Canadian Medical Association Journal

There are some diseases and pathogens we just don't expect to be present in our part of the world.  Malaria, for example; it's tropical, and so far has stayed in the tropics. 

The fungus cryptococcus gattii is supposed to be tropical, too.  But it's present in the region, and exposure to it can be fatal, and has been, at least a dozen times in the last 15 years in Oregon. 

Now researchers theorize that oceangoing ships, the 1964 tsunami, and a subsequent flood may all have helped push cryptococcus into the region.

Not so long ago, Wesley Hamilton did not exercise and ate some truly awful foods.  Then a bullet damaged his spinal cord and paralyzed him from the waist down. 

Rather than give in to his new reality, he began exercising and eating better, lost 100 pounds, and started a nonprofit, Disabled But Not Really.  DBNR offers programs in fitness and mental and physical health, and its rising profile landed Wesley Hamilton a "make-better" (not a makeover) on the Netflix series "Queer Eye." 

lindsayfox via pixabay

The vaping industry caught a lot of people by surprise, it seems.  All of a sudden, a society that had reduced cigarette smoking noticed a lot of people inhaling vapors from electronic devices. 

Now vaping is very much in the news, with a series of mysterious respiratory deaths across the country, including in Oregon.  Oregon Health Authority is taking notice and issuing warnings about vaping practices. 

Oyvind Holmstad/

Stop wishing there were more hours in a day, says Alex Soojung-Kim Pang.  You don't need more time to work, you need more time to rest. 

Even Charles Darwin, for all his revolutionary thinking, only worked about four hours a day.  That's just one example in Pang's book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

The author made the case for less work and more play in a 2016 visit. 


Human decisions ranging from the drinking of gin to the surrender of Scottish sovereignty have hinged on the behavior of a particular animal.  No, not humans.  Mosquitoes. 

That is the argument historian and political scientist Timothy Winegard advances in his book The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator.  The book goes through a surprising list of key historical events and shows how the little bloodsuckers have played major roles in the outcomes. 


Mummies and tetracycline.  Not a combination you hear much about, but mummified bodies from the ancient world show traces of tetracycline. 

So we've had antibiotics for a very long time, just without knowing what they were or what they did.  The trouble came with the constant use of antibiotics once we understood them; now we have bacteria that have developed immunity to antibiotics. 

These are the Superbugs of the title of Dr. Matt McCarthy's book.  He is a physician and teacher and part of a trial to develop a new antibiotic that offers hope of getting past the obstacles of the superbugs. 

Alex E. Proimos / Flickr

Health care is always a discussion topic in our country, and it only figures to get discussed more as our society ages and faces more health issues.

Jackson County Public Health, La Clinica, and the Suicide Prevention Coalition all join forces to present a public health forum later this week (Thursday, June 20) in Medford.  The purpose is to focus on issues of concern in the community, ranging from substance abuse to communicable diseases. 


Women's health is just health; it's just about dealing with health issues in women's bodies.  The trouble is, societies around the globe still freak out in greater and lesser degrees about even discussing women's bodies and what they do.  Case in point: women are social outcasts in some cultures while they are menstruating. 

Scientific American attempts to separate science from social mores in its May issue on "The Long-Neglected Science of Female Reproductive Health." 


Marc Freedman is not into plastic surgery, nutritional supplements, or the Singularity. He's about bridging the generational divide in ways that benefit old and young alike. 

Freedman has been working on issues of our aging population for most of his professional life. With such a large percentage of the population now over the age of 50, Freedman sees a vital need to unite the generations.

It's what young people want and need, he says, and it's vital both to the quality of life for older people and for the general health of our society.  He wrote a book, How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations.  


Even having a room full of people greet you unexpectedly can be stressful.  Especially if they jump out from behind the furniture and yell "Surprise!" 

Not all of us appreciate surprises, even the good ones.  But unexpected events--things we simply can't control--can be good for us. 

That's Tania Luna's take in her book Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected.  She's built a whole business based on surprises. 


Would you, at six years of age, even recognize the person you are now?  We all go through profound changes in a typical lifetime. 

The normal processes of life--working, loving, eating, bearing children, sleeping--transform us over time.  And that's in addition to things we do to ourselves, like weight-lifting and dieting and getting tattoos. 

Gavin Francis, physician and author, considers the many things that happen to bodies in a book called Shape Shifters

Alex E. Proimos / Flickr

How are you feeling lately?  That's a question more easily asked of an individual than a whole community, but somebody's trying. 

A community health assessment is being prepared for Jackson and Josephine Counties, to help hospitals and other health care organizations figure out community needs. 

Right now the process is in the acquisition phase... getting info from people living in the community. 

Jefferson Regional Health Alliance is one player in CHA process. 

Jacoplane, CC BY-SA 3.0,

It is possible that additional doses of vitamin D could reduce the risk of babies being born prematurely. 

But nobody who makes or sells vitamin D can make that claim; the federal government has not approved it. 

With mounting evidence, the Organic & Natural Health Association recently petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to allow vitamin D products to claim reduced risk for pre-term birth. 

James Heilman, MD/Wikimedia

Maybe the last time you heard about a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, it was in a story about Michael Jackson. 

There are benefits to be had from spending time in such a container; in fact one Rogue Valley hospital (Ashland) offers them up for use for wound treatment. 

Dr. Scott Sherr says the uses of HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) go far beyond just treating wounds.  He touts the features of HBOT on a trip up the West Coast. 

Christopher A. Michaels/U.S. Navy

"Does anybody here know CPR?"  It's a scary question to ask, and it apparently presents some challenges to the person who can answer YES. 

A recent study shows that people who know CPR are more likely to give it to a man than a woman. 

So the aftermath of a heart attack can be different, based on gender. 

Audrey Blewer led the study at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Stillwaterising, CC0,

We forget which movie character said "I'm addicted to breathing." 

We all can relate, but Andy Lovering at the University of Oregon understands better than most people HOW we make use of the air we breathe. 

Dr. Lovering runs the Cardiopulmonary & Respiratory Physiology Laboratory, examining issues like how people live well at very high altitudes, and what breathing issues show up later in life for people who were born prematurely. 

Dr. Lovering is our guest in this month's edition of cUriOus: Research Meets Radio. 

Peter Swain, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Complete this phrase: "all work and no play..."  No matter your answer, it's clear we hold work and play as two completely separate entities. 

Creativity expert Marney Makridakis says there's some natural overlap, and there COULD be a whole lot more. 

She explains in her book HOP, SKIP, JUMP: 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life

People in good health were once described as being "in the pink." 

Good health takes on a different hue under the Blue Zones Project in Oregon. 

In blue zones, all kinds of individuals and entities come together to work for better health for all. 

The goal is to reduce obesity, smoking, and chronic disease. 

NIH/Public Domain

It's some of the worst news a person can get: "you have cancer." 

But it happens to many of us, and medical science is constantly looking for remedies.  Those include attention to the emotional needs of cancer patients, which are considerable. 

David Ryan, an oncologist, and Vicki Jackson, a palliative care specialist, work together in a Boston hospital and are the principal authors of the book Living With Cancer.  It is a guide to how patients and families should approach treatment and its many effects. 


When was the last time you did something truly new?  Lu Ann Cahn considered that question after surviving cancer, and decided to turn it into a challenge. 

So she did something new every day for a year, a process she lays out in the book I Dare Me: How I Rebooted and Recharged My Life by Doing Something New Every Day

It wasn't ALL feats of daring; some of it was as low-key as talking to a stranger.