22 – 28 November 2014

Andrew Bastawrous, co-founder of PEEK, is quoted on BBC Scotland as the crowdfunding campaign for the portable eye examination kit begins: “With Peek we are hoping to increase the access to eye care to the millions of people who are blind and shouldn’t be. There are so many hard-working and excellent eye care workers in hospitals and charities and one of the greatest challenges they face is getting expertise and diagnostic tools to remote locations – we hope Peek will support their efforts to alleviate unnecessary sight loss.” Also featured by Wired, Mashable (appeared on the homepage), Daily Record, Sunday Post, Herald Scotland, FC Hornet, Talk Talk.

Stewart Jordan and Andrew Bastawrous also speak to Arise News about the decision to invest in PEEK through crowdfunding – Andrew: “We’ve chosen to go down the crowdfunding route, to keep the costs low and our mission aligned with what we’re trying to do.” Stewart: “Hopefully we can get over our £70,000 target in the not too distant future… we’re about maximising impact – not maximising profit.”

Claudia Allemani speaks to The Guardian about her study into global cancer survival, co-led with Michel Coleman: “In the 21st century, there should not be such a dramatic gulf in survival. The findings can be used to evaluate the extent to which investment in health-care systems is improving their effectiveness.” The study receives worldwide coverage in more than 70 publications including Bloomberg, , Yahoo, China Post, Indian Telegraph, Japan Times.

Michel Coleman is interviewed on Sky News about the study: “Patients don’t necessarily approach their doctor as early as they might when they have symptoms that could be suggestive of a cancer. When they do see their primary care physician maybe they’re not referred early enough – because its really hard to tell the symptoms of possible cancer from symptoms of other common diseases.” He also appears on Arise TV.

Kaye Wellings talks to BBC Radio Four’s Thinking Allowed programme, about the field of sex research and the new ‘Sexology’ Wellcome Trust exhibition, based in part on findings from the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (at 3mins 30secs): “I don’t think many people who’ve worked in this field haven’t had some opposition from one direction or another… It’s quite clear that anyone going into that field must cope with the fact that at least they may not hit the heights, but at most they may be pilloried, and their funding may be precarious.”

Kaye Wellings also speaks to BBC Radio Four’s Inside Science programme (at 18mins): “We were very lucky in the sense our careers have given the curiosity about sexual behaviour, and certainly growing up in the north you were not unaware of the repressive forces that governed sexual behaviour.”

Laith Yakob is quoted in a Guardian article about the recent Chikungunya outbreak: “There is also a tendency for the most connected places on Earth to have very large human populations, providing excellent opportunities for newly introduced pathogens to successfully invade.”

Brendan Wren talks to Daily Mail after the Food Standards Agency finds very high levels of the campylobacter bacteria present in chicken sold by supermarkets:Frankly it is scandalous that two out of three chickens bought into our households are contaminated with such a serious pathogen, I can’t think of any other situation where this would be allowed. Our poultry flocks need to be vaccinated against campylobacter, even if this slightly increases the cost of poultry products.”

The Telegraph explores research from the School and UCL which found that one in ten UK men have paid for sex.

James Logan is quoted by National Geographic, commenting on a joint study between researchers from the US and Mali into malaria carrying mosquitos: “Any mosquito paper that tries to unravel their complex ecology is a winner in my eyes. There is much about malaria mosquito ecology and biology that we still don’t understand, so studies like this could have large implications in the control of diseases like malaria.”

James Logan also speaks the The Scientist about two papers published this week about the mosquito genome: “Both papers provide really powerful information on the evolution of different malaria mosquito species. Comparisons between the [species] are likely to reveal the reason why some mosquitoes are better at transmitting malaria than others, [which is] vital for the future control of malaria.”

Brendan Wren speaks to Deutsche Welle about the ongoing threat of bubonic plague: “Madagascar has been prone to plague outbreaks sporadically for many years. The warm climate there was especially suitable for rodents and fleas transmitting the plague. But general hygiene is also a problem, for example, in overcrowded prisons.”

Charlotte Watts speaks to Sputnik News about the Lancet Series on violence against women and girls, co-led by the School: “Ensuring women have access to justice is really important and needs to be strengthened if violence against women is to be taken seriously… Along with a strengthened judicial response and strengthened services for survivors, we need a greater focus on prevention. But we are seeing some successes.”

The Series continues to generate coverage by many media sources including: The Huffington Post, Time, and Health Canal.

Egbert Sondorp talks to Nature Middle East about the devastating effect of the current conflict on the Syrian health system: “The longer a war takes, the more the institutions which you take for granted are destroyed or don’t function properly anymore… Lack of trust is another issue. Winning back trust is very hard.”

A collaborative study between the School and Development Media International, researching whether radio shows can improve mortality in Burkina Faso, features in Yahoo News.

Heidi Larson is quoted by America Magazine in an article about Tetanus vaccines in Kenya, which some Bishops alleged caused sterilisation: “[Vaccine studies] were misinterpreted by a Catholic pro-life network, which sent a message to Catholic communities in 60 countries telling them that the tetanus vaccine sterilized its recipients.”

Paul Hayes writes for The Guardian about drug policy in the UK: “Drug policy and drug treatment has never been a priority for the DH or the NHS. The financial crisis, the interface between health and social care, waiting times, cancer, dementia, and a host of other issues dominate the DH/NHS agenda.”

Isabel dos-Santos-Silva speaks to Imaging Technology News about her research on breast cancer risk: “Mammographic density is one of the strongest risk factors for breast cancer and is increasingly being used to tailor preventive and screening strategies to a woman’s risk. It is also a major determinant of the sensitivity of mammographic screening and, by extension, the detection of interval cancers.”

Val Curtis, and her work in her self-coined field of ‘disgustology’ is featured in a UN Regional Information Centre article.

Islay Mactaggart is quoted by The Times of India, discussing research which found high levels of disability in Telangana State, India: “We cannot solely blame the government as all stakeholders like community, private sector, NGOs must come together to rehabilitate the disabled” Also reported in DNA India.

Chris Drakely talks to The Borneo Post about his team’s research using remote controlled drones to track malaria-carrying monkeys: “The drone weighs 700 grams and can fly at an altitude of 400 metres for around 45 minutes. Several household clusters of infection shows that forest is not the only transmission.

Chris Drakely is also featured in a Malaysian Daily Express article about malaria and global tourism.

Ebola coverage

David Heymann is interviewed by The Guardian’s Science Weekly Podcast about the next stages in the fight against Ebola (at 21:00): “The ideal diagnostic test is one that a health worker can take to the patient, and within a period of 20 minutes or so tell whether that patient is infected with Ebola or not… What we have now is a test that takes between 6 and 8 hours to identify whether a patient is infected with Ebola, and that must be done in a laboratory.”

Peter Piot speaks to Reuters about the future of the Ebola crisis: “By the end of the year we should start seeing a real decline everywhere. It will be controlled in one county or one district, but then pop up again in another. Let’s not forget that this whole epidemic started with one person – in other words, it will not be over until the last person with Ebola is dead or has recovered without infecting other people. That is the daunting task we face.” The interview is featured in a number of publications including Yahoo News, Voice of America and Economic Times (India).

Sebastian Funk appears on BBC World News to discuss estimates of the deaths caused by Ebola this year: “Some people have warned that changing policies, for example in Liberia, where a law has been passed that corpses shouldn’t be buried anymore, but instead be incinerated… This could lead to under-reporting. Having said that, I think it’s hard to imagine under-reporting happening on a large scale.”

David Mabey talks to New Scientist about the effectiveness of screening travellers at the airports for Ebola, after it is revealed that 1004 people have been screened: “It’s a classic case of the government feeling the need to be seen to be doing something. Whether it is in anyway cost-effective, I very much doubt.”

David Mabey speaks to the Daily Mail about the 99 people who have been tested for Ebola in the UK: “More people are going out there – about 30 NHS staff have just gone – so we may get a case or two, but they have been very well trained by the army. Lots of people come and go between here and West Africa. Some will get a fever, like the patient recently admitted to St George’s Hospital. There will be cases of malaria. Obviously anyone coming back with a fever has to be tested.”

Melissa Parker is quoted by Scidev.net discussing the new Ebola Anthropology Platform project: “You need to engage local people and tailor biomedical interventions into a form that is acceptable to them.”

She is also quoted by All Africa, discussing the project: “This funding has enabled us to establish a platform which draws together an international network of anthropologists with expertise in West Africa and medical anthropology.”

David Heymann also speaks to The Hindu after an Ebola survivor in India who remains infectious is quarantined: “It is up to the government to make decisions on how they want to quarantine. I think I cannot speak against or for that in any way, but there are alternative methods that could be used… There are many ways of quarantining – many patients are very willing and prepared to self-quarantine after understanding the problem.”

The School’s Ebola modelling work is mentioned in a Huffington Post article.

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