Global Health Weekly News Round-Up

Politics and Policies

  • Health officials from 194 countries endorsed a immunization strategy – the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) – at the 65th World Health Assembly- to prevent millions of deaths by 2020.
  • The New Jersey Assembly has passed a bill that provides legal protection for people who summon medical help when they witness a drug overdose.


  • The United States government has urged baby boomers (any one born between the year 1945 to the year 1965) to get tested for the Hepatitis C virus. It is estimated that they are at a greater risk of contracting this virus through drug use or receiving blood transfusion before widespread screening for virus became available in 1992.
  • Rwanda introduces new vaccine for Rotavirus disease. This virus accounts for 8.8% of all under five deaths in this country. This vaccine has been incorporated in the country’s routine immunization program.
  • The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to implement policies to improve Africa’s health. It is working with Tanzania, Senegal and Mozambique as well as sub-regional blocs to improve their health systems.
  • The United Nations (UN) has mobilized 7 million U.S. dollars to support the response plan of the Senegalese government in its fight against food shortage.
  • California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) awards $69M in stem cell research grants targeting ‘bubble boy’ syndrome, other diseases.


  • A study says that individual health policies are failing to meet the standards of coverage set by federal health care law.
  • A study has found that the over the counter drugs can help to reduce the risk of heart attack. The researchers found that the combination of selenium yeast and the vitamin- like compound coenzyme Q10 significantly reduced the risk of heart attacks in elderly.
  • According to a study conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) about 39 percent of 12 major cancers can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
  • RNA breakthrough transforms the idea of gene control. The researchers have discovered that messenger RNA, the mirror image copy of DNA from which all proteins is manufactured, can be methylated also.
  • The researchers at the Duke University Medical Center looked into certain immune cells in the breast milk of HIV-infected mothers in the African nation of Malawi and found that the B-cells generate antibodies that can neutralize the HIV virus. They say though the transmission of HIV from the infected mothers can occur through the infected breast milk but only happen to one in ten nursing mothers infected by HIV.
  • Researchers at the Institute of the Cancer Research (ICR) and the universities of Oxford and Edinburgh have discovered that a fault on one of the sex chromosomes is involved in the development of bowel cancer in men more than women. They have identified a faulty region on the X- chromosome that is linked to lower levels of a gene called SHROOM2.  They say that the men have only one copy of X chromosome, so they do not have a normal copy of the gene.
  • The researchers of Genomic Institute of Singapore (GIS) have unraveled the mechanism that causes liver cancer – hepatocellular carcinoma/ HCC.
  • A study shows that the people who eat faster are at 2.5 times the risk of having type – 2 diabetes.
  • In a study it was seen that the lung functions improved in the emphysema patients with metal wire implanted in it. This wire called lung reduction coil (LVRC) is designated to gather and compress diseased lung tissue, may offer relief to patients.
  • A research done by Danish scientists say that breast tumor risk increased at 40% rate among the night workers. Though the risk is not yet established, the study is expected to be completed by 2015.
  • Men who have psychiatric problems are more likely to die after the diagnosis of cancer according to the researchers at University College London. The study suggests that the men with mental illness face diagnostic delays that may affect their chances of surviving cancer.
  • Researchers have created glasses that indicate obstacles to patients with visual handicaps. This system could be of great use to people with visual loss in the central field of vision- those who suffer from age-related macular degeneration.
  • According to a UK study, cannabis fails to slow progress of multiple sclerosis.  Multiple sclerosis patients were assessed in the trial known as CUPID (cannabinoid use in progressive inflammatory brain disease) on both a disability scale administered by neurologists and another based on their own reporting.
  • According to a study, Latinos are less likely to take skin cancer precautions.  It says that a lack of health insurance and poorer access to healthcare contribute to not getting the checkups.

Diseases and Disasters

  • The leak at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Japan last week released cesium isotopes in to the Pacific, which the scientists believe might be tucked into tuna fish. They believe tuna might be carrying Fukushima radiation to California.
  • Gardeners have been warned to wash their hands using compost as rare strain of Legionnaire’s disease infects six people in Scotland.
  • Superbug spread to 40 countries and creates problem for medical tourism in India. These bugs are multiplying successfully because of a gene dubbed NDM-1. This gene is carried on mobile loops of DNA called plasmids that transfer easily among and across many types of bacteria. NDM-1 is changing common bugs that drugs easily defeated into untreatable killers.
  • May 27- June 2 declared Florida Hurricane Preparedness Week.