Month: July 2019

MSF’s Scientific Days: embracing fear in a changing climate

Panellists from the ‘Still neglected? Overlooked and forgotten’ discussion – the final session of Medical Research Day. ©MSF At this year’s annual Scientific Days conference held by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in London, delegates were dared to embrace fear. From the fear of unknown challenges to the known threats that we see on the frontline of humanitarian aid, presenters encouraged us to run towards that fear to create real change. Dr James Orbinski’s provoking keynote presentation reminded us that the most significant issues are multi-layered and need to be embraced as a whole.Drawing lines between complex geopolitical systems and...

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Fasciola liver flukes infecting wild elephants of Sri Lanka: tackling tricky taxonomy

Wild Sri Lankan elephants at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (picture by Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia) Elephants and fascioliasis Fascioliasis is a global economic problem impacting upon human and domestic animal health, but what about wildlife? Although we are used to considering the impact of Fasciola infections on domestic animals such as sheep, cattle, and horses, it is often very easy to forget their impact on wild ungulates, including deer, buffalo, antelope, and even elephants. Fascioliasis is a serious problem for elephants throughout Asia with continuous reports from India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia of...

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Can Twitter and Google help improve heat wave warning systems?

© ersinkisacik / Getty Images / iStock Social media has become an integral part of our day to day activities and we use it to stay in touch with friends, read the news, and find information. Internet activity is easily tracked and freely available data on trending topics can be used to the benefit of many fields, including public health. A new study published in Environmental Health shows that the number of heat-related illnesses are closely related with social media information, particularly with user tweets and Google searches. The study also found that internet search activity for protective behaviors...

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How can we use fungi to control mosquitoes?

(Picture CC BY by Emphyrio via Pixabay) Due to climate change, mosquitoes that vector arboviruses are rapidly spreading throughout the world, even to counties in Northern Europe. Two of the most worrying species are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus as they are highly competent vectors of dengue, Zika, chikungunya and urban yellow fever. Currently, the state of Rio de Janeiro is suffering from an epidemic of chikungunya, with thousands of cases reported so far this year. What are the current difficulties in tackling arbovirus transmission? It is somewhat obvious to state that conventional control measures are inefficient and, in...

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EULAR 2019: highlights from the annual conference

Conference session advocating increased patient participation in EULAR’s work. (Shared with permission from Dr Juan Ovalles) One major event in the world calendar of rheumatology Scientists, patients, rheumatologists and other health professionals met at the IFEMA Centre to discuss recent advances in research and care in the diagnosis and treatment of RMDs. Sunny Madrid is a popular destination for rheumatologists having hosted EULAR on three out of the last seven editions of the conference. Despite the routine focus on rheumatoid arthritis (RA), other topics have shone in recent years, including co-morbidities, patient engagement, and digitalisation in diagnostics and care....

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