24 – 30 October 2015

David Lawson speaks to Thomson Reuters Foundation about his new research in northern Tanzania, suggesting that children in polygynous households either do better or just as well as children in monogamous households within the same village: “It’s an important finding because we have this very strong language used by the United Nations and others that polygyny is universally harmful. Most of the policy speak on this topic is not actually very evidence based… What we are arguing for is cultural sensitivity.” This leads to global coverage in outlets including The Daily Mail, Japan Times, The Times of India, Malaysian Digest, The Star (Kenya), Romania TV and NDTV. Dr Lawson also speaks to International Business Times.

Nick Furnham speaks to Science Magazine about his new research that supports the theory that allergy is the price humans pay for having immunity to parasites. There is further coverage in outlets including The Scientist and Smithsonian.

In the run-up to Halloween, Adam Kucharski designs Alex Bellos’ Monday puzzle in The Guardian, asking readers to work out how far across the population a zombie virus will spread. The Guardian also runs the solution to the Zombie brainteaser.

Phil Edwards is live from Harlow on BBC Breakfast discussing whether switching off streetlights affects the levels of car accidents or crime. The Council in Harlow are paying to switch the lights back on after residents said they felt unsafe.

Julian Peto speaks to The Independent about compensation for UK soldiers who develop cancer due to asbestos exposure during their military service: “Limiting mesothelioma claims to asbestos exposure after 1987 would be absurd and unfair. Mesothelioma almost never develops less than 25 years after asbestos exposure, and the risk is still increasing 60 years later.”

Vikram Patel features in a short film by Thomson Reuters Foundation about a mental health programme that he has co-founded in India, which trains individuals with a high school degree to be “counsellors” that work to provide mental health care in the community.

Peter Piot visits Canada to address the Gairdner Global Health Symposium as the winner of the Gairdner Global Health Award 2015. This receives coverage in Canadian outlets including Le Lezard and Longwoods.

James Logan speaks to The Daily Star about jiggers in Kenya: “The jigger is a tiny flea found in most tropical countries. Jiggers burrow into exposed skin on the feet where they stay for two weeks laying their eggs causing the feet to swell. If untreated it can lead to serious infections and loss of toenails. Luckily, these little burrowing beasties can be treated fairly easily by physically removing them.”

Ulla Griffiths is interviewed about vaccination uptake and cost-effectiveness for ‘Improve and Protect’, a collaborative film from Royal Society for Public Health and ITN Productions (interview in section on Sanofi Pasteur): “The whole annual NHS budget is around £100 billion and out of that only 0.4% is spent on vaccines, so it’s really small compared to the whole budget.”

Stephen Evans speaks to The Telegraph about new US research showing that taking statins may make the flu vaccine less effective: “The effects are too uncertain to suggest that patients stop their statins. For many people taking them there will be very certain benefits in heart disease and to stop them for an uncertain harm in respiratory disease would be unwise, based on this evidence.”

David Schellenberg is interviewed by Sveriges Radio about the malaria vaccine RTS,S after the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts advises the World Health Organization to carry out large-scale pilot demonstrations of the vaccine:This vaccine could have a very important impact on not only malaria cases but cases of severe malaria and malaria deaths.”

Neil Pearce speaks to Deutsche Welle about the counter-reaction to a recent report by the World Health Organization which states that red and processed meat is carcinogenic: The same happened with smoking, with asbestos and many other things.”

Sian White speaks to Nyasa Times (Malaysia) appealing for better sanitation for people with physical disabilities: “I think as community members we need to be looking out for the different water needs and different sanitation needs that people in our communities might have. Listen to people with disability and ask them what their challenges are.”

Alumnus Tom Hughes is mentioned in the Independent as part of a team of researchers in Borneo who are sampling bats for potential zoonotic viruses that could have pandemic potential similar to HIV or Ebola.

Bristol Post writes about Anna Goodman’s previous research showing the potential impact of the UK’s autumnal clock change on activity levels in children.

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