In the news – media highlights 2018

School research and expert comment have been making headlines around the world in 2018. Here’s some of our top stories from the year.


In January the Cancer Survival Group published CONCORD-3 in The Lancet; the largest and most up-to-date study of population-based cancer survival trends. Looking at five-year survival from diagnosis over 71 countries, researchers found that although cancer survival has generally increased, survival trends vary widely and there are persistent disparities between countries, particularly for childhood cancers.

In the UK, overall cancer survival was found to be improving, with several cancers showing substantial increases in five-year survival, including breast, prostate, rectum and colon.

The study is reported in more than 950 outlets around the world. Key UK coverage included The Times(£), The MirrorThe Sun and the Daily Mail. International coverage included ABC News and NPR. It was also featured on news bulletins including BBC World at One.

Tweets on the research from LSHTM generated a combined total of 16,291 impressions (number of times content was displayed to people) and support from Cancer Research UK (314K) and The Lancet (303K) helped increased its global reach.

MRC Units join LSHTM

In February MRC Units in The Gambia and Uganda joined LSHTM, forging two exciting new partnerships to boost research capacity into current and emerging health issues in Africa and throughout the world. The partnership built on the existing strong relationships between LSHTM and both Units, ensuring stronger scientific collaboration as well as new career opportunities for researchers.

The Lancet reported the new partnership and on social media tweets announcing the news generated over 10,000 impressions on Twitter.

Insecticide resistant treated bed nets

In April Mark Rowland published new research in The Lancet showing that a novel class of bed net that neutralises mosquitos’ ability to resist pyrethroid insecticide is shown to significantly reduce malaria infection in children.

The research was reported in more than 120 outlets around the world. Key coverage included Reuters, The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times (£), TRT World (Turkey), The Times of India,  and The Indian Express. Professor Rowland was also interviewed by broadcast media including BBC World Service Radio’s Newsday programme and BBC World TV Impact programme.

A series of tweets from the LSHTM account generated 81,548 impressions. The Daily Telegraph (2.47M followers) BBC Africa (2.12M), The Lancet (314K) and Thomson Reuters Foundation (69K) all tweeted the story. Facebook generated 182 reactions, comments and shares and reached 9,000 people.

Disgust can help us to avoid disease and infection

In June, Val Curtis published new research in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, on six common types of disgust in humans. Disgust has long been recognised as an emotion that has evolved to protect us from disease and infection; and for the first time the researchers broke disgust down into its component parts identifying six common categories that trigger it. These included rotting food, poor hygiene and skin conditions such as lesions or boils.

The research was covered by more than 450 outlets around the world. Key media coverage included the front page of The Times (£), the IndependentDaily MailThe Guardian, Daily Express, Metro and CNN.

Val was also interviewed by BBC World Service’s Health Check and BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about the research.

On social media, LSHTM tweets reached more than 38,000 people and posts on Facebook saw the story being shared with more than 8,000 people with over 150 reactions, comments and shares.

Heatwave deaths likely to increase

In July new research into heatwave-related deaths was published in PLOS Medicine. Co-led by Antonio Gasparrini, the study found that deaths from heatwaves are likely to rise steadily by 2080 unless climate and health policies and mitigation strategies are implemented.

The study was widely covered internationally, with pickup in more than 500 outlets including The Times (£),  ReutersDaily MailThe IndependentDaily MirrorEvening StandardMetroThe Washington Post and Business Insider.

On social media a tweet from the LSHTM account generated more than 8,000 impressions. Tweets from organisations such as ABS-CBS News (5.8M followers), Think Progress (844K), Euronews (294K), Climate Central (92K) and The MRC (46K) helped spread the news internationally.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

In October, new research led by Krishnan Bhaskaran into the link between BMI and risk of death was published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. The study showed that BMI is linked to risk of death from almost every cause.

The research was one of the lead health stories on the BBC Health page and Dr Bhaskaran was interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, BBC Breakfast and BBC News at One. It was also covered by CNNDaily ExpressNewsweek, The Sun and the Press Association newswire.

Dogs detect the scent of malaria parasite

In October, LSHTM, in partnership with Medical Detection Dogs, Durham University and MRC Unit The Gambia, found that dogs were able to scent malaria in samples of socks worn by children infected with the malaria parasite. The findings could lead to the first rapid and non-invasive test for malaria.

The research was picked up by more than 580 outlets internationally. Coverage included The Times (£), BBCEvening StandardGuardianTelegraphWiredExpressMirrorHuffpost and Smithsonian. Chelci Squires was interviewed by both BBC and Sky News about research and how the findings could contribute to the tackling malaria globally.

On Twitter the research made over 30,000 impressions. Partners including Malaria No More (252k) promoted the findings.

Women Leaders in Global Health (WLGH) conference

In November LSHTM hosted the second annual WLGH conference. The two day event brought together established and emerging leaders from across sectors and cultures to work towards gender equity in health leadership and to improve health for all. Nearly 900 participants from more than 70 countries and 80 nationalities heard from global health leaders in a wide range of talks and panel discussions. Topics ranged from mentoring, gender in emergency outbreak response and political leadership, to the #MeToo movement, media and new technologies.

The conference generated nearly 50 pieces of global media coverage. Key coverage included Professor Heidi Larson and Dr Joanna Liu appearing on BBC Woman’s Hour, an interview in the Indian Express with keynote speaker Dr Soumya Swaminathan (WHO deputy director) and a piece in Devex on mentorship – one of the key themes of the conference.

At the time of the conference a letter that Professor Peter Piot wrote about visa issues for WLGH18 participants made the front page of the Times (£). It was also covered by DevexBMJDaily MailThomson Reuters, and Times Higher Education (subscription required), including over 45 international news outlets.

There were nearly 15k tweets about WLGH (Jan to Dec 18); these would have potentially been seen by 50.6m people. The conference hashtag (WLGH18) was used 12.7k times and would have been seen by approximately 43.6m people. LSHTM tweets about the conference had a potential reach of 1.4m.

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