Laura Kahn

Laura H. Kahn

Articles by Laura H. Kahn

3 November 2008

The role of bats in disease transmission

Laura H. Kahn

Bats are considered mysterious creatures and often generate fear. Specifically, South American vampire bats feed on animal blood and possess a legendary lore. But more importantly, bats are the host species for deadly diseases such as rabies, Nipah and Hendra viruses, and SARS. There's also evidence that they continue to serve as sources of novel emerging viruses.

14 October 2008

Strong health care equals strong emergency response

Laura H. Kahn

In previous columns, I've discussed the consequences that will result during a pandemic or bioterrorist attack from not insuring all Americans and providing adequate primary care--see "The Security Impact of the Uninsured" and "The Exodus of General Medical Physicians." What I haven't discussed is that the U.S.

9 September 2008

Health-care realities during a pandemic

Laura H. Kahn

Despite the availability of antiviral medications and intensive care units, mortality rates for the 385 humans infected with avian influenza remain high. Virtually all of the victims have been from developing countries, with the case fatality rate in children younger than 15 years of age reaching  almost 90 percent.

8 August 2008

Biosecurity lessons from the Bruce Ivins case

Laura H. Kahn

We'll never know if Bruce Ivins, a former U.S. government microbiologist, perpetrated the 2001 anthrax letter killings, but the circumstantial evidence is pretty convincing. The DNA of the anthrax strain used in the killings matched the anthrax strain in his laboratory. Searches of his home in Frederick, Maryland, turned up "hundreds" of letters similar to those used in the terrorist attacks.

16 July 2008

Food-borne illness: Attack of the killer tomatoes

Laura H. Kahn

Imagine sitting down at a restaurant and enjoying a delicious meal that includes fresh tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. Then, 12 to 72 hours later, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and a fever develop that can last up to a week--possibly, from those tomatoes and/or jalapeno peppers.

16 June 2008

How evil can prevail in state-sanctioned biowarfare research

Laura H. Kahn

Some people consider physician Wouter Basson South Africa's Josef Mengele. During the 1998 Truth and Reconciliation hearings on Project Coast, South Africa's apartheid-era chemical and biowarfare programs, Schalk Janse van Rensburg, a veterinarian, stated that Basson, the program's head, wanted to devise a way to kill individuals that would appear undetectable to a forensics laboratory.

13 May 2008

The furor over genetically modified foods

Laura H. Kahn

The United Nations estimates that world population will top 9 billion people by 2050. Combined with the anticipated consequences of global warming such as drought, this could lead to devastating food shortages.

16 April 2008

In pursuit of international biosecurity oversight

Laura H. Kahn

Without a doubt, the implementation of bioresearch oversight must be an international effort. The United States has tried to take the lead in this area by mandating its National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity to foster international collaboration when reviewing dual-use bioresearch.

5 April 2008

An interview with Laura H. Kahn

Laura H. Kahn
16 March 2008

The potential dangers in medical isotope production

Laura H. Kahn

The medical isotope metastable technetium 99 emits gamma rays that physicians heavily rely upon to examine how organs such as hearts, lungs, and kidneys function. Technetium 99 is so beneficial to the medical community that it's used in approximately 80-85 percent of the world's diagnostic imaging procedures (cardiac perfusion scans and bone scans among them) and 12 million procedures in the United States alone. The size of the global nuclear imaging and therapeutics market is estimated at $3.7 billion per year.