2 June – 29 June 2012

Highlights:  23 – 29 June 2012

David Heymann explains to the Daily Mail why health officials will be on high alert throughout the London 2012 Olympics: “People are very effective conduits for disease. Bacteria, viruses and parasites can travel while still in the incubation period. This can range from 12 to 48 hours for the norovirus, to several months for tuberculosis.”

Peter Piot discusses AIDS on BBC World Service Radio: “I am very concerned that we are now becoming complacent, that attention for AIDS and funding for AIDS is going down despite the fact it is still killing so many people.”

Shah Ebrahim gives the Daily Mail his verdict on whether statins work better for men than for women: “Recent studies that have used all the evidence come to clear conclusions: both women and men benefit from taking statins.”

Judy Green on BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed discussing research into the morality of cycling: “We were quite surprised at the levels of moral discourse in the accounts of people who use different modes of getting around… driving – it’s the new smoking.”

Medcompare article on research from Martin McKee and Shah Ebrahim which says risk factors for NCDs are strongly influenced by marketing of unhealthy foods and alcohol in developing countries.

James Logan in the Coventry Telegraph on lyme disease and the growing population of ticks.

Heidi Larson talks to The Lancet about United Nations Environment Programme debate on the use of thiomersal in vaccines:  “If we were to stop using thiomersal in vaccines for any reason then we need an alternative ready. But we don’t have an alternative ready, the only immediate alternative is single-dose vials.”

Obituary of Sir Sandy Macara, LSHTM alumnus and former member of the Court of Governors, in the Daily Telegraph

Highlights:  16 – 22 June 2012

Ian Roberts, Phil Edwards and David Prieto on new LSHTM research that says people’s weight – not just population size – is crucial for food security and ecological sustainability: “The whole world is getting fatter – it’s not about obesity, it’s about fatness. If every country gets as fat as the United States…in food energy terms it’s like feeding an extra half a billion people. Body mass has to be considered in ecological debate.”  More than 700 stories worldwide, including BBC Radio 4 Today, BBC 5 Live, Sky News, CNN, Daily Telegraph, Sun, Daily Mail, The Times, Metro, Guardian, Huffington Post, BBC News, NPR, newspapers from Qatar  to Japan, and radio stations from Russia to Australia.

Vikram Patel speaks to Voice of America about global mental health issues: “There are fewer psychiatrists in the whole of Africa than there are in a few countries in Europe or North America. The vast majority of rural people in Africa and many other developing countries will have no access to mental health professionals. This is a major barrier in improving access to mental health care.”

Vikram Patel in BBC News on a new LSHTM study looking at suicide rates: “What’s interesting is how similar these findings are between China and India and how different these two Asian countries are from the developed world.” Also covered by Reuters, Bloomberg, Globe and Mail and numerous Indian titles including Times of India .

Heidi Larson speaks to CBC about polio and the war on terror: “We had spent nearly a decade trying to diffuse rumours that there was CIA involvement in the polio vaccination campaign… When I heard about it (CIA using the immunisation programme to find Osama Bin Laden), I was devastated. It gives credence to conspiracy.” 

Nick Black in a Guardian feature on medical postgrad courses teaching management skills: “Our MA looks at health services in general, evaluating their quality, efficiency and productivity. At a macro level we might be looking to see what lessons can be learned from other countries which have raised prescription charges, introduced GP health service commissioning or created a free market.”

David Mabey in Reuters AlertNet on new LSHTM research showing a simple syphilis test during pregnancy can reduce child deaths: “This project has shown that these new simple tests can be effectively introduced into a variety of locations anywhere… By working closely with governments before and while doing the research, we’ve been able to bring about rapid changes in policy in all of the six countries where the study took place.” Also covered by Times Higher Education and SciDev.Net.

David Horn on Wellcome Trust News on a new genetic clue to drug resistance in African sleeping sickness: “One important question now is whether disruption of the AQP2 gene can explain cases of drug resistance in patients. If so, then we can look to develop a test based on this that could help to tackle drug resistance in the field when it arises.” Also covered by specialist medical publications.

Peter Piot talks about his memoirs, ‘No Time To Lose’ on Charlie Rose, NPR and Council on Foreign Relations.

Ben Goldacre in the Guardian on a call for ministers to adopt a ‘test, learn, adapt’ method to policy-making: “Randomised controlled trials let you check whether your policy is having the outcome you want. This allows you to identify policies which don’t work – and if things don’t work, we should probably stop them. It’s not just about saving money, it’s about reducing harm.”

James Logan in the Scotsman on giving TV audiences the science bug: “I was very interested in getting involved because you reach an audience you otherwise might not and hopefully spark an interest in science by relating it to them as individuals. You also get a good public health message across, which is brilliant.”

Nick Mays interviewed on BBC News about rationing of elective surgery in the NHS.

Highlights: 9 – 15 June 2012

Alan Dangour on the findings of a Cochrane systematic review into omega-3 and cognitive function:From these studies, there doesn’t appear to be any benefit for cognitive health for older people of taking omega-3 supplements.” Coverage in BBC, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Independent, ABC News, Reuters, NHS Choices, MyHealthNewsDaily, CBS News online and TV and numerous outlets worldwide.

Rosanna Peeling tells the Huffington Post about the importance of diagnostics after LSHTM study led to syphilis tests being introduced in six countries:Having worked in diagnostics for over 20 years, it’s frustrating to see people dying for the lack of a simple diagnostic test when tests such as those for HIV have revolutionised our approach to healthcare.” Also covered by Estadao (Brazil) and various online outlets.

Vikram Patel discusses global mental health on BBC World Service The Forum. “This is the most important global health scandal in my view – the vast majority of people with mental health problems in low resource countries do not receive any care at all. Evidence based care is accessible to less than 10% of people.”

Charlotte Watts talks about her research into violence and HIV and her journey from abstract maths to epidemiology on the Guardian Science Weekly podcast: Domestic violence “is really a hidden risk factor for a huge range of poor health outcomes for women”. Interview starts at 24:40

James Logan on bed bugs in the Daily Mail: “When the bugs gather they produce a chemical that has a herby, coriander-like, sweet or musty smell. If you sense this in a room, it’s likely they are there.”

Latest reviews of Peter Piot’s memoirs, ‘No Time To Lose’, in Financial Times, De Morgen (Belgium), Daily Maverick (South Africa).

Matt Cairns talks to BBC Naked Scientists about seasonal malaria chemoprevention research: “It’s really exciting the potential impact of this new research”. Interview at 28:25.Coverage also in Times Higher Education.

Tropical Epidemiology Group and Peter Piot feature in the MRC Network magazine.

Natasha Howard participates in Guardian online careers Q&A.

Highlights:  2 June – 8 June 2012

Worldwide coverage on rescue of former LSHTM student Helen Johnston, who was held hostage in Afghanistan. A spokesperson for the School said: “We are relieved to know that Helen and her colleagues are safe. This must have been a very stressful time, and our thoughts are with all the aid workers and their families.”

Brian Greenwood speaks to BBC World Service about new LSHTM research on seasonal malaria chemoprevention: “The community would take responsibility for doing this… we have tried this out and it has worked.”  (Interview at 11m 33s) Matthew Cairns also interviewd. Coverage by PA, Science Omega, Nature, Metro and numerous other titles worldwide.

Peter Piot opinion piece in Policy Review on reshaping global health: “A 21st-century approach to global health requires a radical restructuring of 20th-century institutions to support coherent, country-owned, national health strategies that engage all sectors in design and implementation.”

Stuart Anderson in Clinical Pharmacist on professional doctorates in public health: “If the status and recognition of pharmacists is to continue to grow, then the more pharmacists who have doctoral qualifications that extend beyond pharmacy the better.”

James Carpenter in a special issue of Statistical Methods in Medical Research marking 40 years of the MSc in Medical Statistics: “The future is likely to see continued rapid development of the MSc, not least with increased use of e-learning. The success of such developments rest on the energy and commitment of alumni, students and staff: thus I am confident there will be much to celebrate in 10 years time!”

Latest reviews of Peter Piot’s memoirs, ‘No Time To Lose’, in Nature, Lancet and Wall Street Journal

BMJ blog on mass gatherings medicine.

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