A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Does Vitamin D Protect Against COVID-19?

Does Vitamin D Protect Against COVID-19?

Q: Does vitamin D help protect against COVID-19?

A: Some scientists have hypothesized vitamin D might be helpful, but there is no direct evidence that vitamin D can prevent COVID-19 or lessen disease severity. Nevertheless, it should be part of a healthy lifestyle.

No Evidence to Back COVID-19 Ibuprofen Concerns

No Evidence to Back COVID-19 Ibuprofen Concerns

Q: Does ibuprofen make COVID-19 worse?

A: There is no evidence that ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can make COVID-19 cases more severe. You should consult your doctor before changing medications.

No Link Between Harvard Scientist Charles Lieber and Coronavirus

No Link Between Harvard Scientist Charles Lieber and Coronavirus

Q. Is it true that federal agents arrested Harvard professor Charles Lieber for creating the coronavirus?

A: No. Lieber, a nanoscientist, was charged for lying about his participation in a Chinese recruitment program and his affiliation with a Chinese university. He is not accused of being a spy and has no connection to the new coronavirus.

The Facts on Mental Illness and Mass Shootings

The Facts on Mental Illness and Mass Shootings

Q: Do people with serious mental health disorders pose a greater risk of becoming mass shooters?
A: People with mental illnesses are somewhat more likely to be violent than those without a diagnosis. But a majority are never violent, and very little is known specifically about mass murder.

Amazon Doesn’t Produce 20% of Earth’s Oxygen

Amazon Doesn’t Produce 20% of Earth’s Oxygen

Q: Does the Amazon produce 20% of the world’s oxygen?

A: No. Scientists estimate the percentage is closer to 6 to 9%, and the Amazon ultimately consumes nearly all of that oxygen itself. 

When Are Heartbeats Audible During Pregnancy?

When Are Heartbeats Audible During Pregnancy?

Q: When is the human heart fully developed, and when are heartbeats audible during pregnancy?

A: A developing heart has all of its primary structures after about nine weeks of pregnancy. Some forms of ultrasound can detect cardiac activity in an embryo in the sixth week, but a heartbeat wouldn’t be audible until about 10 weeks on a Doppler fetal monitor.

Did the EPA Just Approve Use of Asbestos in the U.S.?

Did the EPA Just Approve Use of Asbestos in the U.S.?

Q. Did the Environmental Protection Agency change its rules to allow companies to use asbestos in manufacturing?

A. No. Asbestos is already allowed in numerous products. A proposed EPA rule would prohibit the use of asbestos in certain products unless granted EPA approval.

Did the Polio Vaccine Cause Cancer?

Did the Polio Vaccine Cause Cancer?

Q: Did people develop cancer because of the polio vaccine?

A: There are no known cases, and it’s very unlikely. In the 1950s and 1960s, people did receive polio vaccines contaminated with a virus that causes cancer in rodents. But research suggests this virus doesn’t cause cancer in humans.

The Facts on Human-Animal Chimeras

The Facts on Human-Animal Chimeras

Q: Does the National Institutes of Health fund research on human-animal chimeras, or organisms that are part-human, part-other animal? 
A: With some exceptions, the NIH doesn’t fund research on human-animal chimeras. But the agency has proposed a rule to widen the scope of research it funds in this area.

Warming to Blame for Western Wildfires?

Warming to Blame for Western Wildfires?

Q: Did climate change cause the wildfires out West?

A: Scientists say a hot and dry summer — conditions more likely in a warmer world — caused widespread wildfires in Western states. But land use changes also have played a role.