15 – 21 November 2014

Joy Lawn speaks to The Guardian on World Prematurity Day, about new research showing that complications associated with preterm birth are now the leading cause of death for children under five: “This marks a turning of the tide, a transition from infections to neonatal conditions, especially those related to premature births, and this will require entirely different medical and public health approaches … The success we’ve seen in the ongoing fight against infectious diseases demonstrates that we can also be successful if we invest in prevention and care for preterm birth.” Featured in over 250 publications worldwide including: New Scientist, BBC, The Telegraph, Times of India, Voice of America.

Joy Lawn is also interviewed by BBC Woman’s Hour  (at 24mins 30secs): “Here in the UK we are good at care, but in most of Africa or South Asia the babies who are dying from preterm birth are actually dying from nothing, from being too cold, from getting an infection from not being fed. It’s not necessarily a case of very advanced technology.” She also speaks to BBC World TV, BBC World Service Newsday, BBC Africa TV and Radio, and SABC Radio.

Charlotte Watts speaks to The Guardian about a new Lancet Series on violence against women and girls, co-led by the School:  “No magic wand will eliminate violence against women and girls. But evidence tells us that changes in attitudes and behaviours are possible, and can be achieved within less than a generation.” The Series receives widespread media coverage in publications including Time magazineYahoo, AFP  and BBC World Service.

Clare Wenham talks about the launch of this year’s annual UK Flusurvey project, which will feature free home flu test kits for some participants: “Virological swabbing is an exciting development of the Flusurvey project as it is going to allow us to see whether those who report symptoms online actually are suffering from a flu virus or something else entirely. This way we can get a much better understanding of the burden of flu at any one time in the UK.” Featured in Medical Xpress, Science Codex, Bright Surf, Health Canal.

The latest findings from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, co-led by the School, show that one in ten UK men say they have paid for sex. Featured in newspapers including the Telegraph, Daily Record, Daily Mail, The Independent, Huffington Post.

Laith Yakob speaks to The Lonely Planet, and is quoted by Travel Weekly and World First following the recent spread of the Chikungunya virus in the Caribbean: “The importance of using a repellent is because both species of mosquitoes that spread Chikungunya virus are day biters, so bed nets will not protect you from them.”

Claire Bertschinger speaks to ITV’s Good Morning Britain (at 26mins 15secs) after the new Band Aid single is released in aid of the current Ebola epidemic, 30 years on from the Ethiopian famine: “At the School we have over 250 volunteers – students, research students, alumni, as well as the staff – who are going out there to volunteer. It’s crucial to get the money in to help.”

Claire Bertschinger also talks to BBC World Service’s Outlook programme (at 1min 30secs) about situations such as the Ethiopian famine and the current Ebola outbreak, and how health workers can psychologically prepare: “I don’t think you can really prepare them, because everyone reacts differently, but you can inform them – and information, knowledge is power.”

She also speaks to BBC Essex (from 46mins) about the new Band Aid single: “I think it will have a dramatic effect, I think it’s already reached a million [pounds]… by midday today, and whatever it gets is more than nothing – so it’s a tremendous achievement.”

James Rudge is quoted by the Daily Mail after a Yorkshire poultry farm confirms an outbreak of Avian Flu: “That this bird flu case in Yorkshire has been identified as an H5 virus, and coincides with the H5N8 outbreak in the Netherlands, does point to a link between the events, but we won’t know for certain if or how they are connected until more data on the virus are available. There’s probably very little, if any, risk to human health. The main concern is the impact it could have on the poultry industry if it spreads further.”

Adam Kucharski writes for Scientific American about the spread of infectious disease: “When it comes to infectious diseases, children get a tough deal. Not only do they spend all day in a school-shaped mixing pot of viruses and bacteria, they do not yet have the repertoire of immune defences their parents have spent a lifetime building—which means that for most infections, from chickenpox to measles, it pays to be an adult.”

Taane Clark and Cally Roper write for The Guardian about a genetic ‘barcode’ for malaria that could help track the disease: “By taking just a finger-prick blood sample from a malaria patient, rapid DNA sequencing technologies can identify genetic “barcode” markers from very small amounts of parasite material. This means local agencies could use this new barcode to quickly and accurately identify the source of new malaria infections.”

Cathy Zimmerman talks to Reuters about the psychological trauma suffered by sex slaves: “It’s not just about prosecuting the perpetrators. In the end I think if you gave somebody the choice between regaining their mental health versus prosecuting their perpetrator, I think you know which one they’d choose.”

Chris Grundy speaks to Vox about why New York’s decision to implement 25mph speed limits will reduce accidents, injuries and deaths: “Firstly, there are fewer collisions. Driving more slowly means shorter breaking distances, and drivers are less likely to lose control. Secondly, any collisions that do occur are less serious. If the vehicle is going slower, it’s carrying less kinetic energy, so the impact is less severe and the injuries are less severe.”

Benjamin Hawkins co-authors an article for The Conversation about the health risks of nicotine, following the more widespread use of e-cigarettes.

The Missing Maps event at the School is mentioned in Scidev.net article examining the use of crowdsourced maps to help track disease in uncharted areas.

Research by the School is mentioned in a Devex article looking at maternal health and mortality.

Val Curtis is mentioned in Euractive, after talking at the European Parliament about open defecation on World Toilet Day.

Wired and Yahoo both write about The Longitude Prize, a five year competition to help combat antibacterial resistance which will be judged by a committee including Peter Piot.

Ebola coverage:

Heidi Larson is quoted by Bloomberg in an article about the challenges facing a potential Ebola vaccine: “Ebola is a highly emotive virus. You can never totally guess what people are going to be thinking.”

David Heymann is quoted by numerous publications including Daily Mail, Yahoo News, and The Express, after the Queen voices her concerns that the Ebola epidemic is overshadowing other serious diseases: “What the Queen has done is call attention to other infectious diseases which are with us every day and cause much greater misery, but not in such a spectacular way. She asked a very piercing and important question which means she has analysed clearly the world situation of disease and she’s come to this conclusion – which is the right conclusion.”

Peter Piot gives Devex four pieces of advice for the ongoing international effort to contain Ebola in West Africa and beyond: “There needs to be open access to data and information. We need to share what are the best treatments — what everyone is doing, and constantly evaluate what we’re doing.”

Adam Kucharski talks to +Plus Magazine about mathematical modelling of the Ebola outbreak: “This mistake happened a lot and [the 50% death rate] was widely reported… We know from past outbreaks that the average time between someone having symptoms to recovery or death is around eight days. So we adjusted the data and found the death rate is probably more around 70%, which subsequent clinical studies have lined up with.”

Comments from Peter Piot on the risk of Ebola in India are included articles in the Wall Street Journal and Down to Earth.

The School’s involvement in the new Ebola Response Anthropology Platform, developing advice and training for health workers in West Africa, features in publications including Modern Ghana, Wales Online, Public Finance International, Gov.uk.


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