Posts By Frank Gillingham, MD

While most were unaware of it, June 14th was “World Blood Donor Day”, celebrated internationally to encourage those eligible to donate blood at least once a year. Indeed, although 95% of Americans either receive blood during their lifetime, or know someone who has, only about 8% of Americans currently donate blood. The requirements are fairly simple: be 16 or older,…

Joran van der Sloot was arrested last week for the alleged murder of a 21 year old Peruvian woman who accompanied him back to his hotel room in the early morning hours.  Van der Sloot, best known for his connection with the disappearance of high school student Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005, confessed to the murder, claiming that he became…

A British doctor, whose research linked autism to common vaccines, was stripped of his license to practice medicine earlier this week. Dr. Andrew Wakefield, whose reports in 1998 found an increased incidence of autism in children who received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccines, and whose study influenced millions of parents to forego vaccinations for their children, was found to…

Last month, the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever (RVF), a viral illness that generally produces relatively mild symptoms of fever, headache, and muscle pains but on rare occasions can lead to internal bleeding, inflammation of the brain and eyes, and even death. This news raises some eyebrows, coming on the…

Last month we discussed the risk of “virtual kidnapping”, the practice of extorting funds from the families of those travelling abroad without an actual kidnapping taking place. We’d like to highlight an important preventive measure. The United States Department of State strongly encourages all those who are travelling abroad, particularly if the itinerary includes underdeveloped or politically unstable countries, to…

Despite the World Health Organization’s warning last Friday that Icelanders and Europeans may have to stay inside to avoid respiratory problems once the Icelandic volcanic ash begins to settle, most experts agree that the effects should be minimal. “There is a massive diluting effect in the atmosphere as it gets dispersed by wind which means the amount reaching land is…

On April 1 the Ministry of Health of Chad reported that during the first three months of 2010, over 1500 cases of suspected meningococcal meningitis were diagnosed. Meningococcal meningitis is a serious bacterial infection that attacks the lining of the brain. Untreated, it is fatal in about 50% of cases. Even with treatment, mortality rates average about 10%. Of those…

Tourism has exploded in the Central Asia region.  The exquisite mountains, closed for many years to the West, now attract growing numbers of foreign visitors who are drawn by their natural and unspoiled beauty.  Government officials, hungry for the revenue that tourism generates, are fearful of international scandal.  As a result, there is little transparency when it comes to disclosing…

On Sunday, March 14, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for the Northern Mexican States of Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua, and authorized the departure of the dependents of U.S. government personnel from consulates in the Northern Mexican border cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros until April 12.  The travel warning supersedes the prior…

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