On May 23, Dr. Tedros Adnahom Ghebreyesus was elected as the new Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO). He took office on July 1st, succeeding the outgoing Director General Dr. Margaret Chan, who has held the office since January 1, 2007. Dr. Tedros is the first director general to be elected by the 194 member countries as a … [Read more...] about Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, new WHO director-general
A potential HIV treatment raises troubling questions about gene technology, but do the benefits outweigh the risks? A promising new development in HIV research reveals a potential new avenue for treatment in the future. The proposed technique would utilise the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing method to remove sections of the virus’s genetic code, … [Read more...] about HIV treatment, CRISPR/cas9 and the safety of gene editing
Are smoking rates in decline? Yes, providing you live in a wealthy nation. While in the western world the trend over the last decade has been a reduction in smoking rates -- often through government policies dissuading people from taking up the habit -- a number of developing nations are seeing a sharp rise in the number of people … [Read more...] about Developing nations going against trend of tobacco decline
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has noted a sharp rise in development spending of 8.9 percent between 2015 and 2016. Despite this increase, aid to many poor nations has fallen. In four countries, more than one dollar in every five was spent at home in caring for refugees. Overall, a large portion of the … [Read more...] about Development aid to poorest nations falling in favour of domestic spending on refugees
Creating a single new prescription drug is currently estimated to cost $2.6 billion dollars. This is a sum so vast that only a small number of companies can afford to even consider the possibility. It is also a figure which is overshadowed by one major factor: failure. A staggeringly small number of medications are ever successful. As few as … [Read more...] about Pharmaceutical research: the price of failure
The 2016 Human development index (HDI) report has been published. It is a list of 188 countries in ranked order, listed according to a set of criteria used to determine the quality of life in each country. It comes out at a time of large scale political instability with nationalistic speeches focusing on making countries great again heard … [Read more...] about The Human Development Index, what makes a country great?
Some cancer medications cost too much for too little benefit, suggests a study published last year in the British Medical Journal. The study indicates that many chemotherapeutic drugs are only shown to increase life expectancy in those with stage IV (metastatic) cancer by a few months. Yet these treatments can incur costs as high as six … [Read more...] about A few more months for a six figure sum, the ethics of cancer medications
U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of his intention to reduce funds to numerous government departments has many worried. One primary target of the cuts is the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Attempts were also made to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (often referred to as Obamacare) though a revolt amongst the republican party saw … [Read more...] about Trump to remove critical funds from the CDC?
Modern science is in an arms race with mosquito borne disease and climate change is bringing the mosquito threat to the doorsteps of yet more nations. Recent headlines are placing emphasis on the views of the new President of the United States Donald Trump and many of his cabinet appointees, rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change. … [Read more...] about Mosquito-borne illness in 2017
A drug trial for a Merck & Co Inc. (MSD) medication verubecestat has been stopped because it was very unlikely to show a significant difference in Alzheimers disease progression compared to a placebo control. This was a phase III clinical trial in patients with early dementia. The setback comes after months of positive media attributed … [Read more...] about Failed trials for Alzheimer’s may mean a key theory is wrong