Until very recently, the pantheons of the world’s religions swelled with gods and divine beings to ward off calamities. And none loomed so large as smallpox. From the inky beginnings of civilization, the disfiguring disease slowly spread over the entire Eurasian continent and North Africa. In the last millennium, smallpox alone has caused 10 percent of all human deaths, including half a billion in the 20th century. In China, the goddess ...

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It’s no secret that the United States is in the midst of an opiate epidemic. Almost 60,000 people died last year from overdoses, and overdose deaths are now the most common killer of Americans under the age of 50. Physicians and our patients have finally started the difficult conversation about what it will take to stop the suffering. But what’s been missing from this conversation is that this is not ...

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