12-18 March 2016

Ellen Flint’s research which found that walking and cycling to work is linked with lower body fat and BMI in mid-life results in over 300 pieces of coverage including BBC Online: “This study shows that people who do manage to build some level of physical exertion into their commute, even if it’s just walking to a bus stop or cycling a short distance, tend to be less heavy and have less body fat than people who drive all the way to work. It’s a win, win really for public health and the environment.” The story is also covered by Daily Mail, Evening Standard and the Press Association which leads to coverage in a large number of regional media outlets. Ellen is interviewed by Sky News, and Sky News radio  feature the study in their news bulletins which are syndicated to a large number of affiliated regional stations. WNBC-NY (NBC) radio in New York also cover the research.

Laura Rodrigues  authors a Lancet comment on a new study that estimates the risk of microcephaly is about one for every 100 women infected with Zika virus during the first trimester of pregnancy: “The finding that the highest risk of microcephaly was associated with infection in the first trimester of pregnancy is biologically plausible… The fast production of knowledge during this epidemic is an opportunity to observe science in the making.” This leads to more than 400 pieces of coverage including the Guardian and the Daily Mail via the Press Association, the New York Times, Le Figaro, Der Spiegel Malay Mail and the South African Citizen.

The Press Association cover a study co-authored by Martin Mckee that suggests cuts in Pension Credit spending as part of the Coalition government’s austerity measures in England have a ‘significant’ link with a rise in death rates among pensioners aged 85 or over. Story generates widespread UK coverage including the Independent, the Mirror and over 200 regional outlets.

An outbreak of Lassa fever is suspected to be behind the deaths of 130 in Nigeria. David Heymann provides comment for CNN: “When the rains are over, the rats then come closer to humans to steal grains. The government has made the right recommendations about infection control in health facilities…the virus is passed from person to person by poor infection control.” Story is also featured by Forbes and syndicated across a range of US regional outlets.

In a comment piece for the Indian Express Vikram Patel says the Indian Budget is disappointing for the country’s health: A country enjoying high levels of economic growth, producing large numbers of health professionals and volumes of cheap drugs, and boasting amazing ingenuity for creative innovations to address health problems at low-cost, also has the dubious distinction of being one of the most regressive healthcare systems of all middle-income countries.”

A SciDev.Net feature highlighting free available resources on various aspects of mental health references Vikram Patel’s research on how low-income countries cannot effectively use Western-style models of mental health care, and mentions the School’s Centre for Global Mental Health and the Mental Health Innovation Network. Vikram also records podcasts on culture, religion and social factors in mental health and how to design interventions and using cinema to tackle stigma.

Following their coverage of Oona Campbell’s research examining how long women around the world stay in health facilities after giving birth, the Daily Mail feature the story of a mother-of-two who is sent home with her sick baby just four hours after giving birth. The study continues to be picked up widely including the Express, the Fiji Times and Italy’s Quotidiano Sanità.

Health Canal feature Laith Yakob’s research on the global distribution of dengue, chikungunya and the mosquito vectors.

Health Canal also report on research led by Umberto D’Alessandro that shows four available antimalarial treatments are safe to use in pregnancy. This was the largest ever clinical trial on malaria during pregnancy in Africa.

Research conducted by Bob Carpenter which found that around 120 cot deaths could be prevented every year in the UK if parents were advised not to co-sleep is referenced in a Daily Mail piece on mothers sharing a bed with their baby.

Ahead of the clocks going forward at the end of the month, the Independent examines the decision to introduce daylight savings time a century ago. The piece mentions School research which found permanently increasing the hours of waking daylight could increase children’s activity levels.

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