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The Entire World Mechanism Under Capitalism Destroys, Dismantles Disfigures and Devastates Human Intelligence and the Market and Its Profiteers Waste Resources and Dare to Tell the World That They are Developing What They Call Artificial Intelligence: The Biggest Lie Ever Concocted on Earth: Save and Develop Human Intelligence and Fight Against the Grand Lie of This Robotics-Profiteers: Invest in Saving Nurturing Protecting and Developing Human Intelligence: More Than 90% of the World’s Children Breathe Toxic Air Every Day: And What Does That Do to Them



|| October 29: 2018 || ά. Every day around 93% of the world’s children under the age of 15 years, that’s 01.8 billion children, breathe air, that is so polluted it puts their health and development at serious risk. Tragically, many of them die. The World Health Ogranisation:WHO estimates that in 2016, 600,000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air. And what does this dying of 600,000 human-child tell us about the destroying, dismantling, disfiguring and devasting of human intelligence? That they are done, finished before their human intelligence could develop so that they reach natural adulthood and exist and contribute to this world and societies of this world.

A new WHO Report on Air pollution and child health: Prescribing clean air examines the heavy toll of both ambient or outside and household air pollution on the health of the world’s children, particularly, in low and middle income countries. The Report is being launched on the eve of WHO’s first ever Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health. The Report Shows that when pregnant women are exposed to polluted air, they are more likely to give birth prematurely and have small children with low birth-weight. Air pollution, also, impacts neurodevelopment and cognitive ability and can trigger asthma and childhood cancer. Children, who have been exposed to high levels of air pollution, may be, at greater risk for chronic diseases, such as, cardiovascular disease later in life.

‘’Polluted air is poisoning millions of children and ruining their lives.” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This is inexcusable. Every child should be able to breathe clean air so they can grow and fulfil their full potential.” One reason why children are, particularly, vulnerable to the effects of air pollution is that they breathe more rapidly than adults and so absorb more pollutants.

They, also, live closer to the ground, where some pollutants reach peak concentrations, at a time when their brains and bodies are still developing. New-borns and young children are, also, more susceptible to household air pollution in homes, that regularly use polluting fuels and technologies for cooking, heating and lighting

‘’Air Pollution is stunting our children’s brains, affecting their health in more ways than we suspected. But there are many straight-forward ways to reduce emissions of dangerous pollutants.” says Dr Maria Neira, the Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO.

‘’WHO is supporting implementation of health-wise policy measures like accelerating the switch to clean cooking and heating fuels and technologies, promoting the use of cleaner transport, energy-efficient housing and urban planning. We are preparing the ground for low emission power generation, cleaner, safer industrial technologies and better municipal waste management.” she said.

The Report’s Key Findings

::: Air pollution affects neuro-development, leading to lower cognitive test outcomes, negatively affecting mental and motor development.

::: Air pollution is damaging children’s lung function, even, at lower levels of exposures.

Globally, 93% of the world’s children under 15 years of age are exposed to ambient fine particulate matter:PM2.5 levels above WHO air quality guidelines, which include the 630 million of children under five years of age and 01.8 billion of children under 15 years

::: In low and middle income countries around the world, 98% of all children under five are exposed to PM2.5 levels above WHO air quality guidelines. In comparison, in high-income countries, 52% of children under five are exposed to levels above WHO air quality guidelines.

::: More than 40% of the world’s population, which includes for one billion children under 15, is exposed to high levels of household air pollution from mainly cooking with polluting technologies and fuels.

::: About 600’000 deaths in children under 15 years of age were attributed to the joint effects of ambient and household air pollution in 2016.

::: Together, household air pollution from cooking and ambient or outside air pollution cause more than 50% of acute lower respiratory infections in children under five years of age in low and middle income countries.

::: Air pollution is one of the leading threats to child health, accounting for almost one in 10 deaths in children under five years of age.

WHO’s First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, which opens in Geneva on Tuesday, October 30 will provide the opportunity for world leaders, ministers of health, energy and environment, mayors, heads of inter-governmental organisations, scientists and others to commit to act against this serious health threat, which shortens the lives of around seven million people each year.

Actions should include

::: Action by the health sector to inform, educate, provide resources to health professionals and engage in inter-sectoral policy making.

::: Implementation of policies to reduce air pollution: All countries should work towards  meeting WHO global air quality guidelines to enhance the health and safety of children. ::: To achieve this, governments should adopt such measures as reducing the over-dependence on fossil fuels in the global energy mix, investing in improvements in energy efficiency and facilitating the uptake of renewable energy sources. Better waste management can reduce the amount of waste that is burned within communities and, thereby, reducing ‘community air pollution’. The exclusive use of clean technologies and fuels for household cooking, heating and lighting activities can drastically improve the air quality within homes and in the surrounding community.

::: Steps to minimise children’s exposure to polluted air: Schools and playgrounds should be located away from major sources of air pollution like busy roads, factories and power plants.

Breathe Life air pollution campaign: Breathe Life is a partnership of WHO, UN Environment and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants that aims to increase awareness and action on air pollution by governments and individuals.

Read the Report:::ω.

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Oncologists Demand More Education on the Use of Biosimilars: The European Society for Medical Oncology Takes Leading Action


















|| October 21: 2018 || ά. Biological medicines are responsible for some of the most promising innovations in cancer treatment, including, immunotherapy, targeted drugs and vaccines but they are, also, expensive. According to a Report by IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science EU-wide spending in cancer therapeutics exceeded 24 billion euros in 2016, with biological medicines accounting for almost 40% of the expense. The introduction of biosimilars for the top three oncology agents is estimated to enable up to tw0 billion euros in savings across Europe in 2021 alone. As such, their use could increase the availability of innovative therapies for patients, who would not, otherwise, be treated with biologicals due to economic constraints.

All of this, however, hinges on a broader understanding of biosimilars throughout the oncology ecosystem. The European Society for Medical Oncology:ESMO has, already, taken a position on the use of biosimilars, supporting their use in oncology as they represent cheaper alternatives to reference biologics with the potential to make optimal cancer care more sustainable and widely accessible. Drawing further attention to the issue, ESMO recently published a paper about the integration of biosimilars into routine oncology practice, calling for multidisciplinary collaboration to build confidence wherever it is still lacking.

According to preliminary results of an ESMO survey to be published later this year, questioned about their knowledge of and comfort with biosimilars, many oncologists exhibited only a moderate confidence in their understanding of key concepts, that underpin biosimilar drug development and use. Close to 87% of respondents stated that they wished to be offered more educational activities on the subject. 

On the same wavelength was the discussion at the fourth stakeholder conference on biosimilar medicines, organised by the European Commission in Brussels in September, where ESMO moderated a discussion on the use of biosimilars in oncology.

“Collaboration and multi-stakeholder approaches to improve understanding and eradicate misconceptions are important for the successful uptake of biosimilars in oncology.” said Mr Josep Tabernero, ESMO President. “If, more education is what oncologists need, being the Society of reference, that looks after their professional development, we, must, urgently act on that.”

At a session on biosimilars during the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid, physicians, as well as, nurses, pharmacists, patient organisations and competent authorities from the EU Member States were invited to join the discussion, in order to draw from everyone’s knowledge and experience. “All of them play a crucial role in delivering these medicines to patients and making sure the latter accept and adhere to their therapies.” Mr Tabernero said. A similar approach will be proposed at this year’s congress.

Extrapolating the use of a biosimilar in all indications approved for the reference drug appears the most common source of misunderstanding among physicians, nurses and patients alike, according to data in the ESMO survey. “It is a very difficult concept to explain outside of the regulatory setting.” Said Ms Elena Wolff-Holz from the European Medicines Agency:EMA, the First Author of the paper and panel member at the event in Brussels. “This is what educational initiatives should focus on, not just for oncologists but for all healthcare professionals and for patients.” Mr Tabernero highlighted.

Mr Tabernero, who, also, co-authored the paper, cited one of its key examples in this area, “The Information Guide for Healthcare Professionals on Biosimilars in the EU has been publicly available since its release in 2017. It is the product of a concerted effort by the European Commission, the EMA, as well as, scientific experts, healthcare professionals and patients from the member states and, of course, ESMO, which ensured that the information needs for the oncology community were, also, adequately addressed. This is exactly the kind of broad-spectrum collaboration we need to see more of going forward.”

About the European Society for Medical Oncology:ESMO: ESMO is the leading professional organisation for medical oncology. With 18,000 members representing oncology professionals from over 150 countries worldwide, ESMO is the society of reference for oncology education and information. ESMO is committed to offer the best care to people with cancer, through fostering integrated cancer care, supporting oncologists in their professional development, and advocating for sustainable cancer care worldwide.:::ω.

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What Exactly Is Lateral Transduction Staphylococcus Aureus: New Research Finds the Mechanism Through Which Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs Rapidly Evolve















|| October 18: 2018: University of Glasgow News || ά. A scientific breakthrough has showed a new way, in which, bacteria evolve, which is thought to be, at least, 1,000 times more efficient than any currently known mechanism. The insights will help scientists to better understand how superbugs can rapidly evolve and become increasingly antibiotic resistant. The research, led by the University of Glasgow and the National University of Singapore and published in Science, has found a previously unknown method of genetic transduction, the process, through which, bacteria begins to evolve into potentially deadly superbugs.

The new process has been named Lateral Transduction and now joins the two known methods of transduction: Generalised and Specialised Transduction, both discovered by the American Scientist Joshua Lederberg, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work with bacteria. Working with the bacteria, Staphylococcus Aureus, scientists were able to demonstrate that this new naturally occurring method of transduction was, at least, one thousand times more efficient than generalised transduction, the best currently known method. Bacterial transduction is a process, that involves viruses infecting bacteria. As a consequence of this mechanism, bacterial DNA moves from one to another bacteria, thereby, causing mutation and evolution, often, producing increasingly deadly and antibiotic resistant bugs.

Professor José R Penadés, from the University of Glasgow, said, “This is an incredibly exciting and significant discovery. We have been able to show a new way, that bacteria evolve. With the rise of superbugs, that are increasingly antibiotic resistant, the importance of understanding the mechanisms for bacterial evolution has never been so important.

Lateral transduction is an entirely natural process and we believe, it, also, occurs in bacteria other than Staphylococcus Aureus. This is a game-changer in terms of the way we understand bacterial evolution.”

Lateral transduction is unique in its efficiency. The process involves so many genes being transferred, that scientists have theorised whole sections of bacterial chromosome are being mobilised to other bacteria at the same time. This could help to explain the rapid pace, at which, superbugs are able to evolve.

This research, also, challenges current scientific thinking in this area, which assumes that only mobile genetic elements, but not the bacterial chromosomes, can be transferred at high frequencies. Now, scientists believe lateral transduction has the power to move whole sections of bacterial chromosome, including, particularly, deadly sections, called, pathogenic islands, responsible for virulence and antibiotic resistance. 

Assistant Professor John Chen, from the National University of Singapore, said, “Phages are, by far, the most abundant biological entities on the planet and the importance of genetic transduction as one of the principle drivers of microbial evolution has never been more apparent than with the discovery of lateral transduction.”

‘Genome hypermobility by lateral transduction’ is published in Science’ has been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council:BBSRC, the National Medical Research Council:NMRC and the Singapore Ministry of Education.:::ω.

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Dramatic Drop in Public Confidence After the Dengue Vaccine Controversy in The Philippines




|| October 14: 2018: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine News || ά. The Philippines’ highly politicised response to newly-reported risks of a dengue vaccine led to a dramatic drop in public trust in vaccines overall, according to new research published in Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics. Led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine:LSHTM, the Study measured the impact of the Dengvaxia crisis on overall vaccine confidence before and after the manufacturer highlighted a risk associated with the vaccine and the associated political fallout.

The study of 1,500 participants showed a dramatic drop in vaccine confidence, from the majority, 93%, ‘strongly agreeing’ that vaccines are important in 2015 to a third, 32%, in 2018. The researchers say that the findings highlight the importance of identifying gaps or breakdowns in public confidence in vaccines in order to rebuild trust before a pandemic strikes. Dengue is a viral infection, spread, mainly, by the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which is widespread around the Southern Hemisphere. Symptoms include fever, headache and pain in joints and muscles. In some cases, symptoms can be more severe and lead to death.

With cases in the Philippines rising from 2012-2015, it was hoped an immunisation campaign with a new dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, licenced in December 2015, would stem the spread. However, in November 2017, the manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, announced that Dengvaxia posed a risk to people, who had not previously been exposed to Dengue.

While other countries dealt with this assessment by updating guidelines and labelling accordingly, the news triggered outrage and political turmoil in the Philippines, leading to broken public trust in the dengue vaccine and anxiety around vaccines in general. Using the WIN:Gallup International’s representative sampling approach with the Vaccine Confidence Index, 1,500 participants were re-surveyed in 2018 to analyse the Philippines’ confidence data against 2015 data for the country.

On the vaccine safety question, there was a four-fold drop in confidence from 82% strongly agreeing that vaccines are safe in 2015 to only 21% in 2018, while confidence in the effectiveness of vaccines dropped from 82% in 2015 to 22% in 2018.

The Lead Author Professor Heidi Larson, the Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at LSHTM, said, “The Sanofi announcement was a spark, that fuelled the flames of underlying political ferment in the Philippines. Health authorities and immunisation programmes can not solve political tensions but trust issues and potential areas of anxiety and possible dissent, must be, considered in advance of a pandemic. This is, especially, important in an era of social media and the ability for mis-information to be spread far and wide at the touch of a button.

We can not wait until pandemics strike but make trust-building an ongoing effort, preparing the ground for the next ‘big one’, when trust and co-operation will be key to containing the spread of disease and mitigating its health and societal impacts.”

The Paper: Vaccine confidence plummets in the Philippines following dengue vaccine scare: Why it matters to pandemic preparedness: Heidi J Larson, Kenneth Hartigan-Go and Alexandre De Figueiredo: Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics:::ω.

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Too Many Caesarean Sections for No Medically Justified Reason: New WHO Guidance on Non-Clinical Interventions Is Specifically Designed to Reduce That



|| October 11: 2018 || ά. A caesarean section is a surgical procedure, that, when undertaken for medical reasons, can save the life of a woman and her baby. Many caesarean sections are undertaken unnecessarily however, which can put the lives and well-being of women and their babies at risk , both in the short and the long-term. Worldwide, caesarean section rates have been steadily increasing, without significant benefit to the health of women or their babies. In recognition of the urgent need to address the sustained and unprecedented rise in these rates, the World Health Organisation:WHO has today published new guidance on non-clinical interventions, specifically, designed to reduce unnecessary caesarean sections.

This new guideline, WHO recommendations on non-clinical interventions to reduce unnecessary caesarean sections, incorporates the views, fears and beliefs of both women and health professionals about caesarean sections. It, also, considers the complex dynamics and limitations of health systems and organisations and relationships between women, health professionals and organisation of health care services. The key recommendations include i: Educational interventions for women and families to support meaningful dialogue with providers and informed decision-making on mode of delivery, i.e, providing childbirth training workshops for mothers and couples, relaxation training programmes led by nurses, psychosocial couple-based prevention programmes, psychoeducation for women with fear of pain or anxiety;

ii: Use of clinical guidelines, audits of caesarean sections and timely feedback to health professionals about caesarean section practices; iii: Requirement for second opinion for caesarean section indication at point of care in settings with adequate resources and iv: Some interventions aimed at health organisations are recommended only under rigorous research, such as, collaborative midwifery-obstetrician model of care, i.e, a model of staffing based on care provided primarily by midwives, with 24-hour back-up from an obstetrician, who provides in-house labour and delivery coverage without other competing clinical duties or financial strategies, i.e, insurance reforms equalising physician fees for natural births and caesarean sections.

While many women in need of caesarean sections still do not have access to caesarean section, particularly, in low resource settings, many others undergo the procedure unnecessarily, for reasons, which can not be medically justified.

Caesarean birth is associated with short and long term risks, that can extend many years beyond the current delivery and affect the health of the woman, the child and future pregnancies. These risks are higher in women with limited access to comprehensive obstetric care. Caesarean sections are, also, costly and high rates of unnecessary caesarean sections can, therefore, pull resources away from other essential health services, particularly, in overloaded and weak health systems.

There are many complex reasons for the increase of caesarean section rates and these vary widely between and within countries. Before implementing any intervention to reduce rates, research should be done, which identifies and defines why rates are increasing in the particular setting, as well as, what the locally relevant determinants of caesarean births are, as well as, women and providers’ views and cultural norms.

In addition, interventions to reduce rates, that do not address the complex, multi-faceted reasons for the increase of rates, will be likely to have limited impact. Interventions, that have multiple components are likely to be more successful and are, therefore, more desirable.:::ω.

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In Europe Adolescents Alcohol Consumptions are Still Dangerously High: WHO Report Finds That They Drink A Little Less Now Than Before Which IS No Comfort: What ARE the European Union and All Governments Going to Do About It

Drink Life Not Alcohol: Because You Want to Experience
the Joy of Existence Not the Destruction of It











|| September 26: 2018 || ά. A new WHO report published today, ‘Adolescent Alcohol-Related Behaviours: Trends and Inequalities in the WHO European Region, 2002–2014, provides new insights into data collected over 12 years on adolescent drinking. The report shows that alcohol use has declined among adolescents in Europe. However, despite the reductions, levels of consumption remain dangerously high and this continues to be a major public health concern. And, it is high time that the entire mechanism of the European Union and all the European Governments wake up and deal with this health-danger, that is impacting so many lives. It is no longer acceptable that all these public bodies are just not taking this seriously. It is high time for the European Union to combine its ‘teeth, fists and brains’ together and get a grip on this public health danger.

It is no longer acceptable that the World Health Organisation keeps on butting onto the hard, deaf and mute wall with all these reports: people are dying and those not dying are suffering and paying the price of the damages dangerous level of alcohol consumption has done to their health and well-being. It is time, high time for action. This Report finds that over one in 10 adolescents in the Region were regular weekly drinkers by the age of 15, 09% of girls and 16% of boys in 2014. And, here, The Humanion offers the first European Union Initiative: as no one really knows, who the ‘ghosts’ are, who sell and supply weapons, ammunitions, guns and equipment to all these groups involved in all the wars going on in the world, no one knows or, do they or should they, where these under-age youngsters get their alcohol from? Who sell to them and how do they keep on doing so while there are supposed to be laws and these laws are supposed to be enforced? Where do these youngsters get their money from to buy these drinks? Should their families, their parents and carers know about these? Should they care or turn a blind eye on their children drinking away? There’s much, that’s going wrong and there’s much, that needs and must be done.

“Young people are regular drinkers at an age where they should not be drinking at all. As we know that any alcohol consumption at this critical developmental stage in life is, especially, harmful, policy-makers have a responsibility to implement the measures we know are effective, such as, limiting access, enforcing age checks and restricting any type of alcohol marketing, including, digital marketing. Although, the WHO European Region has, already, reached the target of a 10% reduction as set out in the non-communicable disease framework for 2025, much more can be achieved to prevent the devastating impact of alcohol on premature death and disability.” said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

Key Findings in the Report

The research, led by the University of St Andrews, documents the drinking habits of European adolescents in 36 countries. The trend analysis uses data collected during four rounds of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children:HBSC survey, conducted in 2002–2014. Worrying trends in drinking behaviour were identified:

:: Excessive drinking is still common, with around a quarter of boys and more than one in five girls reporting having been drunk two or more times by the age of 15. Since 2002, the greatest declines in drunkenness were observed in Nordic countries.

:: More than one in four 15-year-olds, 28%, reported that they started consuming alcohol at age 13 or younger, 25% of girls and 31% of boys, in 2014. This has fallen from 46% in 2002, with downward trends similar in magnitude for boys and girls in most countries.

:: Over time, gender differences for weekly drinking have converged in northern Europe, with girls and boys now reporting similar levels. Wider gender divides persist in central-eastern and southern Europe, where prevalence for boys is currently around twice that of girls.

:: Around one in 10 adolescents reported first being drunk at age 13 or younger, 07% of girls and 09% of boys, in 2014. This has more than halved since 2002, from 17% to 08%, with declines among both boys and girls, although, in most countries the decline was greatest in boys.

Declines in alcohol consumption have been unevenly distributed, with some countries seeing no change or only very small decreases, since 2002.

Dr Jo Inchley, the Lead Editor of the Report, said, ‘’Overall reductions in harmful drinking have been greatest in countries, that, traditionally, have had higher prevalence, such as, Great Britain and the Nordic region. This makes it clear that change is possible; however, more should be done to ensure that adolescents are effectively protected from the harms caused by alcohol”.

Drinking during adolescence, including, early initiation, frequent consumption and drunkenness, impacts psychological, social and physical health. Alcohol is an important risk factor for fatal and non-fatal injuries, accidents, suicide attempts and use of other substances and is linked to unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, poor academic outcomes and violence. 

Alcohol consumption during adolescence is, also, associated with functional and structural changes in the brain, that persist into adulthood. Recent studies have demonstrated detrimental effects of early drinking on brain development, that are associated with, for example, learning difficulties. Research has, also, shown that delaying the age at which young people take their first drink lowers their risk of becoming problem drinkers later in life.

The dramatic shift in prevalence of regular and risky drinking in northern European countries demonstrates that concerted efforts at national and regional levels can have a big impact on drinking behaviour. WHO has identified a set of affordable, feasible and cost-effective policies, that can reduce harmful alcohol use. These include: increasing alcohol prices, restricting alcohol availability and comprehensive advertising, promotion and sponsorship bans.

Dr Carina Ferreira Borges, the Programme Manager for Alcohol and Illicit Drugs at the WHO Regional Office for Europe urged policy-makers to make a commitment. ‘’To ensure the successes achieved so far are maintained, governments are urged to adopt approaches, which engage the population at all ages. In addition, more efforts are needed, particularly, in countries, where the rate of change has been slow. Investments in adolescent health pay off with a triple dividend of benefits for adolescents, now, for their future adult lives and for the next generation.” :::ω. 

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WHO Report: Harmful Use of Alcohol Kills More Than Three Million People Each Year: Most of Them are Men: Is It Not Time the World Does Something to Challenge the Mythology Making of Alcohol Consumption by the Alcohol Industry




|| September 22: 2018 || ά. More than three million people died as a result of harmful use of alcohol in 2016, according a report released by the World Health Organisation:WHO yesterday. This represents one in 20 deaths. More than three quarters of these deaths were among men. Overall, the harmful use of alcohol causes more than 05% of the global disease burden. And is it, therefore, not time for the world to challenge ‘the mythology making’ of the alcohol advertising ‘conglomerate’ of the world, that spends hundreds of billions of pounds in advertising and promotions of alcohol and alcoholic drinks? Whilst all these millions are dying of harmful use of alcohol the world has timidly and shamefully never challenged this myth making.

At least, the World Health Organisation is doing something: it is time to stand up and say: drinking alcohol for vast number of people in vary many health conditions is simply, always, harmful and, to some, I is dangerous; and, for the rest, there is a tiny capability for human physiology to be able to deal with alcohol. It appears everyone is scared of speaking against the alcohol industry. And the mythology makers keep on portraying a romanticised view with alcohol: alcohol is an acid, a spirit and it is simply not meant to be consumed by humans as, if, it is water. Alcohol is not water. It is time the world says so loud and clear; otherwise all these millions of people will keep on paying the price of that ‘mythology making’.

WHO’s ‘Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018’ presents a comprehensive picture of alcohol consumption and the disease burden attributable to alcohol worldwide. It, also, describes what countries are doing to reduce this burden. “Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, injuries, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke.” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies.”

Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28% were due to injuries, such as, those from traffic crashes, self-harm and interpersonal violence; 21% due to digestive disorders; 19% due to cardio-vascular diseases and the remainder is due to infectious diseases, cancers, mental disorders and other health conditions. Despite some positive global trends in the prevalence of heavy episodic drinking and number of alcohol-related deaths since 2010, the overall burden of disease and injuries caused by the harmful use of alcohol is unacceptably high, particularly, in the European Region and the Region of Americas. 

Globally an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women suffer from alcohol-use disorders with the highest prevalence among men and women in the European region, 14.8% and 03.5% and the Region of Americas, 11.5% and 05.1%. Alcohol-use disorders are more common in high-income countries.

An estimated 02.3 billion people are current drinkers. Alcohol is consumed by more than half of the population in three WHO regions, the Americas, Europe and the Western Pacific. Europe has the highest per capita consumption in the world, even, though, its per capita consumption has decreased by more than 10% since 2010. Current trends and projections point to an expected increase in global alcohol per capita consumption in the next 10 years, particularly, in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions and the Region of the Americas.

The average daily consumption of people, who drink alcohol is 33 grams of pure alcohol a day, roughly equivalent to two glasses, each of 150 ml of wine, a large, 750 ml bottle of beer or two shots, each of 40 ml, of spirits. Worldwide, more than a quarter, 27%, of all 15-19-year-olds are current drinkers. Rates of current drinking are highest among 15-19-year-olds in Europe, 44%, followed by the Americas, 38% and the Western Pacific, 38%. School surveys indicate that, in many countries, alcohol use starts before the age of 15 with very small differences between boys and girls.

Worldwide, 45% of total recorded alcohol is consumed in the form of spirits. Beer is the second alcoholic beverage in terms of pure alcohol consumed, 34%, followed by wine, 12%. Worldwide there have been only minor changes in preferences of alcoholic beverages since 2010. The largest changes took place in Europe, where consumption of spirits decreased by 03% whereas that of wine and beer increased.

In contrast, more than half, 57% or 03.1 billion people, of the global population aged 15 years and over had abstained from drinking alcohol in the previous 12 months. “All countries can do much more to reduce the health and social costs of the harmful use of alcohol.” said Dr Vladimir Poznyak, the Co-ordinator of WHO’s Management of Substance Abuse unit. “Proven, cost-effective actions include increasing taxes on alcoholic drinks, bans or restrictions on alcohol advertising and restricting the physical availability of alcohol.”

Higher-income countries are more likely to have introduced these policies, raising issues of global health equity and underscoring the need for greater support to low  and middle-income countries. Almost all, 95%, countries have alcohol excise taxes but fewer than half of them use other price strategies, such as, banning below-cost selling or volume discounts. The majority of countries have some type of restriction on beer advertising, with total bans most common for television and radio but less common for the internet and ‘the distorteddia’.

“We would like to see Member States implement creative solutions, that will save lives, such as, taxing alcohol and restricting advertising. We must do more to cut demand and reach the target set by governments of a 10% relative reduction in consumption of alcohol globally between 2010 and 2025.” Said Dr Tedros.

Reducing the harmful use of alcohol will help achieve a number of health-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals:SDGs, including, those for maternal and child health, infectious diseases, noncommunicable diseases and mental health, injuries and poisonings.

Read WHO Fact-Sheet on Alcohol

Read the Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol

Read the Global Health Observatory on Substance Abuse:::ω.

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An Estimated 06.3 Million Children Under 15 Years of Age Died in 2017 Or One in Every Five Seconds Mostly of Preventable Causes: The Vast Majority of These Deaths 05.4 Million Occur in the First Five Years of Life with New-borns Accounting for Around Half of the Deaths: New Mortality Estimates





|| September 18: 2018|| ά. An estimated 06.3 million children under 15 years of age died in 2017 or one in every five seconds, mostly, of preventable causes, according to new mortality estimates released by the UNICEF, the World Health Organisation:WHO, the United Nations Population Division and the World Bank Group. The vast majority of these deaths, 05.4 million, occur in the first five years of life, with new-borns accounting for around half of the deaths. “Without urgent action, 56 million children under five will die from now until 2030, half of them new-borns.” said Mr Laurence Chandy, the UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy.

“We have made remarkable progress to save children since 1990 but millions are still dying because of who they are and where they are born. With simple solutions like medicines, clean water, electricity and vaccines, we can change that reality for every child.” Globally, in 2017, half of all deaths under five years of age took place in Sub-saharan Africa and another 30 per cent in Southern Asia. In Sub-saharan Africa, one in 13 children died before their fifth birthday. In high-income countries, that number was one in 185. “Millions of babies and children should not still be dying every year from lack of access to water, sanitation, proper nutrition or basic health services.” said Dr Princess Nono Simelela, the Assistant Director-General for Family, Women and Children’s Health at WHO.

“We must prioritise providing universal access to quality health services for every child, particularly, around the time of birth and through the early years, to give them the best possible chance to survive and thrive.” Most children under five die due to preventable or treatable causes, such as, complications during birth, pneumonia, diarrhoea, neo-natal sepsis and malaria. By comparison, among children between five and 14 years of age, injuries become a more prominent cause of death, especially, from drowning and road traffic. Within this age group, regional differences, also, exist, with the risk of dying for a child from Sub-saharan Africa 15 times higher than in Europe.

“More than six million children dying before their fifteenth birthday is a cost we simply can’t afford.” said Mr Timothy Evans, the Senior Director and the Head of the Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice at the World Bank Group. “Ending preventable deaths and investing in the health of young people is a basic foundation for building countries’ human capital, which will drive their future growth and prosperity.”

For children everywhere, the most risky period of life is the first month. In 2017, 02.5 million new-borns died in their first month. A baby born in Sub-saharan Africa or in Southern Asia was nine times more likely to die in the first month than a baby born in a high-income country. And progress towards saving new-borns has been slower than for other children under five years of age since 1990.

Even, within countries, disparities persist. Under-five mortality rates among children in rural areas are, on average, 50 per cent higher than among children in urban areas. In addition, those born to uneducated mothers are more than twice as likely to die before turning five than those born to mothers with a secondary or higher education.

Despite these challenges, fewer children are dying each year worldwide. The number of children dying under five has fallen dramatically from 12.6 million in 1990 to 05.4 million in 2017. The number of deaths in older children aged between five to 14 years dropped from 01.7 million to under a million in the same period.

“This new report highlights the remarkable progress since 1990 in reducing mortality among children and young adolescents.” said the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Ms Liu Zhenmin. “Reducing inequality by assisting the most vulnerable new-borns, children and mothers is essential for achieving the target of the Sustainable Development Goals on ending preventable childhood deaths and for ensuring that no one is left behind.”

About UN IGME: The United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation or UN IGME was formed in 2004 to share data on child mortality, harmonise estimates within the United Nations system, improve methods for child mortality estimation, report on progress towards child survival goals and enhance country capacity to produce timely and properly assessed estimates of child mortality. UN IGME is led by UNICEF and includes the World Health Organisation, the World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. For more information visit:

About WHO: WHO is the directing and co-ordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends and improving global health security.

About the World Bank Group: The World Bank Group is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world, with the goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Improving health is integral to achieving these goals. The Bank Group provides financing, advanced analysis and policy advice to help countries expand access to quality, affordable health care; protect people from falling into poverty or worsening poverty due to illness and promote investments in all sectors, that form the foundation of healthy societies.

About the UN Population Division: The Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs is a leading source of information and analysis on global population trends and an important centre of demographic research, that supports inter-governmental processes at the United Nations in the area of population and development. The Division produces demographic estimates and projections for all countries, including, data essential for the monitoring of progress toward the achievement of global development goals.

About UNICEF: UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

Read the Report :::ω.

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Cancer Burden Rises to 18.1 Million New Cases and 09.6 Million Cancer Deaths in 2018



|| September 12: 2018 || ά. The International Agency for Research on Cancer:IARC today released the latest estimates on the global burden of cancer. The GLOBOCAN 2018 database, accessible online as part of the IARC Global Cancer Observatory, provides estimates of incidence and mortality in 185 countries for 36 types of cancer and for all cancer sites combined. An analysis of these results, published today in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, highlights the large geographical diversity in cancer occurrence and the variations in the magnitude and profile of the disease between and within world regions.

The global cancer burden is estimated to have risen to 18.1 million new cases and 09.6 million deaths in 2018. One in five men and one in six women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime and one in eight men and one in 11 women die from the disease. Worldwide, the total number of people, who are alive within five years of a cancer diagnosis, called, the five-year prevalence, is estimated to be 43.8 million. The increasing cancer burden is due to several factors, including, population growth and ageing, as well as, the changing prevalence of certain causes of cancer linked to social and economic development. This is, particularly, true in rapidly growing economies, where a shift is observed from cancers related to poverty and infections to cancers associated with lifestyles more typical of industrialised countries.

Effective prevention efforts, may, explain the observed decrease in incidence rates for some cancers, such as, lung cancer, e.g, in men in Northern Europe and North America, and cervical cancer, e.g, in most regions apart from Sub-saharan Africa. However, the new data show that most countries are still faced with an increase in the absolute number of cases being diagnosed and requiring treatment and care. Global patterns show that for men and women combined, nearly half of the new cases and more than half of the cancer deaths worldwide in 2018 are estimated to occur in Asia, in part because the region has nearly 60% of the global population.

Europe accounts for 23.4% of the global cancer cases and 20.3% of the cancer deaths, although, it has, only, 09.0% of the global population. The Americas have 13.3% of the global population and account for 21.0% of incidence and 14.4% of mortality worldwide. In contrast to other world regions, the proportions of cancer deaths in Asia and in Africa, 57.3% and 07.3%, respectively, are higher than the proportions of incident cases, 48.4% and 05.8%, respectively, because these regions have a higher frequency of certain cancer types associated with poorer prognosis and higher mortality rates, in addition to limited access to timely diagnosis and treatment in many countries.

Cancers of the lung, female breast and colorectum are the top three cancer types in terms of incidence and are ranked within the top five in terms of mortality, first, fifth, and second, respectively. Together, these three cancer types are responsible for one third of the cancer incidence and mortality burden worldwide.

Cancers of the lung and female breast are the leading types worldwide in terms of the number of new cases; for each of these types, approximately 02.1 million diagnoses are estimated in 2018, contributing about 11.6% of the total cancer incidence burden. Colorectal cancer, 01.8 million cases, 10.2% of the total, is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer, prostate cancer is the fourth, 01.3 million cases, 07.1% and stomach cancer is the fifth, 01.0 million cases, 05.7%.

Lung cancer is, also, responsible for the largest number of deaths, 01.8 million deaths, 18.4% of the total, because of the poor prognosis for this cancer worldwide, followed by colorectal cancer, 881,000 deaths, 09.2%, stomach cancer, 78, 000 deaths, 08.2% and liver cancer, 782,000 deaths, 08.2%. Female breast cancer ranks as the fifth leading cause of death, 627,000 deaths, 06.6%, because the prognosis is relatively favourable, at least in more developed countries.

For many cancers, overall incidence rates in countries with high or very high HDI are generally two to three times those in countries with low or medium HDI. However, the differences in mortality rates between these two categories of countries are smaller, on the one hand, because lower-HDI countries have a higher frequency of certain cancer types associated with poorer survival and, on the other hand, because access to timely diagnosis and effective treatment is less common. In men, lung cancer ranks first and prostate cancer second in incidence in both developed and developing countries. In women, incidence rates for breast cancer far exceed those for other cancers in both developed and developing countries, followed by colorectal cancer in developed countries and cervical cancer in developing countries.

Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, 14.5% of the total cases in men and 08.4% in women and the leading cause of cancer death in men, 22.0%, i.e, about one in five of all cancer deaths. In men, this is followed by prostate cancer, 13.5%, and colorectal cancer, 10.9%, for incidence and liver cancer, 10.2% and stomach cancer, 09.5%, for mortality. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, 24.2%, i.e, about one in four of all new cancer cases diagnosed in women worldwide are breast cancer and the cancer is the most common in 154 of the 185 countries included in GLOBOCAN 2018.

Breast cancer is, also, the leading cause of cancer death in women, 15.0%, followed by lung cancer, 13.8% and colorectal cancer, 09.5%, which are, also, the third and second most common types of cancer, respectively; cervical cancer ranks fourth for both incidence, 06.6% and mortality, 07.5%.

Lung cancer is a leading cause of death in both men and women and is the leading cause of cancer death in women in 28 countries. The highest incidence rates in women are seen in North America, Northern and Western Europe, notably, in Denmark and The Netherlands, China and Australia and New Zealand, with Hungary topping the list.

“Best practice measures embedded in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control have effectively reduced active smoking and prevented involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke in many countries.” says Dr Freddie Bray, the Head of the Section of Cancer Surveillance at IARC. “However, given that the tobacco epidemic is at different stages in different regions and in men and women, the results highlight the need to continue to put in place targeted and effective tobacco control policies in every country of the world.”

“These new figures highlight that much remains to be done to address the alarming rise in the cancer burden globally and that prevention has a key role to play.” says IARC Director Dr Christopher Wild. “Efficient prevention and early detection policies must be implemented urgently to complement treatments in order to control this devastating disease across the world.”

The online GLOBOCAN 2018 database, accessible at, is part of IARC’s Global Cancer Observatory. The database has user-friendly facilities to produce maps and explore visualisations of the global burden of cancer for 36 specific cancer types and for all cancer sites combined by country or region, age, and sex. These estimates are based on the most recent data available at IARC and on information publicly available online. GLOBOCAN 2018 has been developed using a number of methods that are dependent on the availability and the accuracy of the data. National sources are used where possible and in their absence local data and statistical modelling are used. IARC co-ordinates the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development, an international partnership, that supports better estimation, as well as, the collection and use of local data, to prioritize and evaluate national cancer control efforts.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer:IARC is part of the World Health Organisation. Its mission is to co-ordinate and conduct research on the causes of human cancer, the mechanisms of carcinogenesis and to develop scientific strategies for cancer control. The Agency is involved in both epidemiological and laboratory research and disseminates scientific information through publications, meetings, courses and fellowships.

The Human Development Index:HDI is a summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, education and a decent standard of living. The two-tier HDI classification is used as a proxy of national social and economic development using fixed cut-off points of HDI to compare countries with high or very high levels of human development with countries with low or medium levels of human development. :::ω.

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The Lancet Global Health: Worldwide More Than 01.4 Billion Adults are at Risk of Disease From Not Doing Enough Physical Activity: This is Equivalent to Being the Health-Climate-Change Plastic and the Air Pollution Crises: Neither the World Nor Humanity Is Capable of Dealing with This While Absolute Urgency Should Wake Every Policy Maker and Every Single Human Being Up: Get Active: For the Sake of Your Existence: Wake Up and Get Active




|| September 04: 2018 || ά. More than a quarter, 01.4 billion, of the world’s adult population was insufficiently active in 2016, putting them at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, dementia and some cancers, according to the first study to estimate global physical activity trends over time. The study was undertaken by researchers from the World Health Organisation:WHO and published in The Lancet Global Health journal. Together, these estimates demonstrate that there has been little progress in improving physical activity levels between 2001 and 2016. The data show that, if, current trends continue, the 2025 global activity target of a 10% relative reduction in insufficient physical activity will not be met. The Report has been authored by Dr Regina Guthold, Ms Gretchen A Stevens, Ms Leanne M Riley, Dr Fiona C Bull.

“Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average,and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended Alevels of physical activity for good health.” warns the study’s Lead Author, Dr Regina Guthold of the WHO, Switzerland. In 2016, around one in three women, 32% and one in four men, 23%, worldwide were not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity to stay healthy, i.e, at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week. The new study is based on self-reported activity levels, including, activity at work and at home, for transport and during leisure time, in adults aged 18 years and older from 358 population-based surveys in 168 countries, including, 01.9 million participants.

Among the study’s main findings were: i: In 2016, levels of insufficient activity among adults varied widely across income groups, 16% in low-income countries compared to 37% in high-income countries; ii: In 55, 33%, of 168 countries, more than a third of the population was insufficiently physically active; iii: In four countries, more than half of adults were insufficiently active, Kuwait, 67%, American Samoa, 53%, Saudi Arabia, 53% and Iraq, 52%; iv: Countries with the lowest levels of insufficient physical activity in 2016 were Uganda and Mozambique, 06% each; v: Women were less active than men in all regions of the world, apart from east and southeast; vi: Asia. In 2016, there was a difference in levels of insufficient activity between women and men of 10 percentage points or more in three regions: South Asia, 43% vs 24%, Central Asia, Middle East and north Africa, 40% vs 26% and high-income Western countries 42% vs 31%.

vii: Across regions, many individual countries recorded large differences in insufficient activity between women and men. Examples include Baangladesh, 40% vs 16%, Eritrea, 31% vs 14%, India, 44% vs 25%, Iraq, 65% vs 40%, the Philippines, 49% vs 30%, South Africa, 47% vs 29%, Turkey, 39% vs 22%, the USA, 48% vs 32%  and the UK, 40% vs 32%.

“Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women’saccess to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable,” said Co-author Dr Fiona Bull from WHO, Geneva.

From 2001-2016, substantial changes in insufficient physical activity levels were recorded in multiple regions. Key findings include:

i: The regions with the highest increase in insufficient activity over time were high-income Western countries, from 31% in 2001 to 37% in 2016 and Latin America and the Caribbean, 33% to 39%. Countries from these regions driving this trend include Germany, New Zealand, the USA, Argentina, and Brazil.

ii: The region with the largest decrease in insufficient activity was east and southeast Asia from 26% in 2001 to 17% in 2016, which was largely influenced by uptake of physical activity in China, the most populated country in the region.

iii: There has been an increase of 05% in prevalence of insufficient activity in high-income countries, from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016. In comparison, there has been an average rise of just 0.2% amongst low-income countries, 16.0% to 16.2%. In wealthier countries, the transition towards more sedentary occupations, recreation and motorised transport could explain the higher levels of inactivity, while in lower-income countries, more activity is undertaken at work and for transport, according to the authors.

While declines in occupational and domestic physical activity are inevitable as countries prosper, and use of technology increases, governments must provide and maintain infrastructure that promotes increased walking and cycling for transport and active sports and recreation. “Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases:NCDs.,” says Dr Guthold.

“Although, a recent NCD policy survey showed that almost three quarters of countries report having a policy or action plan to tackle physical inactivity, few have been implemented to have national impact. Countries will need to improve policy implementation to increase physical activity opportunities and encourage more people to be physically active. Governments have recognized the need for action by endorsing the WHO Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030.” says Dr Bull.

The action plan, titled More active people for a healthier world, launched in June 2018, recommends:

a set of 20 policy areas, which, combined, aim to create more active societies through improving the spaces and places for physical activity as well as increasing programs and opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to do more walking, cycling, sport, active recreation, dance and play. The plan is a road map for the actions needed by all countries to reduce insufficient physical activity in adults and adolescents.

The study’s release comes ahead of the Third United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on NCDs and their risk factors, including physical inactivity, being held on September 27 September 2018 in New York.

Writing in a linked Comment, Dr Melody Ding from the University of Sydney in Australia discusses the important policy implications of the study. She says, “The gender gap in physical activity, particularly in central Asia, Middle East and North Africa and South Asia reveals a health equity issue where women face more environmental, social and cultural barriers to participate in physical activity, particularly in their leisure time…Although high-income countries have a higher prevalence of insufficient physical activity, it is important to note that low- and middle-income countries still bear the larger share of the global disease burden of physical inactivity.

Furthermore, economic development and urbanisation lead to lifestyle and epidemiological transitions, characterised by increasing prevalence of physical inactivity and subsequent burdens from chronic diseases, as observed in China and Brazil. While declines in occupational and domestic physical activity are inevitable, it is essential to incentivise transport and leisure-time physical activity in emerging economies through improving public and active transportation infrastructure, promoting social norms for physical activity through mass sports and school-level participation, and implementing sustainable programs at scale that could yield economic, environmental, and social co-benefits while promoting physical activity.”

Read the Report in The Lancet:::ω.

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Mice With Access to Soil Have Greater Resistance to Allergies




|| August 15: 2018: Karolinska Institutet News || ά. When mice live in cages with an added earthen floor, it increases their resistance towards allergic inflammations. Close contact with micro-organisms in the soil triggers anti-inflammatory genes in the mice and stimulates their gut microbiota. Researchers from Karolinska Institutet have performed the study, which was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Earlier research has shown that the past decade’s dramatic increase of chronic, inflammatory illnesses is due, partly, to a decrease in contact with natural micro-organisms.

The researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now mapped the connection in more detail, by comparing mice, that live in cages with an added earthen floor with those, that live in clean cages with sawdust. "Our hypothesis was that the microbes in the soil help to develop our immune system and that it is when we lose contact with these that inflammatory diseases and allergies increase. We observed that mice with soil in their cages had an improved expression of anti-inflammatory genes and more active regulatory T-cells in the small intestine." says Dr Noora Ottman, a Researcher at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet.

When the mice were subjected to allergic lung inflammation, the researchers noticed that the mice, that lived with an earthen floor developed a considerably milder inflammation compared with the mice in the clean cages; something, that can be explained by the fact that the higher degree of active regulatory T-cells in the mice suppresses the immune system's allergic reaction.

"Even, if, both groups of mice developed allergic inflammations, the mice, that lived with soil in their cages were able to handle their response better." says Dr Ottman.

The allergic inflammations, in turn, affected the composition of microbes in the intestinal tract of mice, which suggests a direct communication in both directions between the individual anatomical sections. If, a change in the immune system and microbial composition occurs in one place, then, the other is, also, affected.

The results continue to build on the realisation that close contact with nature increases our physical and psychological well-being.

"By allowing more greenery into our daily environment, such as, in offices, schools and homes, we could, positively, affect our health. We now need to look closer at the microbes we have found; several of them are not very well characterised yet, as well as, the soil in which they live. Another important aspect is to examine, in more detail, which mechanisms the microbes use in order to calibrate the immune system and increase immune tolerance, both locally and systematically."  Dr Ottman says.

The study has been conducted by Karolinska Institutet and the University of Helsinki. The research was financed by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland and the Academy of Finland.

The Paper: Soil exposure modifies the gut microbiota and supports immune tolerance in a mouse model”. Noora Ottman, Lasse Ruokolainen, Alina Suomalainen, Hanna Sinkko, Piia Karisola, Jenni Lehtimäki, Maili Lehto, Ilkka Hanski, Harri Alenius and Nanna Fyhrquist: dJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: Online: Augusti 07: 2018, doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2018.06.024

Caption: Dr Noora Ottman and Nanna Fyhrquist. Image: Stefan Zimmerman: Karolinska Institutet:::ω.

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New Research Finds Rotavirus Vaccine Cutting Malawi's Infant Mortality




|| August 14: 2018: UCL News || ά. Rotavirus vaccination reduced infant diarrhoea deaths by 34% in rural Malawi, a region with high levels of child deaths, according to a major new study led by UCL, the University of Liverpool, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and partners in Malawi. The study, published in The Lancet Global Health, provides the first population-level evidence from a low-income country, that rotavirus vaccination saves lives and adds considerable weight to the World Health Organisation's:WHO recommendation for rotavirus vaccine to be included in all national immunisation programmes.

Rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhoeal disease among infants and young children. Despite improvements in sanitation and case management, rotavirus still caused 215,000 child deaths in 2013, with 121,000 of these in Africa. With support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, many countries in Africa with high death rates have added rotavirus vaccine to their routine immunisation programme over the past five years. To determine the vaccine's impact on infant diarrhoea deaths, researchers carried out a large population-based birth cohort study of 48,672 infants in Malawi, which introduced a monovalent rotavirus vaccine in October 2012.

“Rotavirus remains a leading cause of severe diarrhoea and death among infants and young children in many countries in Africa and Asia. Our findings strongly advocate for the incorporation of rotavirus vaccine into the childhood immunisation programmes of countries with high rates of diarrhoea deaths and support continued use in such countries, where a vaccine has been introduced.” said Professor Nigel Cunliffe from the University of Liverpool’s Centre for Global Vaccine Research.

As low income African countries, often, lack birth and death registries, a resource used for similar impact studies in middle income countries, the investigators and their study team of more than 1,100 people visited the homes of infants in 1,832 villages over the course of four years to collect data, including, the infants' vaccination status and whether they survived to age one.

The study findings show that children, who received the rotavirus vaccine had a 34% lower risk of dying from diarrhoea, which is a similar impact to that observed in middle income countries. 

“This is encouraging because children from the Sub-saharan African region account for more than half of global diarrhoea deaths and with over 30 African countries thus far introducing rotavirus vaccine, the absolute impact on mortality is likely to be substantial.” said one of the report’s lead authors Dr Carina King, UCL Institute for Global Health.

Co-lead Author Dr Naor Bar-Zeev, Associate Professor of International Health at the International Vaccine Access Centre of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said, "We, already, knew that rotavirus vaccine reduces hospital admissions and is highly cost-effective in low-income countries with a high burden of diarrhoeal disease, and now we've been able to demonstrate that it saves lives.

However, not all countries are vaccinating against rotavirus yet, including, some very populous countries. The key message of this paper is that to do the best by all our children and to help them survive, all countries should introduce rotavirus vaccination."

The researchers, also, found a direct link between the proportion of the population vaccinated and the reduction in mortality that achieved. Malawi had a strong immunisation programme and was very proactive in planning to introduce rotavirus vaccine, which made it possible to scale up coverage rapidly. 

“Within about a year from vaccine introduction, we were able to reach up to 90% of the population. It is vitally important that rotavirus vaccines reach all children, especially, the most vulnerable living in poorer settings, where the impact of vaccination is greatest.” said one of the authors Dr Charles Mwansambo, the Chief of Health Services for Malawi.

The study received funding support from the Wellcome Trust and GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals.:::ω.

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Three in Five New-Borns are Not Breastfed in the First Hour of Life Putting Them at Higher Risk of Death and Disease: New WHO and UNICEF Report




|| July 31: 2018 || ά. An estimated 78 million babies or, three in five, are not breastfed within the first hour of life, putting them at higher risk of death and disease and making them less likely to continue breastfeeding, according to the new Report by UNICEF and WHO. Most of these babies are born in low and middle income countries. The Report notes that the new-borns, who breastfeed in the first hour of life are significantly more likely to survive. Even, a delay of a few hours after birth could pose life-threatening consequences.

Skin to skin contact along with suckling at the breast stimulate the mother’s production of breastmilk, including, colostrum, also, called, the baby’s ‘first vaccine’, which is extremely rich in nutrients and antibodies. “When it comes to the start of breastfeeding, timing is everything. In many countries, it can even be a matter of life or death.” says Ms Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “Yet, each year, millions of new-borns miss out on the benefits of early breastfeeding and the reasons, all too often, are things we can change. Mothers simply don’t receive enough support to breastfeed within those crucial minutes after birth, even, from medical personnel at health facilities.”

Breastfeeding rates within the first hour after birth are highest in Eastern and Southern Africa, 65% and lowest in East Asia and the Pacific, 32%, the Report says. Nearly nine in 10 babies born in Burundi, Sri Lanka and Vanuatu are breastfed within the first hour. By contrast, only two in 10 babies born in Azerbaijan, Chad and Montenegro do so.

“Breastfeeding gives children the best possible start in life.” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We must urgently scale up support to mothers, be it, from family members, health care workers, employers and governments, so they can give their children the start they deserve.”

Capture the Moment, which analyses data from 76 countries, finds that despite the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding, too many new-borns are left waiting too long for different reasons, including:

Feeding new-borns food or drinks, including, formula: Common practices, such as, discarding colostrum, an elder feeding the baby honey or health professionals giving the new-born a specific liquid, such as, sugar water or infant formula, delay a new-born’s first critical contact with his or her mother. 

The rise in elective C-sections: In Egypt, caesarean section rates more than doubled between 2005 and 2014, increasing from 20% to 52%. During the same period, rates of early initiation of breastfeeding decreased from 40% to 27%. A study across 51 countries notes that early initiation rates are significantly lower among new-borns delivered by caesarean section. In Egypt, only 19% of babies born by C-section were breastfed in the first hour after birth, compared to 39% of babies born by natural delivery.

Gaps in the quality of care provided to mothers and new-borns: The presence of a skilled birth attendant does not seem to affect rates of early breastfeeding, according to the Report. Across 58 countries between 2005 and 2017, deliveries at health institutions grew by 18 percentage points, while early initiation rates increased by 06 percentage points. In many cases, babies are separated from their mothers immediately after birth and guidance from health workers is limited. In Serbia, the rates increased by 43 percentage points from 2010 to 2014 due to efforts to improve the care mothers received at birth.

Earlier studies, cited in the Report, show that new-borns, who began breastfeeding between two and 23 hours after birth had a 33% greater risk of dying compared with those, who began breastfeeding within one hour of birth. Among new-borns, who started breastfeeding a day or more after birth, the risk was more than twice as high.

The Report urges governments, donors and other decision-makers to adopt strong legal measures to restrict the marketing of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes.

The WHO and UNICEF-led Global Breastfeeding Collective, also, released the 2018 Global Breastfeeding Scorecard, which tracks progress for breastfeeding policies and programmes. In it, they encourage countries to advance policies and programmes, that help all mothers to start breastfeeding in the first hour of their child’s life and to continue as long as they want.

Read the Report:::ω.

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The Environment is the Key Battleground in the Fight to Tackle Antibiotic Resistance













|| July 25: 2018: University of Exeter News || ά. The environment could be as important a battleground as the clinic in the global fight against the spread of antibiotic resistance, new research has shown. A study conducted at the University of Exeter Medical School concluded that, when bacteria are exposed to very low concentrations of antibiotics, numbers of antibiotic resistant bacteria increase just as much as at high clinical concentrations.

Anti-Microbial Resistance:AMR is recognised by the World Health Organisation:WHO as one of today’s greatest global health challenges. WHO has warned that we, may be, entering an era in which antibiotics are no longer effective to cure simple and previously treatable, bacterial infections. This would mean that currently treatable infections, such as, pneumonia, tuberculosis and blood poisoning could become fatal. It would, also, mean that it would no longer be possible to use antibiotics to prevent infection in routine medical procedures, such as, joint replacements and chemotherapy.

Last year, a WHO report acknowledged the role of the environment in spreading resistance. Now, this new research, published in the journal mBio indicates the environment should be considered on an equal footing with antibiotic exposure in humans and animals, where prevention efforts have been most concentrated so far. 

The research was co-funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council:BBSRC and AstraZeneca. It examined the evolution of microbes taken from sewage waste water, when exposed to the antibiotic Cefotaxime, which WHO has listed as an ‘essential medicine’. Sewage contains many types of bacteria, including, those resistant to antibiotics and antibiotics from different sources, such as, toilet waste from people taking antibiotics and from the incorrect disposal of antibiotic medicines.

These findings are important because they show that previously overlooked environments, such as, the waste water system and environments where waste water run-off is present, such as, rivers, streams and the sea, may be, a breeding ground for resistant bacteria. Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics in natural environments can then be transmitted to humans, for example, through close contact with animals, via the food we eat or during outdoor recreational activities.

The research, also, raises concerns about how antibiotics evolve resistance in the human body. During treatment, antibiotics diffuse through tissues and are present in low concentrations in different areas, including, the gut. The research shows further investigation into how bacteria could be evolving resistance in these areas is required.

Dr Aimee Murray, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the research, said, “Already, some commonly prescribed antibiotics are starting to prove ineffective for some infections. Our research casts new light on how this problem, may be, spreading and provides new evidence for the steps we, may, need to take in targeting the environment to try and stop this global problem.

We now need more research to ascertain whether microbes evolve resistance to antibiotics when exposed to low levels in other settings than waste water, such as, in different areas of the body.”

Associate Professor William Gaze, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who leads the University of Exeter Medical School research programme on the environmental dimension of antibiotic resistance, said, “Our research shows just how important it is to take action to limit antibiotics entering the environment. So far, a lot of research effort to tackle this problem has been around hospitals and reducing clinical prescribing but we now know that the environment is likely to play a part in how resistance to antibiotics can evolve and spread. We all need to think more holistically about environmental management of waste, including how we treat our waste water.” 

Professor Jason Snape, AstraZeneca Global Safety, Health and Environment, said, “This research is part of AstraZeneca’s ongoing commitment to understand the key factors, that drive anti-microbial resistance such that society continues to have access to effective antibiotics.

AstraZeneca signed both the Davos Declaration on AMR and the Industry AMR Roadmap presented to the United Nations and this research is helping us to identify effective protection strategies to manage the environmental dimension of AMR.”

The Paper: Novel Insights into Selection for Antibiotic Resistance in Complex Microbial Communities: Aimee K. Murray, Lihong Zhang, Xiaole Yin, Tong Zhang, Angus Buckling, Jason Snape, William H. Gaze: Published in mBioω.

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New Research Could Prompt Changes in Cancer Treatment




|| July 22: 2018: University of Dundee News|| ά. Researchers at the University of Dundee have developed new drug modelling systems, that could herald changes in the way patients are treated for the UK’s deadliest form of cancer. A researchers at the University’s School of Medicine say that they have established a more accurate process of mimicking how anti-cancer medication metabolises in the human body, a move, that could, significantly, benefit patients.

It could lead to smaller, more targeted dosages of anti-cancer drugs being prescribed, reducing patient side-effects and allowing for more complex drug regimens to be tested to overcome the growing problem of patients becoming resistant to medication. Findings published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research focus on one particular drug, Osimertinib, which has been developed for use in treating patients with lung cancer, a disease, which claimed more than 35,000 lives in the UK in 2016. It follows the award of a research grant of £01.5 million from the Medical Research Council to allow Dundee researchers to exploit new drug modelling systems, which could, also, facilitate the development of new combination treatments for cancer patients.

While Osimertinib’s pharmokinetic properties have been poorly predicted in the past, the researchers believe that these newly-developed models could significantly improve the medication’s efficacy. “Cancer treatment has been revolutionised by understanding the genetic changes, that drive the generation of tumours.” said Professor Roland Wolf, of Pharmacology, who formed the research team alongside Dundee’s Dr Colin Henderson, and University of St Andrews Chair of Applied Mathematics, Professor Mark Chaplain.

“Drugs are now developed to target mutations in tumours, which should increase its specificity because they only interact with the mutant proteins. However, one of the problems with targeted drugs is that people very rapidly become resistant to them.”

Dr Henderson said, “Targeted drugs have revolutionised melanoma treatment, as this disease was previously highly refractory to treatment. However, although, treatment with these drugs is initially very effective, the tumour rapidly becomes refractory to treatment and alternative, less effective treatment strategies need to be applied.

What we have done in the laboratory is develop models, that allow us to test possible drug combinations to, hopefully, move away from sometimes highly toxic doses of anti-cancer drugs and, as a consequence, find out how to combine these drugs optimally, maintain therapeutic response and delay the onset of resistance.”

Anti-tumour agents are currently developed using mice but differences in pathways of drug disposition and metabolism mean that results obtained via these means, may, vary dramatically, when applied to humans. Professor Wolf and Dr Henderson, in collaboration with Professor Chaplain, will continue developing new modelling systems allowing for a more accurate resemblance of how medication, may, work in the human body. This could lead to smaller, more tailored drug combinations and dosages being prescribed to patients.

Professor Russell Petty, Chair of Medical Oncology at Dundee, hailed the team’s work, adding, “We are fortunate that because of research we have an ever increasing number of new targeted medicines for cancer. 

This has brought into focus the importance of using these medicines as precisely as possible to ensure we treat each patient with the combination and dose of medicines that optimises the chances of success while minimising the risk of side effects but undertaking the clinical research in cancer patients to achieve this is complex and difficult and so unfortunately progress is slower than we would like.

This work and the models being developed will allow us to accelerate the research process and deliver the benefits of precision cancer medicine to patients much more rapidly.” :::ω. 

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Air Pollution Levels Have Been Found to Have Been Linked to Increase in Hospital and GP Visits



|| July 19: 2018: University of Dundee News || ά. Air pollution has been clearly linked to spikes in breathing problem-related admissions to hospitals and visits to GPs in a research project conducted at the University of Dundee. Researchers studied nearly 15 years of data for air pollution levels in Dundee, Perth and the surrounding area and matched it to medical records of 450 patients, who suffer from Bronchiectasis, a long-term chronic condition similar to COPD, which can cause a persistent cough and breathlessness, as well as, frequent chest infections.

“When we looked at these two sets of data side by side the links between the periods when air pollution is at its worst and when these patients are having to seek assistance is absolutely clear.” said Professor James Chalmers, GSK:British Lung Foundation Professor of Respiratory Research in the School of Medicine at Dundee. “We found that on days when air pollution spiked there was a large increase in admissions to Ninewells Hospital and Perth Royal Infirmary with breathing problems and visits to GPs with breathing problems, known as, exacerbations.

We, also, found that the impact of air pollution was worst in the summer, where hot and less windy days raise the levels of air pollution. It is, also, when people are outside more and are being exposed to pollution and, we, ultimately, see more people having to attend hospital or see a doctor.

Our data suggests that a failure to tackle air pollution is having a major impact on the health of people with lung conditions and, potentially, the wider Tayside population. The patients we looked at, who all suffer from lung conditions, are, to my mind, the canary in the coalmine on this issue; they are the first and most seriously affected by air pollution but it can affect us all.”

Mr Ian Jarrold, the Head of Research at the British Lung Foundation, said, “It is well-known that people with lung conditions are the first to become breathless when exposed to air pollution. But, thanks to this study, we now know that there is a clear link between high levels of air pollution and increased numbers of patients with breathing problems at hospitals and GP surgeries. The additional costs faced by the NHS in treating patients with lung conditions due to high exposure to air pollution can no longer be ignored.

Improving air quality is not only good for patients with lung disease, it makes economic sense for frontline health services across Scotland and the UK. Tough measures are needed to reduce the level of vehicle emissions in towns and cities across the UK, so that everyone can breathe easier.”

Professor Chalmers explained that it was the sophisticated medical record keeping in Tayside, that provided key data for the study. “It is only in Tayside we can get such a detailed look at the data because of the sophistication of the electronic health records, that have been well established for many years.” he said.

“This is the first study in Scotland where we been able to look in detail at the relationship between medical data and air pollution data but evidence from other countries has, also, suggested similar links. There is every reason to believe these results would be replicated elsewhere.”

Professor Chalmers said that the problem was, particularly, acute in those areas where heavy traffic contributed to poor air quality. Air quality in Scotland is constantly monitored at dozens of sites across the country, providing a wealth of data. Measures of air quality include the amount of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter present, key indicators of air pollution, that have the greatest impact on human health.

“Our cities, which have the familiar air pollution problems of many built up areas and for people with lung problems, living near a busy road is having a major impact on their health and, potentially, that of the wider population. This is a complex issue and, of course, most of the pollution we are seeing is humanmade.

What is worrying is that after big improvements in air quality in the 1990s and 2000s, progress has slowed in the past 10 years and many parts of Scotland are still regularly exceeding EU and Scottish limits for safe levels of air pollution.

At a time when the NHS is under increasing strain, we should be looking at effective ways of preventing illness. Our data shows that a fairly modest reduction in air pollution, of 10 µg:m³ of PM10, would have prevented nearly 1,000 hospital admissions and GP visits during the study period.”

The study was a collaboration between the research team at the University of Dundee and environmental health experts from Belgium. The study was funded by the British Lung Foundation  and is published in the European Respiratory Journal. :::ω.

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New Research Initiative to Improve Surgical Outcomes Across the Globe



|| July 17: 2018: University of Birmingham News || ά. The University of Birmingham is leading on major health research projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America to help develop surgical research, that will have the potential to improve the quality of surgery. The National Institute for Health Research:NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Global Surgery is launching a number of initiatives to improve care for surgical patients in low-middle income countries.

Presently, the Unit is launching a range of health improvement initiatives, including, a clinical trial of interventions to prevent surgical wound infection:FALCON; a study to measure outcomes from cancer surgery and a study to evaluate access to healthcare for patients requiring surgery. Launched by Universities of Edinburgh and Warwick with partners from low and middle income countries, the Unit aims to establish independent and sustainable research ‘hubs’ and:or trial centres in partner countries.

The partner countries are Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Mexico, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Philippines, Benin, where these centres will perform their own clinical research relevant to local populations, whilst serving global needs.

Speaking at a showcase event in Birmingham on July 12, to mark the Unit’s first anniversary, University of Birmingham Chancellor Lord Karan Bilimoria said, “The University of Birmingham’s research is world-changing and we’re focusing our efforts on tackling nine of the UN’s Global Goals, including, ‘Good Health and Well-being’ to produce practical solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing humankind.

We are proud to link with our partners at NIHR and the Universities of Edinburgh and Warwick in this amazing global health research initiative, that will have the potential to save many thousands of lives across Asia, Africa and Latin America.”

The Unit is based at the University of Birmingham and co-directed by Professor Dion Morton, Barling Chair of Surgery at the University’s Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences and Professor Peter Brocklehurst, Director of the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit.

Professor Morton said, ‘’Each year, six million people die within 30 days of an operation. Surgical Site Infection:SSI is the most common complication from surgery and a health burden for both patients and health-care providers. 

Reducing SSI has huge benefits. Patients suffer less and save money, whilst being able to return to work or school faster. They are, also, subjected to fewer and shorter courses of antibiotics, contributing to a reduction in global antimicrobial resistance. Hospitals can reduce costs and discharge patients earlier, preventing re-admissions.

Partners in the Unit have, also, formed a Policy and Implementation Consortium to work with professional associations, NGOs and government organisations across the world, including, the World Health Organisation. This Consortium will use the results from the research generated by the Unit as a tool to inform changes in clinical practise and provide evidence to drive policy changes across the globe.

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including, researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.

NIHR Global Health Research Unit works with partner institutions in a range of Low and Middle Income countries, including, Ghana: University of Development Studies, Tamale; Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals, Ile-Ife; Rwanda: University of Rwanda, University Teaching Hospital, Kigali; South Africa: Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg; Mexico: Hospital Espanol, Veracruz; Pakistan: King Edward’s Medical University, Lahore; India: Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana; Benin: University of Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou and The Phillipines: Philippine General Hospital University, Manila.

Caption: From left, Professor David Adams; University of Birmingham Chancellor Lord Karan Bilimoria and Professor Dion Morton. :::ω.

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Teen-Age High-Intensity Exercise Could Ward Off Heart Disease



|| July 12: 2018: University of Exeter News || ά. New research published in Experimental Physiology has indicated potential differences in heart health benefits of differing levels of exercise intensity in teenagers. Teenage years form an important stage of life, with research suggesting it is a time during which heart diseases start to develop. These findings indicate that teenagers, who participate in high-intensity exercise have lower blood pressure.

This, may, lead to a lower risk of developing heart disease later in life but this requires confirmation with further research. This study, conducted by researchers at the Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre at the University of Exeter, recruited healthy male teenagers, mostly 13-15 years old, who underwent testing on four separate occasions across three weeks. In the first visit, participants performed an exercise test to calculate the exercise intensities reflective of vigorous and moderate intensity exercise.

After this first visit, all participants completed three experimental conditions in a randomised order and on separate days: i: vigorous intensity exercise; ii: moderate intensity exercise and iii: no exercise, which served as a control. Blood pressure was monitored every heart beat before and up to one hour after the exercise.

The measurements, also, involved ultrasound images of the carotid arteries, the main blood vessels, that supply the head and neck, to determine the ‘stretch’ of the arteries and how this impacts the control of blood pressure following exercise.

In the hours following exercise, blood pressure decreases below resting values. This is known as post-exercise hypotension. These results suggest that in teenagers, eight one-minute bouts of running at a vigorous intensity, i.e, running close to the maximum heart rate, caused post-exercise hypotension lasting up to one-hour.

The same effect was not observed following running at moderate intensity, i.e, jogging, where blood pressure was restored just twenty minutes after exercise. The stretch of the carotid arteries and the brain’s control of the heartbeat, which are known to monitor and adjust blood pressure, were similar between the two exercise intensities at one-hour after the exercise. 

These findings indicate that exercise intensity alters other mechanisms of adjustments in blood pressure differently, one hour following the completion of the exercise in healthy teenagers. This study is, thus, the first to show that post-exercise hypotension is dependent on exercise intensity in healthy 13-15 year olds.

The fall in blood pressure of healthy teenagers, may, have a long-term clinical importance, if, translated to those with high blood pressure, as previously reported in adults. Similarly, the blood pressure reducing effects of the exercise could lead to better blood pressure control, particularly, when young people face stressful situations.

Although, these data are novel, the ethical implications of working with teenagers meant that all measurements were taken non-invasively, which, may, have reduced accuracy in comparison to more invasive drug-infusion methods.

Also, the research involved only boys, which does not allow extrapolation of the findings to girls. Furthermore, the observed reduction in blood pressure was only measured up to one hour after a single bout of exercise.

However, the authors aim to expand these initial findings to children, teenagers with hypertension and other conditions, that increase the risk of heart disease, such as, obesity and low levels of fitness. Similarly, the research team, also, wish to investigate whether the decrease in blood pressure results in lowered vessel reactivity to stressful situations.

Finally, the effects of exercise training on the control of blood pressure following exercise in teenagers remain to be seen. Mr Ricardo Oliveira, a Brazilian PhD student funded through the Science Without Borders PhD Scheme, who led the research, said, “The best part of the research was the involvement and dedication of the participants, who, we, always, find are better research participants than adults!

All were disappointed that the project came to an end and they reported to have enjoyed visiting the university facilities, participating in a scientific study and learning new information about their heart, blood vessels and how the cardiovascular system responds to exercise.” :::ω.

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New Research Finds: Babies Born of Mothers with Type One Diabetes Face Higher Risk of Heart Defects




|| July 08: 2018: Karolinska Institutet News || ά. Pregnant women with Type One Diabetes run a higher risk of having babies with heart defects, especially, women with high blood glucose levels during early pregnancy, a study from Karolinska Institutet and the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden, published in The BMJ, shows. It has long been known that patients with Type One Diabetes are at increased risk of complications.

The study demonstrates a clear correlation between elevated levels of blood glucose, HbA1c, in the mother and the risk of heart defects in her baby. However, even, those women, who followed the current guidelines, had a higher, albeit, still, small, risk of heart defects. The results show that 03.3 per cent of pregnant women with Type On Diabetes and blood glucose levels within the recommended span gave birth to a baby with a heart defect. The corresponding figure for women without Diabetes was 01.5 per cent.

‘’This confirms previous findings that there is a higher risk of birth defects, primarily, of the heart.” says Professor Jonas F. Ludvigsson at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet and Consultant at the Paediatric Clinic at Örebro University Hospital.

“The risk of birth defects is, especially, sensitive to factors during early pregnancy and, here, blood glucose plays a vital part.”

Pregnant women with Type One Diabetes, who had very high blood glucose levels, HbA1c reading of 09.1 per cent or higher, were at much greater risk.

“Here, the risk of the baby having a heart defect was as much as 10.1 per cent or one in every ten babies.” says Professor Ludvigsson. “The reason why the risk of deformity can be linked to blood glucose levels in early pregnancy is that it is than that the foetus’ organs develop. Also, many women aren’t aware that they’re pregnant during the first few months.”

This, he stresses, is why women must know about the dangers before trying to have children. “There’s an opportunity here for women to influence the risk of their baby developing a heart defect by keeping their blood glucose levels low.

Yet, we as doctors, also, know that many pregnant women struggle valiantly to keep their blood glucose down, as it is no easy task. The potential benefit of intensified insulin treatment to reduce the risk of heart defects should, also, be weighed against possible risks with hypoglycaemia in the mother and foetus.” says Professor Ludvigsson.

The study was done by cross-referencing the National Diabetes Register with the National Patient Register and the Medical Birth Registry and comparing 2,458 living new-borns of mothers with Type One Diabetes with 1,159,865 babies of mothers without diabetes.

Since this is an observational study no definitive conclusions can be drawn regarding causality. The researchers are now planning to make further investigations in the field. 

The study was financed with grants from the Swedish Diabetes Association, the Strategic Research Area in Epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish Research Council and Stockholm County Council.

The Paper: Periconceptional glycemic control in type 1 diabetes and the risk of major birth defects: population based cohort study in Sweden: Jonas F. Ludvigsson, Martin Neovius, Jonas Söderling, Soffia Gudbjörnsdottir, Ann-Marie Svensson, Stefan Franzén, Olof Stephansson, Björn Pasternak: The BMJ: Online: July 05: 2018

Caption: Illustration by Marek Skupinski:::ω.

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The World’s Two Leading Organisations of Oncologists Call on All World Governments to Improve Cancer Services and Reduce Cancer Deaths


|| July 05: 2018 || ά. The European Society for Medical Oncology:ESMO and the American Society of Clinical Oncology:ASCO, the world’s two leading organisations for oncology professionals, today issued a joint statement, calling upon all governments to renew their political commitment to improve cancer services and reduce cancer deaths. The statement was issued on the occasion of the United Nations Civil Society Hearing on Non-Communicable Diseases NCDs in New York.

“As cancer doctors we work hard every day to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.” said Dr Alexandru Eniu, the Chair of the ESMO Global Policy Committee. “We are progressively increasing our knowledge about cancer and how to treat it. We can, even, cure some cancers, if, we intervene early enough. However, in many countries access to, even, the most inexpensive essential cancer medicines and priority medical devices is lacking.

We urgently need governments to work with us and ensure that we have enough oncology professionals and the necessary resources, to apply our knowledge and save lives.”

ESMO President, Dr Josep Tabernero said, “Recent UN and WHO reports note that unless countries significantly scale-up their actions and investments, they will not meet agreed targets to reduce deaths from non-communicable diseases. We are concerned that governments, may, find it easier to achieve their targets by reducing deaths from only some NCDs, leaving cancer patients behind.

We believe there are cost-effective ways to improve cancer care and stand ready to assist countries in doing this by providing our expertise in cancer management to support implementation of the 2017 World Health Assembly Cancer Resolution.

We urge Member States to consider our joint call and amendments to strengthen the Political Declaration to be approved during the UN High-Level Meeting on September 27 and, thus, change the future outlook for cancer patients worldwide

About the European Society for Medical Oncology:ESMO: ESMO is the leading professional organisation for medical oncology. With 18,000 members representing oncology professionals from over 150 countries worldwide, ESMO is the society of reference for oncology education and information. We are committed to supporting our members to develop and advance in a fast-evolving professional environment. :::ω.

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The World Global Progress on Reducing Child Deaths

|| November 19: 2016: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine News || ά. Around 05.9 million children worldwide died before reaching the age of five, including 02.7 million newborns, according to 2015 estimates, published in The Lancet. Globally, more than four million fewer child deaths occurred in 2015 than in 2000, mainly thanks to reductions in deaths from pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, death during birth and measles. This image, let it be the window to show the world and world humanity that humanity always rises back up from the ashes and flies a phoenix. Nothing, can destroy this eternal phoenix that humanity is.

Life's Laurel Is You In One-Line-Poetry A Heaven-Bound Propagated Ray Of Light Off The Eye Of The Book Of Life: Love For You Are Only Once



Life: You Are The Law The Flow The Glow: In Joys In Hurts You Are The Vine-Songs On The Light-Trellis


























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