GLOBAL HEALTH BRIEF Thursday, March 19, 2020

 

Public Health Leadership Paramount to Emerging Coronavirus Pandemic
For decades, public health officials have directed the containment of emerging pandemics – perhaps most notably – the worldwide eradication of smallpox starting in the early to mid-1960s. Since then, surveillance systems have increased in number and sophistication with advances in data collection, analysis, and communication. From influenza to smallpox, the establishment of systematic reporting systems and prompt action based on results have enabled public health officials to lead the charge in containing emerging pandemics.
 
Researchers have published a commentary online ahead of print in the American Journal of Medicine about the urgent need for public health leadership in the wake of the emerging coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
 
Their message? Public health leaders, namely, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whom they liken as the “Babe Ruth” of virology, should guide the nation and other comparable world leaders through this pandemic and ensure preparedness for the challenges ahead.
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Understanding How COVID-19 Affects Children Vital to Slowing Pandemic
Though COVID-19 so far appears to be largely sparing children, researchers are cautioning that it is critical to understand how the virus affects kids to model the pandemic accurately, limit the disease’s spread and ensure the youngest patients get the care they need.
One of Darwin’s Evolution Theories Finally Proved by Cambridge Researcher
Laura van Holstein, a PhD student in Biological Anthropology at St. John’s College, University of Cambridge, has proved one of Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution for the first time – nearly 140 years after his death. Van Holstein discovered mammal subspecies play a more important role in evolution than previously thought.
 
Her research could now be used to predict which species conservationists should focus on protecting to stop them becoming endangered or extinct.
 
A species is a group of animals that can interbreed freely amongst themselves. Some species contain subspecies – populations within a species that differ from each other by having different physical traits and their own breeding ranges. Northern giraffes have three subspecies that usually live in different locations to each other and red foxes have the most subspecies – 45 known varieties – spread all over the world. Humans have no subspecies.
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Portable AI Device Turns Coughing Sounds into Health Data for Flu and Pandemic Forecasting
Researchers have invented a portable surveillance device powered by machine learning – called FluSense – which can detect coughing and crowd size in real time, then analyze the data to directly monitor flu-like illnesses and influenza trends.
 
The FluSense creators say the new edge-computing platform, envisioned for use in hospitals, healthcare waiting rooms and larger public spaces, may expand the arsenal of health surveillance tools used to forecast seasonal flu and other viral respiratory outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or SARS.
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Social Policies Might Not Only Improve Economic Well-Being, but Also Health
A comprehensive review of U.S. social policies evaluated for their health outcomes found suggestive evidence that early life, income, and health insurance interventions have the potential to improve health. Scientists have long known that “social” risk factors, like poverty, are correlated with health. However, until this study, there was little research carried out to understand whether it was actually possible to improve population health by addressing these risk factors with social policies. The findings are published in The Milbank Quarterly, a multidisciplinary journal of population health and health policy published by the Milbank Memorial Fund.
Can Stress Trigger a Second Heart Attack? Yes, New Research Suggests
We all have stress in our lives–whether it’s due to financial woes, work pressures, relationship issues, illness or even natural disasters or health crises like the emerging coronavirus. For some people who survive a heart attack, it seems mental stress–as opposed to physical stress–may be a stronger predictor of a repeat heart attack or dying from heart disease.
Most Mass Shootings Occur Closest to Hospitals Without Verification to Treat Trauma
In an analysis of 2019 mass shootings and hospital locations, researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) found that the closest hospital to more than 70% of mass shootings was a non-trauma center, where sudden, high casualty loads were more likely to overwhelm capacity and trauma-specific care options may have been limited. They also found that in more than half of mass shooting events, the nearest pediatric trauma center was more than 10 miles away.
Opioid Withdrawal Increases Health Risks for People Who Inject Drugs
Experiencing the symptoms of opioid withdrawal increases the odds that a person who injects drugs will share needles or have a non-fatal overdose, according to new USC study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
 
The study has implications for others with opioid use disorder, even if they don’t inject opioids, since they are also likely to experience withdrawal, putting them at higher risk for an overdose.
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‘Breastfeeding Gap’ Exists Among Mexican-Origin Women Living in Texas
Mexican women born and educated in Mexico who now live in Texas breastfeed longer than those born and educated in the United States. That’s the finding from new research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) at The University of Texas at Austin, which points to a “breastfeeding gap” among some Mexican-origin women living in Texas.
 

 

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