28 July – 31 August 2012

Highlights:  25-31 August 2012

Anna Goodman in the Daily Telegraph on new LSHTM research trying to solve the evolutionary puzzle of why family size falls as societies become richer: “Under natural selection, you would expect organisms to use their resources to produce more genetic descendants, and so increase their Darwinian fitness.” Also covered by over 45 titles worldwide including AFP, New Scientist, ABC and the Economist.

Nick Black in the Guardian on new systems to encourage NHS patient records to be used for medical research in Britain: “It’s irresponsible and misguided not to maximise the use of these data, subject to appropriate confidentiality. These databases are dreadfully under-exploited and the public could benefit enormously if they were used more. It’s an incredibly cost-effective way of doing research, and knowing what the quality of care is within the NHS.”

Deborah Watson-Jones in Nature on sub-Saharan countries screening and treating HPV: “After discussions with the Ministry of Health, it was agreed that we would apply for that donation for Tanzania and do a school-based vaccination programme in three districts around Mwanza city, including urban and rural areas.”

Ruth McNerney speaks to BBC Devon about the growing problem of TB and drug resistance: “We are running out of drugs to use which is very worrying.” From 2h 50m to 2h 54m.

Science Daily on new research from Martin McKee and Ellen Nolte looking at preventable death rates in the US, UK, Germany and France. Covered by numerous scientific and political titles worldwide.

Times Higher Education looks at the School archives with an Odds and Quads feature on Patrick Manson’s hepatic trocar.

Times Higher Education obituary for Wendy Surridge.

Sally Bloomfield and James Logan in NHS My Health London discussing germs in the kitchen and bugs in the bedroom: “Your dishcloth is a critical point in kitchen hygiene. Dishcloths pick up bacteria and spread them to whatever they touch next. Ideally, throw your dishcloth away after each use, or use disposable ones. Otherwise, clean it in hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly and dry it immediately after each use.”

Highlights:  18-24 August 2012

Polly Roy in a Guardian Science Weekly podcast discussing her decades working to build synthetic versions of the Bluetongue virus and the implications for combating human pathogens.  Interview at 18m 20s.

Brendan Wren comments on research into possible links between antibiotic use in farming and obesity: “Indiscriminate use of antibiotics for livestock (often used to fatten animals) not only promotes the spread of antibiotic resistance, but can get in our food chain and affect the homeostasis of our gut microflora.” Comments were distributed via the Science Media Centre and appeared in Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Independent and numerous other publications.

World Mosquito Day feature on Reuters AlertNet:

The event was also featured in local newspapers including Camden New Journal .

Anne Mills speaks to American Public Radio about the economics of controlling mosquito-borne disease and the importance of acting fast:Viruses have the ability to spread very rapidly. And sometimes aerial spraying is the best way of coping with that.”

Helen Weiss tells Reuters how circumcision can reduce HIV and cervical cancer:We seem to be finding more and more things that circumcision protects against.”  Also in publications including Daily Mail.

Val Curtis on Expresso breakfast show on South African TV explaining why washing your hands is so important to prevent the spread of disease and describing soap as a “superhero”.

Nick Black gives his views on the Health and Social Care Bill to the BMJ:The principal challenge facing the government will be to demonstrate that the quality of care (safety, effectiveness, experience) has improved because quality in the NHS in England has been rising rapidly over the past decade.”

John Edmunds talks to LSHTM distance learning tutor Onome Akpogheneta, writing for IRIN News, about using modelling to predict vaccine coverage:We’re giving 110-120 million courses of vaccine out every year around the globe, but how much do we know about why people take these up?”

Public Health Foundation of India and LSHTM study into maternal health services in India featured in One World South Asia.

Highlights:  11-17 August 2012

The Independent on a new LSHTM toilet that could improve sanitation, on display as part of the Reinvent the Toilet Fair in Seattle: “If some of the entries looked too dainty and complex to survive long in a shanty town, others took a more down-to-earth approach, including one from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine which uses black soldier fly larvae to digest the waste, turning it into animal feed.” Also covered by the Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Express, BBC, NPR and 600 titles worldwide.

Chris Grundy in the BMJ explaining why casualties have increased in 20 mph speed zones: “To know whether roads are more or less dangerous now we need to know the number of roads that have been introduced as 20 mph roads in that year, the length of the roads and the number of collisions that occur per kilometre…The evidence we have so far shows that slowing speeds down from 30 to 20 mph reduces the number of collisions, there is no doubt about that.”

Jenny Cresswell in a News Medical Thought Leaders feature discussing new research on maternal obesity and neonatal death: “In Swaziland 27% of women were obese, this is almost identical to the current rates in England. In southern Africa you are approaching European levels… The association between maternal obesity and neonatal death is already a well-established phenomenon…The novel thing about this study is that it is the first time the association has been found in Africa.” Also in IRIN News and on Channel Africa.

Reuters report that a new study co-authored by Martin McKee links the British recession to 1,000 suicides. Also in the Telegraph, AlertNet, Bloomberg and over 140 titles worldwide.   

Celebrity MasterChef at the School in the Radio Times.

Le Monde report Vikram Patel’s recent TED talk on mental illness. Video of Vikram Patel’s ‘Mental health for all by involving all’ TED talk also on YouTube

Nick Black’s programme notes for a theatre production of The Doctor’s Dilemma are praised in the Guardian (blog): “Hooray for Nick Black. He sees his profession with eyes wide open. He recognises that vestiges of Sir Colenso and his mates survive today. Let us hope they are not reborn, red in tooth and claw, in the wake of the Cameron/Lansley reforms, and Danny Boyle’s vision of the NHS does not evaporate into thin air.”

Highlights:  4 – 10 August 2012

Ruth McNerney tells Huffington Post how 18th century Hungarian mummies could aid medical research: “These samples were taken from before drugs were around … so they represent early TB. If we can pin down areas in the DNA of these mummies and see how they differ from modern [DNA], it might help us understand why modern TB drug resistance is developing.”  Coverage by Associated Press led to numerous articles worldwide, including ABC and Fox News.

Jenny Cresswell in the Independent on the growing problem of obesity in sub-Saharan Africa and new LSHTM research which shows maternal obesity is threatening the lives of newborns in the region: “Once people move to the city, their activity levels go down. They are no longer able to grow their own food. Instead they tend to rely on street hawkers and eat foods high in fat and sugar.”  Also featured in a Lancet podcast and numerous titles worldwide.

Helen Rees in City Press on being a working mum: “I think if having it all is defined by a successful career and meaningful relationships with your children, then yes you can…You’re not going to be the mom that the school knows the best. You have to set rules for yourself and stick to them.”

Peter Piot speaks to Laurie Garrett and CSIS about the global fight against AIDS and his memoirs, No Time To Lose.

Highlights:  28 July – 3 August 2012

Kaye Wellings on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour discussing infidelity and designer vaginas: “Women do need to be reassured. It’s very odd that we seek to be normal in sexual matters where we’re desperate to be different in our dress and so on. It’s very odd that [women think] the genital area should be seen as ‘normal’.  Every genital area is different, all our faces are different.”

Lucy Reynolds on Newsnight discussing whether private companies are better at running NHS hospitals: “From experience around the world we can see that systems that rely heavily on private provision for healthcare have typical problems – soaring costs…a breakdown of trust between doctor and patients… and problems with overuse of medication which leads to antibiotic resistance.”

Vikram Patel on Al Jazeera Stream discussing global mental health: “The problem with depression is that…the moment you call it a mental illness, the impression you give someone in the community is that it is somehow related to the more sever forms of mental illness and thus stigma gets attached to depression. Improving access to evidence-based, effective care can be one of the great strategies to address misinformation and stigma in the community and we can draw upon the very successful  scaling up of care for people with HIV as an example of how that can be done.”

Heidi Larson in The Lancet on the challenges facing polio eradication efforts in the wake of damaging rumours and immunisation boycotts: “We worked very hard to dispel rumours such as those that were circulating in northern Nigeria a decade ago due to the mistrust of western government’s motives.And now, after the recent news, it will be much more difficult to give the polio vaccination programme the credibility to argue against these misconceptions, because people can just take out a newspaper and say ‘you’re wrong’.”

Times Higher Education review of Peter Piot’s memoirs, No Time To Lose.

Peter Piot in the New York Times on issues raised at the International AIDS Conference 2012. 

The Fiji Times on Val Curtis’ handwashing study in Ghana.

Martin McKee in the Financial Times on universal health coverage, ahead of the Global Health Policy Forum.

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