NPR – How unromantic it is to die of tuberculosis in the 21st century
As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa slows and falls from the headlines, there is a temptation among many to view this outbreak as an isolated event. In fact, the opposite is true. Ebola is the tip of a global health crisis: a crisis in our collective ability to deliver the essentials of modern medicine to those who need help the most, in the most timely and efficient manner.
Few diseases illustrate the ongoing nature of this crisis better than tuberculosis, a highly transmissible airborne infection that kills more than 1.5 million people every year. Many people think that tuberculosis — a disease often associated with 19th century Romantic-era poets or artists — has been eradicated. But this is not the case. In fact, the global burden of the disease is staggering.

ABC News – WHO denies politics swayed Ebola emergency declaration
The World Health Organization denied Monday that politics swayed the decision to declare an international emergency over the spread of the Ebola virus last year, despite evidence senior staffers repeatedly discussed the diplomatic and economic fallout of such a move.
A year after WHO declared that Ebola had been found in Guinea, the agency is on the defensive over reports that it dragged its feet when raising the international alarm over the disease. Internal communications published by The Associated Press last week documented senior agency staff discouraging the move about two months before the international alert was finally raised, citing diplomatic relations, mining interests and the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Washington Post – Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease often withheld from patients, report says
Medical professionals are much less likely to tell their patients of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease than diagnoses of other chronic or incurable diseases such as cancer, often because of a reluctance to inflict emotional distress, a nonprofit’s annual report has found.
The Alzheimer’s Association — in its annual look at trends, financial costsand current research into the dementia-causing illness — said Tuesday that less than half the people who have Alzheimer’s reported being told they had the dementia-causing disease.

Lancaster University – High-definition scans suggest effects of smoking may be seen in unborn babies
Researchers at Lancaster and Durham universities said the findings of their pilot study added weight to existing evidence that smoking is harmful to fetuses as they develop in the womb and warranted further investigation.
Professor Brian Francis, of Lancaster University, said: “Technology means we can now see what was previously hidden, revealing how smoking affects the development of the fetus in ways we did not realise. This is yet further evidence of the negative effects of smoking in pregnancy.”
Observing 4-d ultrasound scans, the researchers found that fetuses whose mothers were smokers showed a significantly higher rate of mouth movements than the normal declining rate of movements expected in a fetus during pregnancy.