The Zika Virus: What We Know Today

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 29, 2016

The Zika virus is spread by aedes mosquitoes.

The Zika virus is spread by Aedes mosquitoes.

Seemingly hot on the heels of the Ebola outbreak, the news headlines in recent days are dominated by the Zika virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus is spread by Aedes mosquitoes, and the most common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The cause for alarm, according to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, is that the “arrival of the virus in some cases has been associated with a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads.” In a statement calling for the convening of a WHO emergency committee on the virus, she added: “A causal relationship between the Zika virus and birth malformations and neurological syndromes has not yet been established – this is an important point – but it is strongly suspected.”

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Smoking:  When It Comes to Quitting, One Size Does Not Fit All

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 17, 2015

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If you smoke, get ready for all sorts of “quit now” messages, as this year’s annual Great American Smokeout is November 19. That said, if you’re one of the majority of smokers who wants to quit, these messages can seem simplistic and frustrating.

Tobacco/nicotine dependence is what you have, and this addiction is a chronic condition that may require several courses of intervention before you’re cured. And there are numerous approaches to smoking cessation, some of which have a scientific base, and some of which don’t.

In an interview with Dr. Jennifer Haas, an internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who has conducted federally-funded research on smoking cessation, Dr. Haas provides an expert view on what works and why it can work for any individual who is motivated to quit (MTQ) or even cut down.

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