Month: August 2019

Psoriasis: more than just dry skin

© miamariam / What is psoriasis? Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory condition, which affects the skin’s surface. The condition causes inflamed, red, flaky and itchy skin, often around the knees, elbows and scalp.  The condition is believed to affect 1 in 50 people, affecting all ages, races and genders. A large percentage of people are diagnosed below the age of 35. Currently, it is thought that psoriasis affects roughly 100 million people worldwide, 1.6 million in the UK and nearly 7.6 million Americans, making psoriasis a global problem. Psoriasis is known for causing often dry and painful skin...

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Climate change and infectious diseases – a partnership made in hell?

Ancient wisdom and current knowledgeLong before they were aware of the organisms that were responsible for diseases such as malaria, our ancestors knew that certain climate conditions could increase the potential for illness. For instance, Roman aristocrats moved to higher grounds in the summer to avoid falling ill with malaria. From studying past and current outbreaks, scientists have known for some time that long term climatic changes can result in the spread, emergence or re-emergence of infectious diseases. Equally importantly, judging by recent newspaper headlines such as: “A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy” (NY...

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Evidence-based messages promote public understanding of the neurotoxic effects of air pollution

© hsun337 / Fossil fuel use has enabled many of modern civilization’s comforts and conveniences, but it has also exacted a terrible public health toll. Experts have long understood that air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels contributes to many serious health problems, like asthma, heart disease and cancer. More recently, research has shown that air pollution harms our brains and our mental abilities too—especially among children (including unborn babies), the elderly, and people living in poverty. Air pollution may cause delays in brain development, reduced IQ and learning difficulties. © Siarhei / For children, these...

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Malaria vaccine promises a better future for African children

Healthy children (Photo credit: Nigeria Health Watch) According to the WHO’s World Malaria Report 2018, there has been “no significant progress in reducing global malaria cases” between 2015 and 2017. In 2017, an estimated 219 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide, most of them (92%) in the WHO African Region. Of these cases, 435,000 patients died, again most of them (93%) in the WHO African Region. Children under 5 years are still the most vulnerable group, accounting for 61% of all malaria deaths worldwide in 2017.  Vaccine (Photo credit: Wikicommons) The WHO provides a list of different malaria vaccine...

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Characteristics of patients attending English and Welsh Hospitals with Lyme disease

Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of specific ticks and has a variety of clinical presentations, most notably a bull’s eye rash (erythema migrans) and an associated flu-like illness. Its distribution through Europe is heterogenous with a large variation in incidence between countries and within them. Over an eighteen-year period (1998-2015) we observed a six-fold increase in cases seen in hospitals. In the United Kingdom, information relating to infected patients’ characteristics, where they live and how they are managed within the National Health Service (NHS), is poorly understood. Currently most information is derived from Public Health England’s and...

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