This guest blog is written by Vera Unwin. With an MSc in Medical Parasitology and experience as a Parasitology Research Technician, Vera regularly writes for Bugbitten, our blog on parasites and vectors.
Insecticides are fundamental to vector control programs for vector borne diseases. Malaria is one of the most dangerous of these diseases, with an estimated 627,000 deaths per year. Reducing transmission by targeting mosquito populations is an integral strategy for controlling this disease. Such programs are heavily reliant on the use of insecticides- in the form of Insecticide Treated bed Nets (ITNS) and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS)- to decrease mosquito populations and so lower transmission of the disease.
The widespread use of insecticides has inevitably …
Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune digestive condition affecting approximately 1 in 100 people worldwide. The symptoms of celiac disease – including diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain – occur as a result of the body’s immune system mistakenly attacking gluten proteins, causing damage to the surface of the small intestine. The symptoms of CD can be well-controlled with a gluten-free diet, and prompt diagnosis is essential for controlling the symptoms. CD is usually detected through a blood test for CD-associated antibodies followed by an intestinal biopsy.
Advances in detecting CD and comorbid autoimmune disease
New research by Carlos López-Larrea and colleagues published in BMC Medicine has revealed that antibodies against the protein MHC class …
Schistosomiasis – also known as Bilharzia – has been present in China for over 2000 years, causing millions of deaths, and destroying families and even entire villages. Caused by flatworms of the genus Schistosoma, the symptoms are extremely unpleasant, ranging from swelling of the abdomen and spleen, to physical underdevelopment and much more besides.
Thankfully though, it now looks like the tide is turning. A new review, published today in Infectious Diseases of Poverty, offers hope that occurrences of this disease have dramatically reduced since the introduction of a national control program.
The worm Schistosoma japonicum is the culprit of schistosomiasis in China. The eggs of this parasite have been identified in ancient corpses, showing that …
Late last year, ministers, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and charities from around the world gathered together at the G8 dementia summit to make a declaration and commitment for global action against dementia. This led to a significant increase in the budget to spend on research into the prevalence, diagnosis, clinical care, and policy issues in dementia, and the latest advances in these topics were highlighted last week at the 16th national conference on dementias in London. Some of the main discussions from the meeting have been highlighted below.
Prevalence and improving quality of life
Martin Prince gave an excellent overview of groundbreaking global epidemiological studies including some from the 10/66 Dementia Research Group. One of …
A partnership between the National Institutes of Health (NIH), US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) aims to develop 3D-human cell-based tissue chips to dramatically improve the speed and efficiency of drug screening. The program is featured in a recent supplement in Stem Cell Research & Therapy: Stem cells on bioengineered microphysiological platforms for disease modeling and drug testing.
This partnership is the first such inter-agency collaboration launched by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the supplement features an overview of the program itself, followed by introductory reviews of each individual project, including:
Mark Donowitz and colleagues on human enteroids to model the human intestine
Analysis of 19th century harvest records from an isolated Swedish community reveals that female grandchildren have an increased risk of death from heart disease if their paternal grandmother experienced a drastic change in food availability in their childhood.
Staying stress free, keeping fit, eating well – these are all things we’re advised to do to keep our hearts healthy. But have you ever thought about whether what your parents and grandparents did could be affecting you too? New research has suggested that the diet experiences of even your grandparents could have an effect on your own health.
Food shortage and famine are clearly not good for you. Associations between higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke among adults who suffered famine …
Citizen science – the public participation in gathering data for scientific studies – is certainly not new, but facilitated by the ease of sharing information online, the opportunities for the public to engage in scientific data collection have increased in recent years. Zooniverse, one of the most successful platforms facilitating citizen science experiments, recently announced that they now have over 1 million registered users (this map shows how geographically diverse they are), quite an impressive milestone to reach in just seven years.
But what are the implications of publishing scientific studies which, by definition, rely on the engagement of a broad group of participants?
BioMed Central is organising a panel discussion at the Citizen Cyberscience Summit to discuss this question, rounding off the second day of the conference in London this Friday.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites of the Plasmodium genus that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes. It is a leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide, accounting for 7% of deaths in children younger than five years old.
Young children living in stable transmission areas are particularly at risk of malaria, since they have not yet developed protective immunity against the most severe forms of the disease. As clinical outcomes in this group can be poor, there is much interest in understanding what other factors contribute to a poor outcome in order to identify future targets for additional treatments.
Previous data had shown tentative indications that children infected with Plasmodium falciparum malaria …
The Editors of Conflict and Health, in collaboration with the Thematic Working Group on Health Systems on Fragile and Conflict-Affected States (FCAS), would like to invite authors to submit papers presenting research articles, case studies, methodologies and reviews on health systems in FCAS.
These will form a Conflict and Health special series on health systems in FCAS. The Thematic Working Group is part of Health Systems Global, an international membership organization dedicated to promoting health systems research and organiser of the Global Symposia on Health Systems Research. The Third Global Symposium will be in Cape Town on 30 September – 3 October 2014, with a focus on ‘people centred health systems’. Authors …
This weekend marked the midpoint of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which like all major sporting events has been plagued in the past by accusations of doping. As usual, the organisers have tried to reassure the world that this Games will be the cleanest yet. But why is doping banned at all?
The reasons for why certain substances are prohibited are complex, but can largely be summarized as a combination of trying to ensure both fair competition and athlete safety. Road cycling – one of the worst-affected sports – has a long history of athlete injury as a result of doping, most shockingly the death of Tom Simpson in the Tour de France nearly 50 years ago. Simpson died …