City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Tweets That She Has High-Risk HPV

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Image via Twitter
City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito used Twitter Sunday night to announce that she's been diagnosed with high-risk human papillomavirus, or HPV, a common sexually transmitted infection. The speaker added that she needs to undergo a biopsy to test for cervical cancer. The announcement immediately generated a wave of headlines, with the Daily News describing it as a "health bombshell".

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You're Almost Definitely Not Going to Die: An Ebola Primer

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Ebola virus, just kinda sitting there, not coming to get you.
The Ebola virus outbreak in west Africa is definitely nothing to trifle with. It's killed more than 800 people already, in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria, and Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization said Friday that the "outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it." That's not the kind of thing you want to hear.

And with news that two people have been treated at New York hospitals with possible symptoms of the disease, there's some understandable anxiety. But take a deep breath.

Here are a few things to know:

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New York City's Paid Sick Leave Law Kicks In Today

Categories: Health, Work

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How many of you are reading this while home with the "flu?"
New York City workers can begin using their paid sick leave today, as part of a measure originally passed by the city council in 2013 over the veto threats of former mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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New York City's Health Department Would Like to Remind You Fake Weed Is Dangerous and Stupid

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Just don't.
New York City emergency rooms are seeing an outbreak of fake marijuana-related illnesses, according to the city's health department. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a warning on Sunday urging people not to buy or use "synthetic cannabinoids," which are often sold at head shops under names like K2, Spice, and Green Giant. The agency says it's gotten reports of 15 fake weed-related emergency room visits over the past two days, concentrated in East Harlem, Central Harlem and Chelsea.

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Scientists Discover Mutation That May Hold Key to Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Categories: Health

Ellen Weinstein
Our October cover story on a girl who died from Type 1 diabetes.
In October 2009, pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Arlene Mercado judged that five-year-old Claudialee Nicanor-Gomez was on track for type 2 diabetes. As we detailed in our October feature, Type Miscast, Claudialee and her mother Irma visited Mercado two more times over the next six months. At the end of each meeting, Mercado repeated the same directive to the mother and daughter: "Diet and exercise." And if Claudialee's blood sugar still continued to rise to the point of full-blown diabetes, Mercado would consider prescribing some medication to enhance the effect of the lifestyle change. Type 2 diabetes approaches you like a train and all you can do is hope you hit the breaks soon enough.

But this treatment paradigm may soon shift. Researchers have discovered a rare gene mutation that may hold the key to preventing type 2 diabetes among those at high risk for the disease.

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Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benedetto's Bill to Ban Youth Football Has Little Support

Christopher Farber
Brownsville's Mo Better Jaguars.
America's views on youth football are shifting quickly. This became particularly apparent on Thursday, when ESPN reported that participation in Pop Warner dropped by 10 percent from 2010 to 2012, and Robert Morris University released the results from a poll showing that 40 percent of respondents supported a ban on kids playing tackle football before high school.

But if these stats are early signs of football's decline, they are very early signs. Football is America's Game, entrenched in the culture. It is the product that drives a multi-billion-dollar company. It is the thing we watch most each week and each year. "It is righteous, and only a jackass would cancel it," Hunter S. Thompson wrote in 2004,

Into that quicksand steps Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, who in February became the first legislator in America to introduce a bill banning youth football in his state. His Thursday stood in contrast to the data about how much people were turning against football.

"I received a awful lot of criticism about this bill," Benedetto, who represents the 82nd Assembly District in the East Bronx, said at a press conference that day, the Times-Union reported. "I have certainly received dozens of emails for and against -- mostly against -- this proposal, I'll be honest."

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New York City's Diabetes Death Rate Has Hit an All-Time High

Categories: Health

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Someone dies a diabetes-related death every 90 minutes in New York City, according to a disturbing new report out from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. That's 11 percent of citywide deaths in 2011, or nearly double the proportion it was in 1990, when 6 percent of citywide deaths had diabetes-related causes.

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Soda Ban Appeal Set For June While Mayor Responds To "Anti-Bloomberg" Bill


After New York State Supreme Court Judge Tingling struck down the soda ban on Monday as "arbitrary and capricious," the administration confidently filed a notice the following day to get this whole thing sorted out. And it looks like we have a time frame: an appeals court has agreed to hear the soda ban case in the first week of June. Restaurants have, like, four months to gorge on fizz.

Moving on. Yesterday, we went into some detail about a little law making its way through the Mississippi statehouse; the legislation, deemed the "Anti-Bloomberg" act, would revert the power of consumer regulation back into the legislature's hands.

By doing so, no Mississippian municipality can ban sodas or put those pesky letter grades on restaurants. Take that, Big Government!

"You know, Saturday Night Live couldn't write this stuff."

Enter Bloomberg.

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Wait, So What Happened With Bloomberg's Soda Ban? Welp...

Yesterday afternoon, we were seriously busy writing up a post entitled "The Basics To Today's Soda Ban" a la the one we wrote for the recent MetroCard hike. It was meant to be a symbolic post, an end to the drama revolving around this damn ban and a settlement on its intended enactment this fateful morning in March. But then yesterday happened.

As you probably have heard by now, a New York Supreme Court judge named Milton Tingling Jr. (who just happened to preside over a case involving fizz) struck down the soda ban, arguing that the bill was "fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences." Yes, the day before the soda ban was to take effect, it was struck down for its obvious loopholes - all of which led Bloomberg to demand Albany take on a statewide ban.

So what happens next? How long do we have our Big Gulps for now? Is all hope lost for City Hall to have its anti-pop way?

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5 Ways to Have the Flu in New York City

Categories: Health

The only way you haven't heard about the flu outbreak is if you are still indoors fighting last year's flu. It's here, it's disgusting, and it's a big fan of the film Contagion. While a new flu vaccine called "Flublok" was just approved today an FDA spokesperson told the NYTimes that the timing of the approval is unrelated to the current flu season.

However, just because you will most likely get the flu that doesn't mean you have to do it without flare. Here's how to do the flu New York-style.

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