An average person will spend more than 20 years of their lives sleeping. Why?

Anyone who has ever watched professional acrobats in a circus, jugglers on the street, ice skaters, pianists or cello players surely must have been surprised with the extent to which people can develop various abilities by constantly practising. But few have thought of developing their ability to participate more actively in their own dreams during the night. …

An accidental collaboration of two unlikely researchers in an unexpected place led to one of the most radical changes in medical thinking and practice in history. It resulted in the disappearance of stomach ulcers and a spectacular Nobel prize for Medicine.

The City of Perth on the west coast of Australia and its port, Fremantle, are not really the first choices on this planet where you would expect huge scientific discoveries in biomedicine to take place. Such breakthroughs usually occur within very large and wealthy urban conglomerates, to which entire networks of the world’s leading universities gravitate, and where the…

Applying “classic” epidemiological reasoning allowed some countries to save the lives of their citizens and preserve economic activity — and even to see it grow.

About a year ago, when the first wave of the pandemic in the Northern Hemisphere was ending, I proposed that the countries of the world would need to choose between four basic strategies in the further course of their respective responses:

(i) “The complete suppression of the virus”, the implementation of which requires the practical “textbook” application of epidemiological measures: careful border control, two-week quarantine measures for all those who enter the country, a tremendously…

There was a time when yellow fever was one of the most feared human diseases in the whole western world. Unfortunately, it is still around and we won’t eradicate it anytime soon. Here is why.

As they study their visa requirements, travellers to some of the less developed parts of the world will learn — perhaps with some surprise — that they must be vaccinated against yellow fever. It was one of the few remaining mandatory health protection measures before COVID-19 struck. Although the term “yellow fever” may trigger thoughts about celebrity gossip at first, it is a historically significant…

In our interconnected world, if we want to be safe, we need to protect those most vulnerable among us.

The family of economist Amartya Sen befriended the great literary Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore. It was precisely Tagore who gave the newborn Sen the name Amartya, which means “immortal” in Bengali, not knowing that he was witnessing the birth of another Bengali Nobel laureate. Leaving India and working at Cambridge and Harvard universities, Amartya Sen became an expert on issues of social assistance to the poor and economic and social justice. He worked out ways to assess the status of the…

Diarrhoea is considered by many to be a somewhat humorous disease. However, it is by no means a mere awkward, laughing matter in poor countries, especially if it affects children.

Many visitors who find themselves in the poorer countries of the world will notice within a few days that their stools have thinned and become much more frequent, with a number of very unpleasant accompanying symptoms — bloating, stomach cramps, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. Fortunately, in most cases, this kind of “traveller’s diarrhoea” will pass spontaneously within four days. Only about every tenth infected passenger will suffer for more…

I could tell you a story that features an exotic location, a plane crash, an isolated cannibalistic tribe, gold-diggers, a bizarre disease, experiments on chimpanzees, tribal wars, the transmission of brain proteins like infectious agents, allegations of child abuse, mad cows, imprisonment of the main character, his exile within the Arctic circle, as well as the two Nobel Prizes in medicine. You could then say: “Sure, anyone can just make anything up”. And that’s fair enough, but… what if this was a true story?

The Fore tribe lives in the Okapa area of the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea…

For Europe, one year into this pandemic, with a new variant spreading and vaccine delivery delayed, things seem to have just gone from bad to worse.

This article provides an explanation of why the European Union is so afraid of the new strain B.1.1.7, which originated somewhere in Kent, England, and now has become the dominant strain in the United Kingdom.

From the very beginning of the pandemic, I explained in my interviews and columns that epidemiologists are most afraid of unpredictable mutations of the virus during a pandemic. …

Here are several reasons why this pandemic is not over yet

This table presented in the picture can be found and accessed by anyone who has Internet access. It’s available at:

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?

When looking at this table, you can see that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than two million people have died. The order of countries in this table in the picture is determined by the number of deaths per million inhabitants of each respective country. This is the “Deaths / 1 M pop” column. …

Truly novel observations included the effectiveness of mass-lockdowns and mass-testing, but also the emergence of groups that doubt the effectiveness of those measures.

Epidemiological science will primarily remember the year 2020 for three major novel observations that cannot be found in existing epidemiology textbooks.

The first significant new insight was the sudden effective implementation of extremely strict lockdown for more than 50 million people in the Chinese city of Wuhan and the Hubei province back at the very beginning of the pandemic. Faced with a new and unknown virus that seemed to threaten the lives of a large number of…

Igor Rudan

Director of the Centre for Global Health and the WHO Collaborating Centre at the University of Edinburgh, UK; Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Global Health

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