09 – 15 May 2019

Heather Wardle co-authors a paper for the BMJ on public health harms caused by gambling. The paper calls for a compulsory levy on the gambling industry to address the harms caused. Heather said: “Gambling harms have been vastly underestimated. It is placing major burdens on resources, relationships and health. The time now is for action to reduce harms which is going to require a much more significant level of funding than is currently available. We believe that a compulsory levy on industry is the only way to achieve this.”

The research was covered in The Independent and ITV. Heather also recorded a podcast for the BMJ on the topic.

Jimmy Whitworth provides expert comment to The Telegraph on bubonic plague after two people in Mongolia died from the disease. Jimmy said: “It’s perhaps the biggest and most persistent hotspot. We think that the Black Death came out of Mongolia originally, and that it was the Mongolian armies expanding westwards that allowed it to spread and get to Europe.”

Heidi Larson features on BBC Radio 4’s The Briefing Room (starts from 08 m 20 s in), about whether vaccinations should be compulsory. Heidi said: “In some places there are some issues with service delivery or access – it’s a mix of issues. Some of the anti-vaccine sentiment has been amplified by the social media environment. People tend to look for things they are worried about and they find other people who are also worried and it has this amplification effect.”

Cicely Marston speaks to BBC Three about the declining use of condoms among young people for a piece that looks at the reasons why some young people are not practicing safe sex. Cicely said: “If you talk about having a condom, you have to talk in advance about whether you’re going to have penetrative sex or not. For some people, that can be a really awkward conversation and so it just doesn’t happen.”

Heidi Larson comments in Research Europe (subscription only) about the role of researchers in helping to counter scepticism about vaccine safety. Heidi said: “While outright bans are probably counterproductive, technology companies have a role to play. Public health researchers should talk to them about how their algorithms could be tweaked. This is a collective responsibility and we’ve created a collective mess.”

Martin McKee authors two opinion pieces for the BMJ on transparency around NHS charges for migrants and tackling the threat from disinformation around vaccines.

On social media

This week’s social media highlight comes from the LSHTM Twitter account. Sharing news of Peter Piot’s recent contribution to a panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference on tackling Antimicrobial resistance.

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