7 – 13 September 2013

James Stuart speaks to IRIN about a new study evaluating a mass vaccination campaign with a new meningitis serogroup A vaccine, PsA-TT, in sub-Saharan Africa. The study found no cases of serogroup A meningococcal meningitis following the vaccination of almost 2 million people, and  incidence of all cases of meningitis was reduced by 94%: “The other big difference with this new vaccine is that it actually drives the bugs out of the throat. With the old vaccine, people were protected against the disease, but they would still be carriers, and the spread of the bugs would still continue. This one has a double effect, which is why the results have been so dramatic. It looks as if transmission is just stopping.” Brian Greenwood speaks to SciDev.Net about the findings: “This is one of the most dramatic outcomes from a public health intervention that I have seen. There are now real prospects that the devastating effects of this infection in Africa can be prevented.” The story is also covered by over 125 other publications around the world including Financial Times, Le Parisien, Le Monde and AllAfrica.

Nick Black talks to the Guardian about his work investigating preventable hospital deaths in the wake of the Keogh report: What we have found is that many preventable deaths are occurring in elderly people with multiple pathologies. These are patients with a matter of weeks to live. We want to identify mistakes contributing to these deaths.” The work is also referenced in another Guardian article.

Charlotte Watts talks to Associated Press and AFP about new research, led by the South African Medical Research Council, that shows that 1 in 10 men have committed rape against a woman who is not their partner, rising to one quarter when it included their wife or girlfriend: “It’s not enough to focus on services for women. It may be that the culture where they [men] grew up condones violence, but it’s not impossible to change that.” Covered in over 600 publications including  Telegraph, Independent, Washington Post, National Public Radio, India Today Japan Today and South China Morning Post.

James Logan talks to BBC News online about findings presented by scientists at the American Chemical Society meeting, revealing a group of compounds that could block mosquitoes’ ability to smell humans: Although we already have good repellents on the market, there is still room for new active ingredients. The challenge that scientists face is improving upon the protection provided by existing repellents. If a new repellent can be developed which is more effective, longer lasting and affordable, it would be of great benefit to travellers and people living in disease endemic countries.” Covered by other publications including Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and Medical Daily

Brian Greenwood tells the Thomson Reuters Foundation about his top five breakthroughs in the global fight against malaria:Artemesinin saved the day after chloroquine resistance emerged, and reversed an increasing mortality from malaria.”

Andy Haines speaks to News Medical about a collaborative project including the School which will develop an internet-based platform that will link health data with information on the environment and climate: “This ground-breaking collaboration will develop and make available a range of linked environmental and health data to the research community. Although the focus is on data from the UK, the work will have international implications and ensure that the UK plays a global leadership role in improving the understanding of the complex linkages between public health and environmental change.

Joy Lawn writes on the Huffington Post blog about the importance of neonatal nursing and the International Neonatal Nursing Awards: Nurses and midwives with the skills to look after women – especially to care for preterm newborns who can die within minutes – are in short supply in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where 80% of all newborn deaths take place.”  The awards are also covered by various publications including The Nation and the Associated Press of Pakistan.

Andy Haines talks to SciDev.Net about the WHO ‘Research for Universal Health Coverage’ report published last month: Even amongst many poor countries, we see an increase in non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In combination with a high rate of communicable diseases, this could become very difficult to manage. We need to think about emerging threats as well as today’s problems.”

Ben Goldacre speaks to BMJ for an article about plans to increase access to patient data for medical research.

Brian Greenwood speaks to Thomson Reuters Foundation about seasonal malaria chemoprophylaxis – the pioneering approach to combating seasonal in West Africa.

International Innovation magazine includes a feature on Frank Dudbridge’s work on genetic disease prediction: “I am interested in using statistics to learn how genetics affects our health and behaviour. I am collaborating with biomedical scientists in a range of fields including cardiovascular, psychiatric, autoimmune and cancer genetics, and my aim is to develop and apply the appropriate statistical methods to make new discoveries in these areas.”

Anne Mills is interviewed in the Bangkok Post about her perceptions of the Thai healthcare system.

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