good time to ask some questions of your local public health leaders and write about disaster preparedness issues. Here are some resources to help craft those questions: Continue reading

Decline in complete tooth loss for older adults spurs talk about access to care

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

More Americans are keeping their natural teeth throughout their lifetimes, federal research tells us.

Overall, the rate of U.S. adults who have experienced complete tooth loss fell from 9.3% in 2000 to 7% in 2017, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The trend holds true across all age groups, researchers found. Continue reading

Self, AAP collaborate on library of vaccine images for free use

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: Self Magazine via Flickr

Photos accompanying news stories about vaccines are notoriously awful, both in effect and in verisimilitude. They often feature large needles that have little resemblance to the actual needles used to administer immunizations.

Or they are real images but feature an utterly terrified child screaming as though Satan himself were injecting demon blood into their veins. (Note: Most vaccines are administered into the muscle, not the bloodstream.) Continue reading

Why even U.S.-based reporters should learn about malaria

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.

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAn Anopheles stephensi mosquito obtains a blood meal from a human host through its pointed proboscis.

While malaria isn’t a current threat to most people living in mainland U.S., scientists highlighted their concern about the disease’s spread within urban African communities in the July 2019 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Emerging Infectious Diseases publication.

This matters because the number of malaria cases could explode if it spreads to Africa cities, and the disease, in turn, would spread globally. Continue reading