22 – 28 November 2018

New LSHTM research published in the Lancet finds that an approach called restorative practice, could help tackle bullying, improve mental health and lower rates of regular smoking and drinking alcohol in secondary school. Restorative practice involves bringing together pupils involved in bullying, conflict or misbehaviour, encouraging them to appreciate the harms caused by their behaviour.

LSHTM author Chris Bonnell said: “This study suggests that restorative practice is an effective way to reduce bullying. It also suggests that the government could save the NHS money by helping ensure schools are inclusive and supportive places.” The findings are covered in The Guardian.

Heather Wardle speaks to BBC Woman’s Hour (31m 12s in) about young people and gambling, after industry statistics are published by the Gambling Commission. The discussion centres on modern forms of gambling that are encouraging young people to gamble, such as ‘Loot boxes’ and ‘Skins’. Heather said: “Children who gamble and say they’ve been influenced by advertising, sponsorship or marketing are much more likely to say gambling is easy money, that everyone around them gambles or that the more you gamble the better your chances of winning.”

Comments Peter Piot made as part of a panel for the 3rd Raffles Dialogue on the Future of Human Well-Being and Security are covered in Straits Times. The panel, which convened in Singapore, discussed resilient and empowered societies and findings from the recent Lancet Global Burden of Disease study, which ranked Singapore first in highest healthy life expectancy. On the findings, Peter said: “When you’re number one that also brings moral obligations to share what you have and not only to remain number one but also that others are getting better.”

Martin McKee speaks to CNN about a new Lancet study on life expectancy, which finds that in the UK the gap in life expectancy between the most affluent and the most deprived has risen for both men and women. Martin said: “The overall findings are consistent with previous studies, but it adds an important new dimension. It confirms that women in particular in the most deprived areas have really been suffering over the last eight years or so.”

Richard Stabler is quoted in The Telegraph on antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea, after the Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies announced £11.5m of funding to tackle antimicrobial resistance, with half of the money being used for development of a rapid point-of-care test for antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea. Richard said: “New drugs and diagnostics would be great but we also have to educate people so that they don’t get gonorrhoea in the first place.”

David Mabey is quoted in the Daily Mail on an anthrax outbreak in Namibia, which has affected more than 50 people so far and is thought to have originated in goats, which people have eaten. David said: “If people eat meat from infected animals they can die within a couple of days.”

Martin Hibberd comments in CNN on news that a second case of rat hepatitis E has been reported in a human in Hong Kong – the second case recorded globally. Martin said: “The infection can be acquired by close contact with rats, or perhaps more likely through rat contaminated food or water.”

Heidi Larson speaks to the Daily Mail about the impact of fake news on vaccine confidence. Heidi said: ‘The next major outbreak of a fatal strain of influenza or something else will not be due to a lack of preventive technologies. Instead, emotional contagion, digitally enabled, could erode trust in vaccines so much as to render them moot.”

David Heymann provides expert comment for Reuters on a new study which shows that just one-fifth of the standard dose of yellow fever vaccine provides at least 10 years of protection against the virus. David said:  “These results are not surprising – the same is true for other vaccines in fractional doses, such as the human rabies vaccine.”

Peter Lamptey is quoted in Africa News on a new community project to improve detection and treatment of hypertension. The project, led by the Novartis Foundation has placed screening points in local shops and businesses along with improving existing facilities. Peter said: “Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and disproportionally affects low- and middle-income countries where risk factors such as hypertension are poorly controlled. That’s why it’s so encouraging to see that community-based and patient-centered care can improve hypertension control rates – it has the potential to save so many lives.”

On social media

This week’s social media highlight comes from the LSHTM Twitter page sharing a new Lancet comment from Prof Heidi Larson, ‘The state of vaccine confidence’. The piece sets out a five point plan to improve vaccine confidence.

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