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Environmental Health Drones

Via Make Magazine comes word of an aerial drone that inadvertently happened upon a meat packing plant in Dallas that was polluting a nearby river with pig blood.

Understanding Fitness Deserts

A couple months ago, Good had a great feature about the idea of a fitness desert--essentially, a place where, due to some combination of environmental and social factors, getting out, walking around, and exercising is unusually difficult. As far as I can tell, the piece, by Alex Schmidt, is one of the first to use the term fitness desert--and I'd guess, in part, this is because coming up with any sort of clear definition of one is complex.

Investing in Local Communities to Improve Health

The New England Journal of Medicine has a fascinating study examining the effects of a low-income housing program impacted participants' health--the results of which suggest that, at least in many instances, improving the local neighborhoods where people live does far more to improve health than trying to tackle health problems on a case-by-case basis.

Can I Have a Featherless Chicken and a Side of Healthy Bacon?

The New Scientist has a great round-up of the various efforts geneticists are undertaking to modify farm animals. The story doesn't break any new ground, per se, but it's remarkable for the sheer breadth of ways that genetic engineers are attempting to redesign animals.


As the New Scientist describes it:

Your Diet--and Your Job--Could Benefit from a Walk in the Park

Trouble resisting a late night dessert or shutting out distractions to finish up a project at work? The blog New Value Streams points to an interesting new study suggesting a pretty simple solution to help with either problem: Go for a walk in a park or among some trees.

Helping others see the pollution you hear

As part of our ongoing work examining the intersection of health and citizen-environmental monitoring, we are always on the look out for new products and services that promote this connection.

Hospital food—not so yucky any more

Rarely does one hear about tasty—let alone healthy—hospital food.  That's about to change at Stanford Hospital and Clinics, located adjacent to Palo Alto, California.  Yesterday, the Hospital announced the launch of a new inpatient menu that will feature organic, locally grown, sustainable ingredients. The initiative was developed with local chef/restaurateur Jesse Cool, who has been a leader in healthy eating and sustainable food practices for decades. (With apologies to chef Cool for a comparison she probably has heard too many times and may not appreciate, when I first moved to Palo Alto from Berkeley, my impression was that Jesse Cool was the Alice Waters of the area, and that her landmark restaurant, the Flea Street Cafe, was the Chez Panisse of the Peninsula.)

Asthma Alerts Through Social Networks

Arizona public health researchers are looking into updating asthma patients about environmental pollution through Twitter, Facebook and other social networking platforms. Under the proposal, Arizona residents could register with a publicly run program and receive updates about pollution and other environmental triggers for asthma that have been culled from environmental sensors.

The Green Hospital

We've been looking into Green Health for a while now, so it's nice to see this Boston Globe item on an experimental design for the green hospital room. Designed to be both sustainable and cost-effective and pictured below.

Climate change and public health

This Reuters headline--"Climate change seen aiding spread of deadly diseases"--brought back memories of our Green Health map and conference.  In 2003, the World Health Organization published a report on  climate change as a significant and emerging threat to public health, noting that many important diseases (such as malaria and dengue, as well as malnutrition and diarrhea) are highly sensitive to changing temperatures
and precipitation. 

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