29 September – 26 October 2012

Highlights: 20-26 October 2012

Val Curtis, Jeroen Ensink and Eileen Chappell speak to IRIN about LSHTM work on sanitation and hygiene: “We have a lot of people working on disgust. We have people doing PhDs, writing books on disgust, and why people are disgusted by things. People say, ‘Oh, worms in the toilet, that’s gross!’ but the Tiger Toilet is very good, very sustainable. So how do you get them to change their attitude and see it as an acceptable solution?”

Martin McKee in the Independent following his letter to the Lancet on the revised Tobacco Directive: “While the truth about these events will emerge eventually, it may be too late for the revised Tobacco Directive.” Also in the Guardian and various publications worldwide.

Brendan Wren speaks to Science about new research to eradicate a highly contagious form of Clostridium difficile: “It is an excellent, ground-breaking paper. [Someday] a simple suppository of the bacteria could prevent C. difficile reinfection and obviate the need for antibiotics, which may exacerbate the problem.”

James Logan in the East Lothian Courier on his love of insects and science: “I’ve always been interested in insects and I was always the kid who would be running into the house with handfuls of worms, making people scream. Later I got more into the health aspect of it, and what I’m doing now is combining my love of animals and insects with doing something which makes a difference to people, so it’s really a bonus.”

The Lancet review last week’s Global Health Lab ‘Can WHO Survive?’

The Guardian on the School’s evaluation of the Affordable Medicines Facility–malaria programme.

LSHTM research into the health benefits of British Summer Time highlighted in a Telegraph article about the clocks going back this weekend.  

Highlights: 13-19 October 2012

Val Curtis speaks to BBC News about new LSHTM research on dirty money for Global Handwashing Day: “There are about one billion germs per gram in faecal matter. Even the smallest amount can leave millions of germs on your hands.” The study was also featured by the Press Association, BBC Breakfast, Metro, Daily Mail, Radio New Zealand, Huffington Post and more than 120 publications in the UK and globally.

Val Curtis talks to Reuters about the importance to health of being open about toilet habits as the School’s Sanitation and Hygiene Exhibition opens: “People don’t talk about poo enough, and if we don’t talk about poo, how are we going to solve the problem of diarrhoeal diseases?” (Also in more than 30 outlets.)

Vikram Patel in BMJ on low cost measures to tackle the high suicide rate in India: “Completed suicides are just the tip of the iceberg. Most suicide attempts are simply unreported.”  He also comments on progress towards making mental health a priority in The Daily Beast/Newsweek.

Sian Clarke tells IRIN about treatment of seasonal malaria in Mali: “This is not so much a wonder drug as a highly effective strategy which is targeted at the peak period of risk when over 80 percent of malaria attacks occur in countries like Mali, Senegal, Chad and other parts of the Sahel.”

Ian Roberts speaks to the Telegraph about the dangers of needless blood transfusions: “A doctor will assess patients for levels of oxygen in the blood, find it’s low and think: ‘Oh, I’ll raise it.’ It’s a bit like cooking – you make a casserole, you taste it and think it’s not very salty and you add some salt. Like many interventions that have been used for a long time, the necessity for blood transfusion has never been properly tested.”

Parimita Routray speaks to ReliefWeb about how women are often the most vulnerable in the aftermath of a natural disaster: “Women from the Kusupur village in the Puri district of Orissa, told me they find it extremely difficult to manage in flood or cyclone shelters, especially during their menstrual cycle.”

The School’s Meet the Bugs tent at the Bloomsbury Festival features in Junior magazine.

Rosanna Peeling tells Infection Control Today about new research into hepatitis C rapid and point-of-care tests: “With promising oral drugs for Hepatitis C on the horizon, accurate and reliable point-of-care and rapid tests will allow millions of infected individuals worldwide to be diagnosed and treated.”

Highlights:  6-12 October 2012

Vikram Patel discusses depression in the Hindu on World Mental Health Day: “There seems little doubt in my mind that depression, in particular at the severe end of the experience of this condition, is as real a disorder as diabetes is at the severe end of blood glucose levels…Depression has existed as long as mankind itself, and certainly well before psychiatry, antidepressant medication or the nation of America itself came into being.” Also in Times of India.

Brendan Wren on BBC 5 Live discussing anthrax and the risk to heroin users: “Unlike medicines that we take, heroin preparations are not made under sterile conditions… anthrax spores are found naturally in the environment and can be blow into the air so they can readily contaminate heroin preparations. The current outbreak seems to be from one particular batch that has gone around Europe.” (Interview at 1h 47m)

Mary De Silva on BBC World News Focus on Africa discussing human rights abuses in mental health institutions: “It’s a very common picture. People with mental health problems are subject to human rights abuses not just in mental health hospitals but also at the hands of faith healers, in the community and sometimes at the hands of their own family. What we really need is the political willpower and financial investment in order to reform these hospitals, which perform an essential function for people in acute distress who have nowhere else to turn.”

Ian Roberts in the Daily Mail on why are hospitals are not using tranexamic acid: “Being out of patent means that anyone can make this drug, so there’s less money to be made. There’s not a huge financial incentive to market it. All patients undergoing surgery should be offered this drug. Using it could also save the NHS about £25 million annually.”

Simon Croft speaks to FT about research and funding for neglected tropical diseases: “Lumping them together conceals their diversity from the viewpoint of medical science. They pose different challenges, and they are at different stages of development when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.”

Nick Black speaks to South London Press about a £4m helipad at St George’s Hospital in London: “An air ambulance is fine for sparsely populated areas where land transport takes a long time, like oil rigs, but in built up areas the evidence is non-existent. These things are expensive and you have to think about what else you could have done with these resources.”

Ken Eames on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire discussing why poor hygiene make Britons the world’s worst flu-spreaders: “It’s all about habit and routine…there are fairly small measures people can do day-to-day just to keep themselves a little bit safer from catching flu and making it a bit less likely they’ll spread it. Things like carrying tissues around with you, using them properly and throwing them away when you’ve done. It’s not rocket science but I think we haven’t quite got into the habit yet.” (Interview at 1h 46m)

Val Curtis in Indonesia press including Perspekitif Online and Tribunnews following a handwashing event in Jakarta.

Highlights: 29 September – 5 October 2012

Bernard Rachet speaks to BBC News about UK ovarian cancer survival rates lagging behind other countries: “The results show that the proportion of women with advanced disease is similar to that in other countries, but that survival for women with advanced disease is much lower. This suggests that the success of treatment is lower in the UK, and more effort should be made to ensure that UK women with ovarian cancer have the same access to the best treatments.” Also covered by Channel 4 News, Daybreak and the Independent.

Brendan Wren on BBC News discussing how a deadly strain of Salmonella has taken advantage of the spread of HIV in Africa: “It’s actually quite a huge problem and it seems to be getting worse because there are many susceptible people, it’s got a grip in Africa. HIV, I think it’s fair to say, provided a springboard for it to take off.”

Peter Piot in the Straits Times on the rise of diabetes in Singapore: “When we name lifestyle as a risk factor, the whole of society is to blame, not just the individual. The challenge is to say it is unacceptable that one in two people here will be diabetic.”

Rosalind Stanwell-Smith speaks to Press Association about the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ and how allergy rises are linked to losing touch with old microbial friends: “It’s time we recognised that simplistically talking about home and personal cleanliness as the cause of the problem is ill-advised, because it’s diverting attention from finding workable solutions and the true, probably much more complex, causes.” Also covered by the Telegraph, Huffington Post and numerous titles online.

Sarah Tougher in Nature on the future of the Affordable Medicines Facility – Malaria programme: “We see that the AMFm has been a game-changer in the private for-profit sector.”

BBC News on the importance of handwashing, the School’s research and a preview to Global Handwashing Day.

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