Public health


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Photo by Bruce Gilden/Magnum

Essay/
Fairness and equality
Poor teeth

If you have a mouthful of teeth shaped by a childhood in poverty, don’t go knocking on the door of American privilege

Sarah Smarsh

Photo by China Daily/Reuters

Essay/
Public health
Medical disrespect

Bullying doctors are not just unpleasant, they are dangerous. Can we change the culture of intimidation in our hospitals?

Ilana Yurkiewicz

Luc gives Tonnin Smit a kiss at their home in Geel, Belgium. It is traditional in the town for families like the Smits to take in people who suffer from mental illness. Photo by Gary Porter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Essay/
Public health
The Geel question

For centuries, a little Belgian town has treated the mentally ill. Why are its medieval methods so successful?

Mike Jay

Photo by Tomas Peters/Reuters

Essay/
Work
The future is emotional

Human jobs in the future will be the ones that require emotional labour: currently undervalued and underpaid but invaluable

Livia Gershon

Photo by Constantine Manos/Magnum

Essay/
Public health
A mad world

A diagnosis of mental illness is more common than ever – did psychiatrists create the problem, or just recognise it?

Joseph Pierre

Luis Moure, an ex-addict, pauses in East Harlem, New York, on 5 August 2015. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty

Essay/
Addiction
Ageing out of drugs

Most addicts just stop using in time, without needing costly treatment. Why do some people walk away while others can’t?

Stacey McKenna

Radiation treatment for lung cancer. Photo by Christopher Anderson/Magnum

Essay/
Public health
Death of cancer

A critical mass of medical knowledge could soon end the death threat of cancer, but politics stands in the way

Vincent DeVita & Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn

Refugee camps have all the ingredients for an epidemic outbreak.  Photo by Stefano Rellandini/Reuters

Essay/
Illness and disease
How plagues really work

The next pandemic will erupt, not from the jungle, but from the disease factories of hospitals, refugee camps and cities

Wendy Orent

Jakob Gutierrez, 5, receives an immunisation shot from a school nurse in Hialeah, Florida. August 2007. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Essay/
Public health
Values and vaccines

Parents who reject vaccination are making a rational choice – they prefer to put their children above the public good

Maggie Koerth-Baker

The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Courtesy Museo Del Prado, Madrid.

Essay/
Illness and disease
The Black Death

At least one in three Europeans and untold millions in Asia died. What was the source of this brutal, lethal efficiency?

Wendy Orent

A coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a threadworm, a parasitic nematode of the small intestines of numerous animals. Photo by Steve Geschmeissner/Science Photo Library

Essay/
Medicine
We need worms

You might think they are disgusting. But our war against intestinal worms has damaged our immune systems and mental health

William Parker

Photo by Richard Baker/Corbis

Essay/
Fairness and equality
Fat but fit?

The medical evidence is overwhelming – obesity is bad for you and it would be a major mistake to give up fighting it

Caroline Weinberg

11-year-old He Zili's grandfather cries as he holds his mentally disabled grandson’s foot. Zili's family say that they have no choice but to restrain him as he tends to attack those around him. November 27, 2013. Photo by William Hong/Reuters

Essay/
Public health
Crippling injustice

Disabled people in modern China are still stigmatised, marginalised and abused. What hope is there for reform?

James Palmer

Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

Essay/
Public health
Risky medicine

Misunderstanding risk factors has led to massive overtreatment of diseases people don’t have and probably never will

Jeff Wheelwright

Foreskin Man to the rescue. Image courtesy Matthew Hess

Essay/
Human reproduction
The first cut

Most American boys are circumcised as a matter of course. Now, many of them feel violated. Should the practice be banned?

Rhys Southan

Nepalese woman Pabitra Giri prepares to sleep in a Chhaupadi hut during her menstruation period in Surkhet District, some 520km west of Kathmandu. 3 February, 2017. Photo by Prakesh Mathema/AFP/Getty

Essay/
History
The taboo of menstruation

All around the world, and throughout history, women have been shamed, sequestered, and medicalised for bleeding regularly

Janie Hampton

Gloves drying after being disinfected at the Elwa hospital run by French NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres in Monrovia, Liberia during the current Ebola outbreak. Photo by Dominique Faget/Afp/Getty

Essay/
Illness and disease
The calculus of contagion

In the battle against disease, the difference between a raging epidemic and a passing fever comes down to a single number

Adam Kucharski

Photo by Antonio Zambardino / Contrasto / eyevine

Essay/
Illness and disease
HIV of the mind

HIV is preventable, yet it’s still with us. Is it time for all, gay and straight, to stop framing sex as a lethal weapon?

Jill Neimark

From the Chansonnier of Zeghere van Male (1542), Bruges. Cambrai, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 128B, Folio 116v. Courtesy ISMPL.org

Essay/
Environmental history
Human crap

We are demigods of discards – but our copious garbage became a toxic burden only with the modern cult of ‘disposability’

Gabrielle Hecht