Month: December 2019

Withdrawing life-sustaining treatment: To court or not to court?

© AA+W / istock Research published in BMC Medical Ethics explores a recent ruling from the highest court in England. The ruling confirms that particular decisions about the removal of life-sustaining treatment can be made by clinicians and families, rather than by the courts, as had been thought. There is much to welcome here, says Professor Richard Huxtable, but also some potential pitfalls to avoid in the future. Patients with “prolonged disorders of consciousness” have regular sleep-wake cycles but either absent or reduced consciousness. Those individuals who lack consciousness are (controversially) referred to as being in the “vegetative state”;...

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Aging Healthily: Perspectives from the Older Adults on Mindfulness and Exercise

The number of people over 60 years old in the United States is expected to double by 2050. And this presents a growing societal challenge: How do we ensure that this population has the skills necessary to lead a healthy lifestyle and remain socially engaged? Two promising interventions that could benefit older adults cognitively, emotionally, and physically are exercise and mindfulness. Exercise helps prevent falls, delays disability, enhances cognitive functioning, improves depression, and reverses metabolic diseases. Mindfulness reduces stress, worry, and loneliness; decreases systemic inflammation; and improves mental health, sleep, awareness, self-efficacy, cognitive functioning, and psychological well-being. Given these benefits of...

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“It made me aware falls can happen”: responses of older adults to tailored audio-visual fall prevention messages

Falls in older people Falls risk increases sharply with older age, and falls among older people are a significant global problem. However, many older people are unaware of, or underestimate, their risk of falling. This may explain why older people lack the willingness to take up existing falls-prevention strategies. Because some falls can be prevented, increased population-based efforts to influence older people’s falls-prevention behavior are warranted. To this end, our team developed three prototype TV-commercial-like audio-visual falls-prevention messages that aimed to promote falls prevention in the community in the context of a positive view of aging. It was envisaged...

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Honey baits for arbovirus surveillance

These four female Culex mosquitoes have clearly fed on the honey-baited FTA card as evidenced by the visible blue honey in their abdomens. (Photo: Nadja Wipf). Collecting mosquito saliva on FTA cards The idea to take advantage of the fact that infectious mosquitoes spit out viruses in their saliva not only during blood- but also during sugar-feeding is not new. Australian researchers, who dared to think out of the box, came up with the idea to collect mosquito saliva on honey-soaked filter papers housed in mosquito traps. They did not just use any filter paper but special ones coated...

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What difference does a law make?

Flickr via Compfight cc Worldwide, as many as 19-20 million women resort to unsafe abortions every year. Many of these result in complications that cause considerable damage and even death, making abortion a key issue of women’s health and gender equity. Nevertheless, abortion remains a contentious issue among global health actors, and is often neglected and overlooked. When abortion is addressed, it is commonly discussed in terms of legalization or criminalization, and liberal abortion laws are often understood as synonymous to easy access to abortion services. A recently published collection in the International Journal for Equity in Health scrutinizes...

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