1 – 7 February 2014

Steve Cummins speaks to PBS, Health Magazine and National Journal about his recent study into US obesity initiatives, leading to over 140 pieces of coverage in the local US press and specialist medical outlets: “Though these interventions are plausible and well-meaning, this study suggests that they are only effective in taking us part of the way in changing dietary behaviour. In order to realise their full potential we need to better understand how to translate changes in perception to changes in behaviour.”

Shakoor Hajat’s study into UK heat-related deaths is covered by The Independent, The Guardian, Evening Standard, ITV and Huffington Post.  He tells The Independent:  “A lot of these deaths, both heat-related and cold-related, are occurring in people who are very infirm – mainly elderly people with underlying health problems. Even if mean temperatures go over 20C we start seeing some heat-related deaths – usually from cardiovascular and respiratory problems.” He is also interviewed by several local BBC Radio stations and the Voice of Russia.

Thomas Walker speaks to The Times about using genetically-modified mosquitoes for disease control: “I think there are risks to releasing insects that have genetic modifications. When you eradicate the mosquito population you also eradicate part of the food chain. Mosquitoes are prey for a large variety of predators…Having said that, dengue is a massive problem. There is no vaccine, no real prophylaxis, no drugs. Even if this is effective in the short term then it’s probably a good thing.”  

Andrew Bastawrous speaks to BBC News about Kenyan trials of Peek, a portable eye examination kit that transforms a smartphone into a pocket-size optical clinic: “Many children under-perform at school due to undiagnosed vision problems, which if corrected gives them a greater opportunity to realise their potential. Currently, clinicians, of which there are very few, go to schools to screen children. This takes them away from the hospital where they are needed most and puts the hospital under increased pressure.” He is also interviewed by BBC World Service (report: 18m 45s)

Shah Ebrahim is quoted by Voice of America about his recent study revealing how South Africa has the greatest rates of high blood pressure in the world: “High blood pressure is becoming as common in developing countries as it is in the West. And that has been a trend we have been aware of for probably 30 or 40 years, but there has been very little real data to actually examine it exclusively.” The study is also covered by The Times of India, The South Asian Times, and specialist medical press.

John Edmunds is interviewed by CNBC on pandemics: “If SARS had got out from where it was, if it had got much further, it could have been a real problem… We could still be dealing with it now, it could have been a global pandemic and we’d be trying to develop a vaccine.”

Martin McKee is interviewed by Al Jazeera about a recent study into the lethal effects of vodka in Russian men.

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