Author: vulgavis

Can an algorithm be trained to recognize different childhood coughs?

ResApp – Dr Jamie Tan with patient Provided by author Respiratory disorders are the second most common reason for children to attend an emergency department. Pneumonia claims the lives of approximately 900,000 children each year, and lower respiratory infections are a leading cause of reduced quality of life and life span worldwide. To help address this, we have developed a tool designed to separate different pediatric respiratory diseases based on the sound of the cough they cause. We assembled a collaborative research team . . . to develop and test an algorithm that could recognize common childhood respiratory...

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The unintended health consequence of Trump’s push for immigration reform

© PeopleImages / Getty Images / iStock Since taking office in 2017, the Trump administration has pursued restrictive immigration reform as a top priority. Building on campaign promises, President Trump has declared a national emergency to fund a wall on the US-Mexico border, tried to end the DACA program that allows undocumented children to remain in the US, and threatened to change public charge rules. Last month, President Trump doubled down by announcing an immigration reform proposal that would increase border security and limit visas given to relatives of US residents. In the wake of a statement by President...

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Monkeypox outbreak in Nigeria

Monkeypox lesions Monkeypox (MPX) is caused by the monkeypox virus (MPXV), related to both smallpox and cowpox. The first recorded case in a human occurred in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is currently endemic to regions of the Congo Basin and Western Africa— but largely the DRC. Symptoms are similar to, but sometimes less severe than, smallpox. It is generally transmitted from animal to human (through contact with infected bodily fluids as well as improperly cooked meats), however human-to-human transmission has been documented as well. There is no known treatment that is considered safe or...

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‘Killing my Own Baby’: Challenges faced by breastfeeding mothers with HIV

Zimbabwe is working towards elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. All pregnant and breastfeeding women who are HIV-infected are initiated on Option B+ treatment for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). Women on this regimen are encouraged to exclusively breastfeed for six months along with starting or continuing antiretroviral therapy (ART). Exclusive breastfeeding is not an easy feat, particularly for HIV-infected mothers. Our study explored the challenges faced by these women on the PMTCT program. Challenges in implementing and studying PMTCT Our study is premised on the assumption that the biomedical framework of ART initiation has informed most of the...

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Jiggers: a painful infestation

A female jigger flea with extended abdomen. Source: Wikipedia A jigger infestation, known as tungiasis, can be very painful; I speak from personal experience.  This tiny sand-flea has a variety of other colloquial names including nigua, chigoe and bicho de pé (Portugues for foot-bug). The last one, and its scientific name, Tunga penetrans, giving clues to its habit, as the adult female burrows into the skin, usually of the foot. Originally endemic in pre-Columbian Andean society and the West Indies jiggers were spread to other tropical and sub-tropical regions via shipping routes. They are now present in the Caribbean,...

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