Author: vulgavis

Competition between different strains of malaria

Schematic of a malaria merozoite. Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867406001814 Of the five species of malaria parasites known to infect humans, Plasmodium falciparum is the most virulent, but this virulence is variable.  One factor determining the great variability in clinical symptoms associated with falciparum malaria is, which of the many strains of the parasite is infecting the patient. Many of the genes encoding proteins produced by P. falciparum occur in a variety of forms, or alleles, and different strains of the parasite express different forms of these proteins. One such family of proteins, called merozoite surface proteins, have been linked to differences...

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Respectful maternity care – the way forward

African mother smiles at the camera while holding her young child. Recent WHO guidelines for care during pregnancy and childbirth have emphasised the need for ensuring a positive experience for women. Respectful maternity care is a universal human right for every child-bearing woman around the globe, as advocated by the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) and others. However, there are numerous studies showing that this right is not in place yet in many settings. The WRA published the Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) Charter in 2017, and thankfully more and more stakeholders are becoming aware of the need to treat women with...

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Highlights of the BMC Series: January 2019

BMC Pediatrics: Do video game interventions improve motor outcomes in children with developmental coordination disorder? Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) occurs in approximately 5 to 6% of the school-aged population and can limit the academic, social, and physical abilities of the children it affects. Recent research has focused on using virtual reality and video game equipment to improve the motor skills of children with DCD. Mentiplay et al systematically reviewed 15 studies looking at the use of video games in DCD affected children. Nintendo Wii was the most commonly used intervention, appearing in 12 of the 15 studies. None of the...

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What is the most effective intervention for ensuring weight recording in pregnancy?

Feet on scale [credit: Mater Mothers’ Hospitals] Why focus on healthy weight gain in pregnancy? Gestational weight gain (GWG) outside of guidelines is linked with negative health consequences for both the mother and her baby. Pregnant women who gain weight in accordance with the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines, also adopted for use in Australia (where we did our study), have the lowest risk of pregnancy and birth-related complications. Women who gain more are more likely to experience high blood pressure and diabetes in pregnancy, longer hospital stays after birth, and Cesarean sections. They are also more likely...

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The obesity-paradox: impact of body composition on cancer survival

BMI (body mass index) is used to determine whether a person is a healthy body weight. But it has flaws. © Sherry Young / Fotolia As long as I remember, people told me to always exercise and eat well to stay fit and healthy. Despite recent efforts in both the public and private sector to promote the consumption of healthier foods and motivate people to be more physically active, obesity remains a major concern worldwide. There are currently about 2 billion people overweight, of which 650 million are obese, indicating that obesity has nearly tripled since 1975 (WHO, 2016)....

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