Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • U.S. task force has issued blood pressure guidelines.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives less-expensive option, approves first generation versions of Plavix (blood thinners).
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered forbidding the state dental board to restrict non-dentists from the teeth whitening services in Richmond, Va. According to AMA this decision might change medical practice regulation.
  • U.S. says Medicaid overpaid $ 700 M to New York State.
  • Missouri legislators have agreed to compromise on the debate over insurance coverage of contraception, abortion and sterilization.
  • The FDA advisory committees have endorsed two new HIV drugs and an arthritis drug.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services has announced a two-year pay boost for the primary care physicians who treat Medicaid patients.
  • According to the guidelines released on Wednesday, states should submit  details to the Federal government by November 16th on how they will run online insurance market places.
  • The ESC guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure developed by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in collaboration with the Heart Failure Association (HFA) of the ESC was launched at the Heart Failure Congress 2012, 19-22 May, in Belgrade, Serbia. These are published in the European Heart Journal.
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CIFA) is warning the public not to consume the Gills Onion brand Fresh Diced Red Onions because the product might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
  • As a part of e-health initiatives to improve primary health services in rural and underdeveloped areas, the union health ministry of India has given Rs 18.878 crore to states to facilitate establishment of Telemedicine network.

Programs

  • The Parsons Foundation gives $5million to fight HIV/AIDS in Arizona.
  • UAE school children to learn the benefits of milk in a month-long nationwide campaign. It will target first-grade students.
  • The CMS innovation center awarded 26 grants to a variety of healthcare organizations. The purpose is to improve the healthcare delivery.
  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) disclosed that its Philippines office has raised $28.5 M funds in the year till date. This money will be used to promote reproductive and maternal health- one of the country’s Millennium Development Goals.

Research

  • According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, people who have bachelor’s degree or higher live about nine years longer than those who don’t graduate from the high school.
  • Besides urinary tract health benefits, a new study confirmed Cranberry’s benefits in boosting body’s immunity. The study also showed that consuming its juice significantly increased the levels of an important antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD).
  • A study indicates that the artificial sweeteners might cause inflammatory bowel disease.  They contain saccharin and sucralose which decrease the gut bacteria and weaken and destroy the gut barrier.
  • A research study found genes which connect football, military and Alzheimer’s disease together.
  • Chilean berry (maqui berry) extract might help to fight type-2 diabetes. The study shows that the anthocyanin’s- delphinidin 3-sambobioside-5-glucoside (D3S5G)-demonstrated insulin-like effects in muscles and liver cells in mice.
  • A study demonstrates the long-term effectiveness of a classroom-based prevention program targeting teen drug use. This study tracked teens that participated in the Bolvin Life Skills Training (LST) program as 7th graders and found that their participation in this program produced long lasting reduction in drug use 12 years later.
  • A study reveals that the healthcare law would save consumers nearly $300 per year. The research says that the saving will be even greater for the people between ages of 55 and 64.
  • According to a new governmental analysis, the foods which come under category of non-healthy food are more costly than the healthy food.
  • According to an 18-month long study conducted by the Rand Corp, about 96% of restaurant entrees exceed United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) limits for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat.
  • Healthy dieting in pregnancy may be helpful. Study reveals that up to 40% of women gain more than the recommended weight during pregnancy. This excess weight is associated with a number of problems.
  • According to a study, mental distraction can help in relieving pain. The findings show that this isn’t just a mental process, but also physical mechanism that reduces the amount of pain signals travelling from the spinal cord to the brain.
  • An analysis done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reveal the rate of current cigarette use among the U.S. teens decreased from nearly 12 percent in 2004 to about 8 percent in 2010.
  • A study indicates a possible risk between certain sunscreens use and chances of development of endometriosis. The chemicals known as benzophenone-type UV filters not only protect the skin from UV rays but they are easily absorbed into the blood stream and mimic the effects of the female hormone estrogen.
  • A study examining the sleeping behaviors of the parents whose children suffer from epilepsy say that they often lose sleep over child’s epilepsy.
  • A new U.S. study finds that government workplace safety inspections reduce on-the-job injuries and related costs without hurting company profits.
  • A study done on mice show that though it’s important what we eat but also when we eat. The scientists suggest eating too many hours a day may also contribute to obesity.
  • Harvard university researchers say that the bad fat may affect brain memory.

 

Diseases & Disasters

  • A moderate earthquake rattled an area in east Texas on May 17th. It had a magnitude of 4.3.
  • A maginitude-6.2 earthquake shook down walls and knocked out electricity in parts of far-northern Chile on Monday, May 14th, 2012.
  • Cluster of Influenza A cases in Castle Peak Hospital in Hong Kong.
  • Kenya is facing BCG vaccine shortage.
  • The water supply to tens of thousands of households near Tokyo was cut off on Saturday after local checks found it was contaminated with cancer causing chemical- Formaldehyde. A contamination of 0.2000 milligrams of formaldehyde per liter – more than two times the 0.80 milligram national limit- was detected.

 

Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies

  • The Ministry of Health (Angola) with World Bank and Total E&P Angola has launched a project for the Reinforcement of Municipal Health Services. It aims to contribute to the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rate in the country.
  • American Embassy in Abidjan, Cote d’lviore, has sponsored the project launched by the Ministry of Health – HIV/AIDS hotline- to enable the public- especially the youth-to get information about the disease.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued new guidelines for couples in which one partner is HIV positive and the other is not. The guidelines for so-called “discordant” couples are being praised by UNAID, Doctors without Borders and others.
  • Federal health officials endorsed a decision by their advisor to let publication of two controversial bird flu studies to prepare the world against a possible deadly pandemic.
  • Indonesian tobacco companies will be forced by the government to place photos of horrific health problems caused by smoking on ever pack and advisers will be banned from showing cigarettes under a planned governmental regulation.

Programs

  • Jeffrey Model Foundation joins 20 countries to Launch World Primary Immunodeficiency Week from April 22- 29. The campaign focuses on early diagnosis and access to appropriate treatment, through public awareness and physician education.
  • Eurostat Press Office has released Health in the EU27 in 2010. According to it, at the age of 65, both men and women in the member states are expected to live a further 9 years in a healthy condition.
  • Edo (state in Nigeria) receives N1.8 Billion cervical cancer vaccines from an international donor agency. The vaccines will be administered to the girl’s ages between 9 and 13 years in the state.
  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that obesity and diet related illness could emerge as major challenges for Europe and Central Asia while hunger will only be a minor problem.
  • Latest findings in Breastfeeding Science presented at Medela’s 7th international breastfeeding and lactation symposium in Vienna, Austria on April 20-21, 2012. Presentations include insights into the unique properties of human milk, breastfeeding and medication, and stem cells in human milk.

Research

  • Scientists of University of Edinburgh have found a key protein which is common to many potentially fatal forms of malaria. It could help to develop vaccines or drugs against life-threatening cases of the infection.
  • A study by U.S. National Institute on Aging showed that more daily exercises, even doing housework can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This prospective, observational cohort study involved 716 participants without dementia who participated in the Rush Memory and Aging Project.
  • A survey has revealed the misuse of pesticides, some of them banned, in northern Ghana is affecting the health of the farmers, sometimes with fatal consequences, and contaminating the crops.
  • A research study shows Ayurvedic cure of HIV/ AIDS might be possible by the Neem tree.
  • A study suggests second-generation drug used for hypertension aids heart function independent of blood pressure effect.
  • A study done by the Japanese scientists raise hope for treatment of baldness.
  • Report shows a link between money, education and life expectancy.
  • University of Illinois researchers have shown how soy protein could significantly reduce fat accumulation and triglycerides in the livers of obese patients by partially restoring the function of a key signaling pathway in the organ.
  • An Irish medical study confirms swine flu jab caused increased narcolepsy among those with age groups between five to nineteen years. International experts suggest a number of factors might have contributed to this increased risk.
  • Discovery of a yeast prion which helps cells to survive.
  • A study published in the journal Biofabrication, describes a new method for making medical devices called nerve guidance conduits or NGC’s which may help severely damaged nerves to regrow and restore function.
  • Neuroscientists have discovered key protein responsible for controlling nerve cell protection. It is responsible for controlling the chemical process which reduce or enhance protection mechanism for nerve cells in the brain.
  • The researchers at Columbia Medical Center have identified a molecular pathway that controls the retention and release of the brain’s stem cells- ‘Housekeeping’ mechanism.
  • A team of scientists have shown that the vessels grown from donor cells are good and natural alternative to synthetic vessels. Animal trials have shown promising results.

Diseases and Disasters

  • Earthquake in Chile. Two people died of heart attack.
  • Mexico’s Popo volcano throws glowing rocks. Residents of the semirural communities near the volcano have reported hearing hours of ‘low-pitched roaring’.
  • About 14 students in Bangladesh have been reported suffering from H1N1.
  • In Sri Lanka, dengue fever killed 38, infects 10,000 in a few months.
  • A mystery skin disease killed 19 in Vietnam. Officials seeking international assistance on this issue.

 

Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

  • Canadian government looks to slash $377 million in foreign aid (for food and other services) to twelve of the world’s poorest countries over the next three years.
  • Alaska’s state Rep. Wes Keller will let autism insurance bill pass.
  • Alaska’s senate passes retirement system bill- offering state workers choice of retirement systems.
  • Texas board approves rules on use of stem cells.
  • States seek curb on patient bills for costly drugs.

Programs

  • A United Nations (UN) backed campaign aims to vaccinate more than 111 million children against polio in 20 African countries in just four days.
  • The Sadc HIV and Aids Fund has donated US $5000,000 to coordinate a pilot project that focuses on capacity building for communities to handle issues related to the HIV pandemic in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana.
  • An FDA (Food and Drug Administration) panel has unanimously recommended approval of what would become the first ultrasound devise in the U.S. approved for breast cancer screening. It is called U-Systems’ somo•v® Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) system.
  • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will devote 60 million US dollars to renovate/ build 65 health centers around Ethiopia. This project supports Ethiopia’s Accelerated Expansion of Primary Health Service Coverage program which aims to increase the number of health centers around the country in order to have one health center for 25,000 people.
  • Horn of Africa Emergency Health and Nutrition Project is delivering emergency health and nutrition services to refugees in the Horn of Africa and is supporting refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. The international development Association (IDA) grant supports this program of health, nutrition, and water and sanitation service delivery.
  • The 12th International Conference about African and Afro-American culture was held on April 16 in Cuba.  Its main attraction was the symposium about medicine and culture
  • The government of the Gambia in collaboration with African Development Bank and Africa Water Facility (AWF) has launched two sister projects of the National Water Sector Reform (NWSR) and Rural Water Supply Sanitation (RWSS) projects respectively, valued at US $10million, at the Coca Ocean Resort and Spar in Bijilo.
  • The Ghana Health Service has introduced two new vaccines for the cure and treatment of pneumonia and diarrhea in children.
  • Nairobi has been selected as the Kenya’s headquarter of the Global Plan for Elimination of HIV among Children and Keeping their Mother Alive.
  • The World Bank Board has approved financing of US$150 million for the Nigeria State Health Investment Project. Nigeria will also receive a US $21.5 million grant from the Health Results Innovation Trust Fund, supported by the UK’s Department for International Development and the Government of Norway.
  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure San Diego has announced that it will give $1.2 million to 19 local breast health organizations.
  • The World Bank has approved, on the behalf of a global trust fund, a grant of $3.6 million to increase access to affordable maternal health services for the low-income families living in the Eastern Visayas region (Philippines).
  • The US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a grant of $40million for the development of the Bangladesh health sector.
  • The Tripura Government (in India) has launched an ambitious program to make its capital Agartala a Hepatitis free city, considering northeastern India’s vulnerability to this highly contagious disease.
  • Haiti launches anti-cholera vaccination campaign.

 Research

  • Studies have revealed that aristolochic acid (AA) leads to kidney failure and upper urinary tract cancer (UUC) in individuals exposed to them. AA is found in some plant species that have been used in herbal medicine for centuries.
  • According to recent study dental amalgam is linked to environmental concerns and indirect health risks. About 50 percent of mercury entering local waste treatment plants comes from dental amalgam wastes. Once it gets deposited certain microorganisms can change elemental mercury to methyl mercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish, shellfish and animals that eat fish.
  • Austrian scientists at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research have found that overproduction of a growth hormone can cause liver cancer. The signaling molecule known as STAT 5 is involved in development of liver cancer due to the overproduction of growth hormone.
  • According to a study extracts from the spice turmeric, may help to prevent the people from heart attacks who had undergone a recent bypass surgery. This spice is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • A study published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition reported that eating nuts result in higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL, high-density lipoprotein) and lower levels of C-reactive protein which can trigger chronic diseases including heart disease.
  • Researchers have uncovered thirty-two previously unidentified genetic regions associated with osteoporosis and fracture. Variations in the DNA sequences in these regions confer either risk or protection from the bone-weakening disease.
  • Studies reveal that high fat diets like the Atkins diet and the Western diet promote colon cancer growth and metastasis.
  • Study shows dental sealants effective in adults as well in preventing caries.
  • A study concludes that the diets with low carbohydrate prone people towards the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
  • A research involving X-ray crystallography offers new clues on how cancer or Alzheimer’s disease might develop.
  • SMARTer Prostrate Cancer treatment (bloodless prostrate surgery with no incisions) successful in treating the disease and ensuring quality of life after prostate cancer.
  • A new compound has been reported to prevent the spread of brain cancer in animals.

Diseases & Disasters

  • Tornados in mid-west US.
  • Earthquake with tsunami warning in parts of India (Tamil Nadu).
  • Raw Yellowfin Tuna product associated with Salmonella Bareilly outbreak recalled.

 

Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies:

Programs

Research

Diseases & Disasters

 

 

Global Health News Last Week

From March 28 to April 1, panelists working in Canada, Uganda, the United States, and Zambia will lead a discussion in GHDonline.org on ways to build sustainable partnerships to strengthen surgical and anesthesia capacity in resource-poor settings. More information can be found here.

March 22 was World Water Day. Blogger Tom Murphy has collected some interesting videos on PSI’s blog here.
Elizabeth Taylor, Hollywood icon and longtime advocate for the fight against HIV/AIDS, passed away on March 23 at age 78.
March 24 was World TB Day.

POLICY

  • China, the world’s largest tobacco producer and home to a third of all smokers, has issued a national ban on smoking in hotels, restaurants and other indoor public spaces.
  • Fears are growing among HIV/AIDS sufferers in the Ukraine amid claims from some patients that they have been denied life-saving medicines by authorities during a crackdown on drug substitution therapy.
  • The WHO has announced a list of 30 essential medicines for treating common diseases of mothers and children that can be used as the basis for procurement and supply of medicines and guide local medicine production.

RESEARCH

  • Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Dublin City University and Universidad de Valparaiso (Chile) have developed a self-powered, low-cost chip that can test blood samples and diagnose diseases like tuberculosis and HIV within minutes.
  • Researchers have discovered that capsaicin, the compound that makes jalapeños, red chilies, and the famous habanero pepper spicy, inhibit the production of cholera toxins.
  • Results from a recent study show that people with HIV who change antiretroviral treatment regimens due to side effects are at higher risk for developing drug resistance.
  • The Pakistan Medical Association’s 2011 annual report found that 400,000 infants die in the first year of their life each year and 1 out of 10 children die by the age of five.
  • A study by researchers from Johns Hopkins University found that child diarrhea deaths could be almost halved if currently available interventions such as breastfeeding, hand washing with soap, and improved household water treatment were widely implemented.
  • Global health and development blogger Amanda Makulec shares seven key ideas that she took home from the Global Health Metrics and Evaluation Conference in Seattle.

DISEASES AND DISASTERS

  • Despite setbacks, work continues at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant. Meanwhile, in addition to radiation-contaminated vegetables, officials are now warning families to not give Tokyo tap water to infants due to elevated levels of radiation found in the water supply. The World Bank estimates that the earthquake and tsunami have caused as much as $235 billion in damage to Japan and that it will take five years for the nation to recover.
  • The crisis in Côte d’Ivoire continues as well, as the country’s healthcare system is strained by the violence.
  • Leprosy, which has been officially “eliminated” in India, still affects hundreds of thousands of people who are shunned by society. There are 130,000 new cases diagnosed in the country each year.
  • Leaders at the 26th Annual Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International challenged the World Health Organization and countries around the world to take action on the dramatic surge in the global incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.