23 February – 1 March 2013

Sarah Walters talks to BBC News online about a new study highlighting lower rates of late-stage breast cancer survival in the UK and Denmark, in comparison to other high-income countries: The roll-out of national mammography screening will be expected to improve overall survival in Denmark. In the UK, we should now investigate whether the treatment of women with later-stage breast cancer meets international standards. There is particular concern that this is not the case, especially for older women.”  The study is also covered in 65 other publications, including the Telegraph, ITV news, Sky News, LBC Radio, Channel 5 News, BBC World News, Express, Daily Mail, and Daily Star.

Ian Roberts speaks to the Express about a Cochrane systematic review into the use of starch-based colloid fluids in the NHS, which may lead to patient deaths:  “Starch solutions are widely used in the NHS and the evidence from our study shows that they kill patients… They are more expensive than saline and they increase the risk of death. British hospitals use far more starch solutions than most other countries. The ongoing use of colloids is unjustified… We don’t need to wait for starch solutions to be banned in order to take action in the NHS. We have a safer, less expensive alternative that is widely used around the world. The NHS should take action now.” Also covered in other publications including the Evening Standard, Daily Star, Independent.ie, Science News Online and News Medical.

Rosanna Peeling writes a blog for Huffington Post and Reuters AlertNet to mark the first birthday of the Global Congenital Syphilis Partnership (GCSP): “…the GCSP knows that congenital syphilis is a winnable battle. Today, with millions of dollars invested in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programmes for HIV, more pregnant women have access to maternal healthcare than ever before. The recent availability of a dual HIV-syphilis rapid test means that we can now easily integrate syphilis screening into PMTCT programmes. A simple rapid test and a single dose of widely-available penicillin we can treat syphilis and prevent pregnant women passing it onto their unborn babies.”

Culture 24 and Time Out preview the John Snow bicentenary exhibition ‘Cartographies of Life & Death: John Snow & Disease Mapping’.

Heidi Larson speaks to ABC Radio about the threat to the polio vaccination programme in Pakistan: “There’s been some peripheral references to the CIA fake vaccination programme and it’s also to do with the Taliban not wanting girls to be educated or working… it’s a mix of political, cultural and conflict reasons why this is happening.”

A feature on handwashing and hygiene in The New Yorker mentions Val Curtis’ work on hygiene and disgust.

The Tufts Daily student newspaper interviews Peter Piot about his work on AIDS ahead of his lecture at Tufts University: We are entering now a new phase, one where, on the one hand, I am quite concerned that there is a bit of AIDS fatigue and complacency and that there is a perception that it is done and AIDS is over. AIDS is not over by any means. There were [in the 2011/2012 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic], according to UNAIDS, 2.5 million new infections in the world and 1.7 million people died. This is not a detail. It is the first cause of death in Africa.”

Andrew Bastawrous talks to the Henley Standard ahead of a blindfolded charity run he is completing with his wife to raise money for his eye health project in Kenya: “We didn’t think it was fair to just diagnose people with eye problems without doing something to help them… In Britain, visually impaired people have aids like Braille, guide dogs and social services but there’s nothing like that in Kenya. There’s no free healthcare either, so if a person starts losing their sight it can put a heavy burden on their family as well.”

In a Lancet blog Anna Glasier comments on a study demonstrating that the use of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) does not appear to increase fracture risk: “This study confirms what others have shown, that women who use Depo-Provera® appear to have a modest increase in fracture risk compared with women using other contraceptive methods. Importantly however, in this UK population the increased risk of fracture preceded the start of Depo-Provera®. The difference in fracture risk was mainly in fractures associated with trauma rather than those typical of osteoporosis. Further research is indicated to explore behavioural differences among populations of women choosing to use different contraceptive methods.”

Peter Smith co-authors an article in the Lancet discussing the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine.

In an article about the fifth International Symposium on Current Trend in Drug Discovery and Research, the Times of India reports that Simon Croft spoke on the present and future challenges in chemotherapy of leishmaniasis.

Meenakshi Gautam gives her opinion to the Times of India about the women-related schemes put forward by the Indian government in the Union Budget: “There are already so many government schemes for empowering women but none of them have really shown any benefits. Creating the Nirbhaya Fund without any plan of action sounds like any other scheme.”

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