Month: April 2020

The key to Toxoplasma cyst formation

– Dividing Toxoplasma gondii parasites. Daniel Mietchen (Wikipedia) derived from original image by Hu et al (2006) PloS Pathogens Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite that can infect and reproduce asexually in the cells of almost all mammals, including humans. Sexual reproduction only occurs in felids such as the domestic cat. It is prevalent worldwide and it is estimated that over a quarter of the world’s population is infected with Toxoplasma. In intermediate hosts, the invasive stages of Toxoplasma’s life cycle are called tachyzoites. They can infect any cells in the body, multiply, then lyse the cell (see...

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Integrating Domestic Violence Prevention and Mitigation into Global COVID-19 Preparedness and Relief Efforts

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an unprecedented global health emergency. At this writing, COVID-19 has affected more than 173 countries, causing 972,303 infections and 50,322 deaths. Highly contagious, coronavirus spreads through human-to-human contact, with the number of infections doubling every three days. Neither vaccine nor cure exists for COVID-19, although several clinical trials are underway. Prevention is cure, and physical distancing is the most effective prevention endeavor. Mandatory quarantines or non-mandatory stay-at-home advisories are in effect in countries around the world, affecting one third of the global population. Homebound, people are physically distant from wider social networks: school-age children...

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Rodent rendezvous increases tick density but does it impact pathogen transmission?

Source: During the first few days of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in mid-to-late March of 2020, a curious thing happened. Public places that are usually quiet were suddenly flooded by people aiming to spend their unexpected free time enjoying the good weather outdoors. This timing coincides with the start of the spring season when ticks, such as the Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), also come out of their diapause and start questing. Ticks, being efficient ectoparasites, don’t care about the pandemic ravaging our population and economy. They continue to go about their business, questing for hosts, taking...

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What impact do tobacco-style health warning labels have when applied to alcohol and food products, and how acceptable might they be?

Flickr: PressReleaseFinder Public health bodies have suggested that tobacco-style HWLs should be considered for application to alcohol and high calorie snack products. However, evidence for their potential usefulness in these contexts is limited, with prior research typically focusing on sugary drinks, or using smaller or less representative samples. This led us to run two large-scale studies in general populations to examine the potential effectiveness and acceptability of image-and-text HWLs on alcohol and snack foods. Our studies  In two separate online studies we asked participants to rate different image-and-text HWLs on alcoholic drinks (Alcohol study, with 5,528 participants) and energy-dense...

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Combatting a sweet tooth: the role of health marketing

Are your kids addicted to sugar? Children between the ages of 2 and 18 should eat less than six teaspoons of added sugar per day on average. This adds up to around 25 grams of sugar. According to Public Health England (PHE) children consume much more sugar than recommended; this equals around eight excess sugar cubes a day or 2,800 excess sugar cubes per year. This has instigated the ‘sugar smart’ campaign led by PHE which is aimed at raising awareness of the amount of sugars in foods and drinks and to encourage parents to reduce their children’s sugar...

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