October 10 was World Mental Health Day.
October 15 was Global Handwashing Day.
POLITICS AND POLICY
- The U.S. Army has proposed major cuts to its work on HIV, especially in the vaccine field. Leaders of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and other biomedical research organizations oppose the cuts.
- The WHO plans to recommend tighter nutritional standards in food aid for young children, a move activists say is necessary to improve donations from countries such as the United States.
- The US Department of Defense is funding platforms that will completely rethink how malaria drugs are developed.
- Former Bush Administration official Andrew Natsios argues the case for foreign aid: “Singling out foreign aid for disproportionate cuts—which is exactly what has happened—is a serious mistake the United States as a world leader will pay for in the future.”
- A survey of 507 Americans at the end of September sought to capture what, exactly, Americans know about the foreign aid budget. Particpiants were asked four questions about their impressions of foreign aid and opinions on why it is important to American interests. Go here to read the full fact sheet that also includes more details about the study’s methods and see below to review the results in more detail.
- The World Health Organization’s chief on Monday urged governments to unite against “big tobacco”, as she accused the industry of dirty tricks, bullying and immorality in its quest to keep people smoking.
- Berk Ozler examines some recent reports about the challenges surrounding male circumcision. In the World Bank Development Impact blog, he offers two suggestions for how to improve the programs.
- A partnership between Pampers and UNICEF to deliver neonatal tetanus vaccines is on track to eliminate the disease by 2015.
- A $258 million initiative sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at preventing AIDS in India appears to have paid off overall, researchers say, resulting in more than 100,000 fewer new HIV infections over five years. Many aren’t quite ready to judge this project, Avahan, a success, however. The project failed in three of the six Indian states where it was tested.
- Are the Millennium Villages an intervention that can reach scale? Supporters say yes and detractors are skeptical. Madeline Bunting covers the debate in the Guardian Development.
- A report on the MGDS by United Nations Development Program, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and the African Union Commission says that social protection programs can have a wide positive impact.
- A cancer diagnosis can leave lasting psychological scars akin to those inflicted by war, according to a new survey. More than decade after being told they had the disease, nearly four out of 10 cancer survivors said they were still plagued by symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
- Researchers have found that vitamin D can be used to activate the immune system’s response to TB.
- The Paul G Allen Family Foundation is supporting the Infectious Disease Research Institute phase I TB vaccine trial with a two-year $300,000 grant.
- We know that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is good for the heart, but can a healthy diet really overcome the effect of genes that boost your risk for heart problems?
- Vitamin E supplements significantly increased the risk of prostate cancer in healthy men even after they stopped taking them, scientists reported Tuesday. Given the popularity of vitamin E for those 60 and over, the researchers wrote, “the implications of our observations are substantial.” Those studied took 400 international units (IUs) a day.
- New studies find that young people diagnosed with HIV will now likely survive for close to 46 years thanks to improved antiretrovirals
- A Norwegian study found that pregnant women who took folic acid supplements in the first two months of pregnancy were less likely to have children with severe language delays.
- “Tobacco Control is Tuberculosis Control,” says a new study in the British Medical Journal.
- The NIH has announced that it is providing University of California San Francisco $718,136 to support its anti-malaria research.
- A study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, University of Hong Kong and the Public Health Foundation of India and published in the Lancet shows that an Indian program to focus HIV intervention projects in high risk groups has dramatically reduced infection rates.
DISEASES AND DISASTERS
- Primitive cooking stoves are used throughout half the world and kill more people per year — about two million — than malaria, researchers say. Three billion people worldwide cook indoors by burning solid fuels such as wood, charcoal or dung and are at high risk for lung diseases.
- Over the past three years, 1.5 million children deaths from malaria were averted, said the chief of Roll Back Malaria, downgrading malaria from the leading cause of infant mortality in Africa to the third leading cause of child mortality.
- The world has become more vulnerable to outbreaks of disease caused by contaminated food because of growing global trade and tracking them down is also difficult due to the global food supply chain, health officials said.
- For the first time, tuberculosis rates are declining worldwide. World Health Organization officials reported case numbers have gone down and death rates have plummeted 40% from 1990 to 2010. China has seen death rates decline almost 80% from 1990 to 2010.
- Mental illness drives a surprising amount of disability and death around the planet. The World Health Organization says investing just $3 to $4 per person to improve mental health in poor countries would significantly reduce the health and economic losses from mental illness.