Walter Jessen – Highlight HEALTH http://www.highlighthealth.com Discover the Science of Health Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:31:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Today is World Food Day 2017: Change the Future of Migration http://www.highlighthealth.com/food-and-nutrition/today-is-world-food-day-2017-change-the-future-of-migration/ http://www.highlighthealth.com/food-and-nutrition/today-is-world-food-day-2017-change-the-future-of-migration/#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:30:55 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=13105 World Food Day 2017Today is World Food Day. World Food Day is both a day of action against hunger for those who are starving from lack of food and a day to promote worldwide awareness of the need to provide enough, nutritious food for everyone. World Food Day is celebrated in 150 countries around the world, making it]]> World Food Day 2017

Today is World Food Day. World Food Day is both a day of action against hunger for those who are starving from lack of food and a day to promote worldwide awareness of the need to provide enough, nutritious food for everyone. World Food Day is celebrated in 150 countries around the world, making it one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar.
World Food Day 2017World Food Day is a global observance held every year on October 16th to commemorate the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945. On this day, people from around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicate worldwide hunger during our lifetime. The World Food Day 2017 theme is “Change the Future of Migration, Invest in Food Security and Rural Development.”

Why the focus on migration? Due to increased world conflict and political instability, World Food Day 2017 occurs when an estimated 60 million, or nearly 1 in 100 people worldwide, have been forced to flee their homes. That’s more than at any time since World War II.

Global hunger, which is on the rise for the first time in decades, poverty, and an increase in extreme weather events linked to climate change are other important factors contributing to the migration challenge.

Concerted action on migration

  • Migration should be a choice, not a necessity. International cooperation should address the structural drivers of large movements of people and create conditions that allow communities to live in peace and prosperity in their homelands.
  • Agriculture and rural development can address the root causes of migration by creating business opportunities and jobs for young people that are not only crop-based (such as small dairy or poultry production, food processing or horticulture enterprises). It can also lead to increased food security, more resilient livelihoods, better access to social protection, reduced conflict over natural resources and solutions to environmental degradation and climate change.
  • Investing in sustainable rural development, climate change adaptation and resilient rural livelihoods is an important part of the global response to the current migration challenge.
  • Working with governments, UN agencies, the private sector, civil society and local communities, FAO plays an important role in addressing the root causes of internal and international migration and displacement and in harnessing the developmental potential of migration, especially in terms of food security and poverty reduction.

The FAO aims to raise levels of nutrition across the globe, improve agricultural productivity at all levels, enhance the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy. It also provides assistance to countries changing their agricultural policy, to aid regions out of famine situations, to help implement appropriate technology and facilitate a neutral environment to discuss issues around food production.

For more information, see the FAO report The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the world 2017.

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Scientists Detect Malaria in 15 Minutes with 20-cent Paper Centrifuge http://www.highlighthealth.com/medical-device-technology/scientists-detect-malaria-15-minutes-20-cent-paper-centrifuge/ Sat, 14 Jan 2017 19:32:25 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=13092 PaperfugeStanford bioengineers have created an ultra-low-cost, hand-spun centrifuge that separates blood into its individual components in only 1.5 minutes.]]> Paperfuge

Stanford bioengineers have created an ultra-low-cost, hand-spun centrifuge that separates blood into its individual components in only 1.5 minutes [1]. Inspired by an ancient children’s toy called a whirligig, the “paperfuge” can be used to detect malaria in blood in just 15 minutes.

Paperfuge

Fundamental to any medical diagnostics facility, centrifuges are used hospitals, clinics and laboratories around the world to separate fluids into different components by spinning the specimen. During the high-speed spin, centrifugal forces push denser material outwards. The centrifuge is used to separate cell, subcellular organelles, proteins, viruses, and nucleic acids. While centrifuges are crucial in regions of the world where tropical diseases are common, they often aren’t available due to high cost, weight and electricity needs.

Published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering [2], a Stanford research team describes a new device dubbed the “paperfuge.” The study demonstrates the separation of pure plasma from whole blood in less than 1.5 minutes and isolation of malaria parasites in 15 minutes. Built from 20-cents worth of paper, twine and plastic, the paperfuge can reach speeds of 125,000 revolutions per minute and exert centrifugal forces equivalent to 30,000 g’s. That’s approximately 100x faster than previous non-electrical efforts and is considered the fastest rotational speed ever recorded for a human-powered device.

Some of the most urgent global health problems today demand innovative solutions that are both inexpensive and scalable. The study authors write that “the simplicity of manufacturing our proposed device will enable immediate mass distribution of a solution urgently needed in the field. Ultimately, our present work serves as an example of frugal science: leveraging the complex physics of a simple toy for global health applications.”

The paperfuge is the third invention from Manu Prakash’s bioengineering lab at Stanford University. Driven by a frugal design philosophy, bioengineers rethink traditional medical tools to lower costs and bring scientific capabilities out of the lab and into hands of health care workers in resource-poor areas.

References

  1. Inspired by a whirligig toy, Stanford bioengineers develop a 20-cent, hand-powered blood centrifuge. Stanford University. 2017 Jan10.
  2. Bhamla et al. Hand-powered ultralow-cost paper centrifuge. Nature Biomedical Engineering 1, Article number: 0009 (2017). doi:10.1038/s41551-016-0009
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January is National Cervical Health Awareness Month http://www.highlighthealth.com/womens-health/january-national-cervical-health-awareness-month/ Mon, 09 Jan 2017 03:58:05 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=13081 The goal of National Cervical Health Awareness Month is to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from HPV and cervical cancer.]]>

The goal of National Cervical Health Awareness Month is to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from HPV (human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer. HPV is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity. It’s also a major cause of cervical cancer.

Every year, approximately 13,000 women are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer, and, of those, about one-third will die as a result. The good news is that HPV can be prevented with the HPV vaccine. Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests (called Pap tests) and follow-up care. Most insurance plans cover well-woman visits and cervical cancer screening, which means women can get those services at no cost to them.

Today, no woman needs to die from this disease. Cervical cancer has become the ultimate preventable cancer success story. Thanks to advances in early detection and prevention, the cervical cancer death rate has declined by almost 70% due to increased use of Pap tests and the 5 year survival rate for women diagnosed with cervical cancer is close to 75%. For a timeline on research and testing developments as well as a list of major risk factors, see the infographic below from the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

You can find more information and resources on cervical cancer at the American Cancer Society.

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Rare Disease Day 2016: Patient Voice http://www.highlighthealth.com/resources/rare-disease-day-2016-patient-voice/ Mon, 29 Feb 2016 05:22:18 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=12782 Rare Disease Day 2016Rare Disease Day 2016 recognizes the crucial role that rare disease patients play in voicing their needs and instigating change.]]> Rare Disease Day 2016

Today is the ninth annual Rare Disease Day, an international advocacy day held on the last day of February — a rare day for rare people. Rare Disease Day 2016 recognizes the crucial role that patients play in voicing their needs and instigating change that improves their lives and the lives of their families and caregivers.

Rare Disease Day 2016


The purpose of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives. The annual campaign targets the general public and also seeks to raise awareness amongst policy makers, public authorities, industry representatives, researchers, health professionals and anyone who has a genuine interest in rare diseases.

Rare Disease Day was first launched by the European Organization for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS) in 2008. The following year, the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) partnered with EURORDIS and became the sponsor of Rare Disease Day in the United States. Partnership has expanded beyond the U.S. and Europe, and in 2015 more than 80 countries around the world participated in the event.

Making the Voice of Rare Diseases Heard

There is no single, widely accepted definition for a rare disease. In the United States, the Rare Diseases Act of 2002 defines rare disease according to prevalence, specifically “any disease or condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States”. That works out to approximately 1 in 1,500 people or less. In Europe, the European Commission on Public Health defines rare diseases as “life-threatening or chronically debilitating diseases which are of such low prevalence that special combined efforts are needed to address them.” The term low prevalence is defined as generally meaning fewer than 1 in 2,000 people. Thus, between 5,000 and 7,000 distinct rare diseases exist [1]. Most of these diseases are genetic, serious, chronic and debilitating.

This year’s Rare Disease Day slogan is “Join us in making the voice of rare diseases heard”, which appeals to a wider audience, those that are not living with or directly affected by a rare disease, to join the rare disease community in making known the impact of rare diseases.

Check out the official video below and some ways you support people living with a rare disease below.

Ways to Support People Living with a Rare Disease

Did you know that rare disease effects 30 million Americans and 350 million worldwide? Here are some suggestions for how you can support someone living with a rare disease.

  1. Trust those with a rare diseases to know their needs.
    Patients who have a rare disease are typically the ones who have done the most research and know the condition best.
  2. Listen to those with a rare disease.
    Many patients and their families are isolated. It can be very difficult to have a rare disease that people don’t know very much about. Allowing patients to break that isolation is very important.
  3. Support someone with a rare disease by supporting their caregiver.
    Caregiving is often taxing — and many people living with a rare disease know that. Learn how you can help support someone’s network of care by starting a conversation around how you could possibly help alleviate pressure.
  4. Support organizations working on rare disease research.
    Most rare diseases currently don’t have treatment, and most of them have no research at all being done. Rare disease research itself is rare. With most focus and funding going to diseases that impact many people, rare disease research is considered to be a lower priority. Take the time to find reputable organizations that serves a condition you want to help address, or donate to a specific research effort through the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD).

References

  1. NORD’s 2012 Report to the Communities. National Organization for Rare Disorders. 2012.
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Health Highlight: We’re All Suffering from ‘Successaholism’ and It Needs to Stop http://www.highlighthealth.com/health-highlights/health-highlight-suffering-successaholism-needs-stop/ Sat, 20 Feb 2016 01:27:50 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=12756 Working lateCall it workaholism or “successaholism”, it's a problematic cycle because it eventually leads to burnout and worse job performance.]]> Working late
Working late

In her new book, “The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success,” Emma Seppala explains why happiness often paves the way for professional success. Unfortunately, she says, many workers have it backward, thinking that they need to be successful before they can ever be happy.

Call it workaholism or “successaholism” — Seppala, the science director for Stanford University’s Center for Altruism and Compassion Research and Education, says it’s a problematic cycle because it eventually leads to burnout and worse job performance.

Yet these behaviors are unlikely to disappear anytime soon because they’re encouraged by our friends, colleagues, and employers.

Source: Business Insider

Health Highlights is a recurring series of curated health and medical news from around the web.

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Health Highlight: Natural Metabolite Might Reset Aging Biological Clocks http://www.highlighthealth.com/aging/health-highlight-natural-metabolite-might-reset-aging-biological-clocks/ Thu, 15 Oct 2015 01:18:38 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=12688 Polyamides linked to agingOur daily rhythms are governed by a metabolite called polyamines that declines with age. ]]> Polyamides linked to aging
Polyamides linked to aging

As we age, our biological clocks tend to wind down. A Weizmann Institute research team has now revealed an intriguing new link between a group of metabolites whose levels drop as our cells age and the functioning of our circadian clocks – mechanisms encoded in our genes that keep time to cycles of day and night. Their results, which appeared in Cell Metabolism, suggest that the substance (called polyamides), which is found in many foods, could possibly help keep our internal timekeepers up to speed.

Source: Weizmann Institute of Science

Health Highlights is a recurring series of curated health and medical news from around the web.

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Health Highlight: Researchers use gut bacteria to map genetic mutations in colorectal cancer tumours http://www.highlighthealth.com/health-highlights/health-highlight-researchers-use-gut-bacteria-to-map-genetic-mutations-in-colorectal-cancer-tumours/ Tue, 13 Oct 2015 20:26:23 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=12686 Gut bacteriaA new study has predicted key genetic mutations in colorectal tumours by analyzing the types of gut bacteria present around them.]]> Gut bacteria
Gut bacteria

Colorectal cancer is now understood to be definitely linked to microbial problems in the gut. Research has shown that the disease is linked with less numbers and diversity in the gut microbiome, and with the increased presence of more harmful strains. Therefore using gut bacteria to diagnose and even aid in cancer prevention is highly desirable due to it’s quick, non-invasive ease of investigation.

Now, a study from researchers at University of Minnesota has predicted key genetic mutations in colorectal tumours by analyzing the types of gut bacteria present around them. The team state that it could be possible to genetically classify the colorectal tumour a person has without having to do a biopsy and dissect it. Their findings were presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2015 Annual Meeting.

Source: Healthinnovations

Health Highlights is a recurring series of curated health and medical news from around the web.

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Anti-parasite Drugs and the Nobel Prize for Medicine http://www.highlighthealth.com/health-news/anti-parasite-drugs-and-the-nobel-prize-for-medicine/ Fri, 09 Oct 2015 03:14:09 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=12600 The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was announced earlier this week [1]. The prize was awarded to three scientists who developed therapies by looking at natural, local substances, against parasitic infections. The prize of 8-million-Swedish-krona ($1.2-million USD) was divided, with one half jointly to Drs. William C. Campbell, age 85, at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey,]]>

nobel medal in medicine

The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was announced earlier this week [1]. The prize was awarded to three scientists who developed therapies by looking at natural, local substances, against parasitic infections.

The prize of 8-million-Swedish-krona ($1.2-million USD) was divided, with one half jointly to Drs. William C. Campbell, age 85, at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, USA, and Satoshi Omura, age 80, at Kitasato University in Tokyo, Japan, for their work on a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites, and the other half to Dr. Youyou Tu, age 85, at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing, China, for her work on a novel therapy against Malaria.

Parasitic infections are a major global health problem

Parasitic infections are a global health problem of unbelievable magnitude. Two out of three people worldwide are afflicted with a parasitic disease, and most people who harbor parasites actually are afflicted with a range of diseases.

The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden said in a statement [1]:

Diseases caused by parasites have plagued humankind for millennia and constitute a major global health problem. In particular, parasitic diseases affect the world’s poorest populations and represent a huge barrier to improving human health and wellbeing. This year’s Nobel Laureates have developed therapies that have revolutionized the treatment of some of the most devastating parasitic diseases.

Parasitic diseases

Ascariasis, a disease caused by the parasitic roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides, is the most common human worm infection. Worldwide, severe Ascaris infections cause approximately 60,000 deaths per year, mainly in children [2]. In the 1970s, Campbell and Omura discovered a class of compounds, called avermectins, that kill parasitic roundworms that cause infections such as river blindness (onchocerciasis) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis). In Japan, Omura isolated strains of soil bacteria that were known to have antimicrobial properties. Omura’s institute signed a research partnership with Merch in 1973, and in 1974 his soil bacteria strains were sent to a team led by Campbell at the Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research in Rahway, New Jersey. Campbell’s team isolated avermectins from the bacterial cultures and developed the drug ivermectin. In 1987, Merck announced that it would donate ivermectin to anyone who needed it for treatment of river blindness. Ten years later, the company began giving away the drug to treat lymphatic filariasis. According to the Mectizan Donation Program, every year Merck gives away some 270 million treatments of the drug,

Malaria is a historic problem and one of the oldest human diseases, perhaps 50,000-100,000 years old. In the 1960s, the main treatments for malaria were becoming increasingly ineffective. In 1967, China established a national project against malaria to discover new therapies. Tu and her team screened more than 2,000 Chinese herbal remedies in search of drugs with antimalarial activity. An extract from the wormwood plant Artemisia annua proved especially effective and by 1972, the researchers had isolated chemically pure artemisinin. See the video below for more.

This year’s prize highlights the global acknowledgement on the importance of parasitic infections and neglected tropical diseases. Artemisinin  has saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives, and ivermectin has protected millions from disease.

References

  1. The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine – Press Release. Nobelprize.org. 5 Oct 2015.
  2. Water related diseases, World Health Organization. Accessed 2015 Oct 8.
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Scientists Hit Limit of Time to Read Scholarly Articles http://www.highlighthealth.com/research/scientists-hit-limit-of-time-to-read-scholarly-articles/ http://www.highlighthealth.com/research/scientists-hit-limit-of-time-to-read-scholarly-articles/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 15:00:42 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=12233 A 35-year trend of researchers reading an increasing number of scholarly manuscripts appears to be leveling off.]]>

Scientists may have hit the wall when it comes to reading articles. A 35-year trend of researchers reading an increasing number of scholarly manuscripts appears to be leveling off, accompanied by the bottoming out of time taken to read each article.

Scientists hit limit of time to read scholarly articles

Led by information scientist Dr. Carol Tenopir at the Center for Information and Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, the survey of 800 scholars found that in 2012, U.S. scientists and social scientists estimated they read, on average, 22 scholarly articles every month. Statistically, the results are no different from what was reported in the same survey given in 2005. This is the first time since the reading-habit questionnaire began 37 years ago in 1977 that scholarly article consumption hasn’t increased.

The survey defines “reading” as reviewing more than just the title or abstract of a manuscript. It doesn’t indicate whether articles are being skimmed more frequently than in the past. However, the reported time spent reading articles has deceased over the years. The most recent survey finds that the time taken to read each article appears to have bottomed out at just over 30 minutes. Researchers now report that they read more than half of their articles electronically.

Given that an increasing amount of information is available online, the survey questions themselves are becoming outdated, since it’s been assumed by communications analysts that researchers always read manuscripts in their entirety. To the contrary, data suggests that “power-browsing” digital articles is common today, with scholars scanning for specific pieces of information.

Moreover, other sources of information such as blogs, wikis and databases, are becoming increasingly important, obscuring the very definition of “scholarly article.”

The study is due to appear in the journal Learned Publishing.

Source: Nature News

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Johnson & Johnson to Make Clinical Trial Data Open http://www.highlighthealth.com/future-medicine/johnson-johnson-to-make-clinical-trial-data-open/ Mon, 03 Feb 2014 18:00:00 +0000 http://www.highlighthealth.com/?p=12220 Johnson & Johnson (J&J) recently announced that it will make all of its clinical trial data publicly available.]]>

In a move that promotes open science, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced last week that it will make all of its clinical trial data publicly available.

Data sharing

Janssen, the pharmaceutical companies of J&J, has enlisted Yale University through the Yale University Open Data Access (YODA) Project to extend its commitment to sharing clinical trials data to enhance public health and advance science and medicine.

Under the agreement, YODA will act as an independent body to review and make final decisions regarding all investigator requests for clinical trial data for its treatments, including clinical study reports (CSRs) and de-identified patient-level data.

J&J also announced a new website at www.clinicaltrialstudytransparency.com to assist researchers in request for data.

Other pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Pfizer, Roche and Sanofi have recently granted access to their clinical trial data, but the J&J initiative is the first industry-academic model of its kind.

In a statement, Joanne Waldstreicher, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Johnson & Johnson, said:

Sharing anonymized data from clinical trials is critical to advance public health because it furthers our understanding of diseases, expands the base of knowledge needed to develop new treatments, and generates new insights and more complete evidence to enable better healthcare decisions for patients — all while protecting patient privacy and confidentiality. We are pleased to collaborate with YODA to ensure that each and every request for access to our pharmaceutical clinical data is reviewed objectively and independently. This represents a new standard for responsible, independent clinical data sharing.

Researchers will be able to submit proposals to use data from studies of J&J products. The data will be free of charge and will not have information that can identify individuals. Submitted proposals will be posted publicly and registered at clinicaltrials.gov. The investigators will be responsible for reporting their results.

Sources: Johnson & Johnson, Yale News

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