Posts tagged: Public Health

Not motivated enough? How you can get walking more (with the help of science)


Today is World Car-free Day. As the planet heats up and our sedentary behavior increases, it may be time to face up to the facts: we really ought to walk more often. That’s easier said than done. Sometimes it’s difficult for us to find the encouragement to ditch our vehicles. 

You may have seen in the news last week that commuters who choose public transport, ride a bike or walk to their offices will often feel better, both mentally and physically, compared to those that go by car. Yet despite that, people still decline the healthier option. Why is this? Sometimes it requires the right dose of motivation – but we all know motivation can be hard to come across. Thankfully …

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Time to reduce needless deaths from liver cirrhosis

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Our guest author, Ali. A. Mokdad is based at University of Texas and affiliated with the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE). He is the lead author of a recent study published in BMC Medicine, focusing on deaths caused by liver cirrhosis. 


Liver cirrhosis is a costly disease that is devastating to families and their finances. Most of these deaths are preventable, however. Countries can reverse the tide of liver cirrhosis by implementing a variety of cost-effective solutions.

When my colleagues and I saw just how many deaths occurred each year as a result of liver cirrhosis, we decided to write a paper to raise awareness about these disease trends and the steps that could be taken …

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Implementing nature’s solution to dirty bacteria with the bioinspired Sharklet™ micropattern


A guest blog from Dr. Ethan Mann, a research scientist at Sharklet Technologies, Inc, in which he discusses how different materials can prevent the spread of human disease bacteria.

Microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses  are contacted during interaction with everyday surfaces. Picking up germs from surfaces contributes to transmission of infectious diseases. Bacteria are able to survive on hard surfaces for days to weeks before they are reintroduced to a host. Once in a host, the bacteria are able to cause an illness often resulting in further propagation of the microorganism and potentially the need for treatment.

High touch public surfaces such as door handles and railings would benefit from a self-cleaning surface technology to reduce the amount of microorganisms …

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We are all sweet enough; it’s time for less sugar now


Katharine Jenner is a Registered Public Health Nutritionist and the Campaign Director of Action on Sugar, a new campaign group concerned with the effects of sugar on our diet, and of Consensus Action on Salt and Health; who have already been successful in reducing the UK’s salt intake and are expanding worldwide. Katharine is also Chief Executive of Blood Pressure UK, Chair of the Better Hospital Food campaign, and a lecturer in nutrition and public health at Queen Mary University of London.

A gold standard of evidence in nutritional science is notoriously hard to achieve. Calls for double blind trials of free sugars, or systematic reviews on intakes are often used as delaying tactics favoured by organisations that are …

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A whole new world. How physiological anthropology helps study our modern lives


Our environment has changed dramatically since our hunter-gatherer days, but how is this having an impact on our health? Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Physiological Anthropology, Akira Yasukouchi, explains how the study of physiological anthropology will help us understand our relationship with this new world in his latest guest blog. 


What is physiological anthropology?

Research in physiological anthropology focuses on the capacity for environmental adaptation seen in the physiological function of present-day humans. Areas of study include physical and cultural aspects related to living environments as factors that affect the capacity for environmental adaptation.

At the same time, researchers investigate the interactions of these factors with the genetic triggers that are the basis of human physical and functional resources.  All humankind …

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Encouraging walking through changing our surroundings


A study published at the end of July in International Journal of Health Geographics suggests that changes in the built environment can increase how far a person will walk to get somewhere. So why should we be bothered about getting people walking?

Walking is a big part of my life. Not only do I love getting out to the countryside for a good old ramble, I walk as much as I can in the city (which, for me, is usually London). This wasn’t always the case. A few years ago, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to walk to work, for example. I just opted for the quickest journey time – bus, tube, whichever was faster.

That all changed when I …

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Another hurdle for researchers from the EMA?

Image attributed to David Morris

Earlier this week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) released a draft policy update on access to the data from the EudraVigilance database, which seems to imply they want the right to censor scientific work that uses the data.

Managed by the EMA, EudraVigilance is the European database that holds all information on suspected side effects that have been reported for medicines authorized in Europe. It is one of the greatest resources for adverse drug reaction data, receiving over one million reports of suspected side effects a year, and used in the continuous safety monitoring of medicines in Europe.

Within medical evidence, the importance of analyzing adverse drug reactions cannot be underestimated. New medicines see their way to the public through …

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How do we manage the health impact of the economic crisis in Europe?


An unprecedented economic crisis is affecting Europe, focusing mainly on the southern countries. Improving health and reducing health inequalities in this macro-economic environment is going to be a great challenge, which the new thematic series in International Journal for Equity in Health discusses. In this guest blog, Dr Miguel San Sebastián, one of the series editors, looks at what the first papers can tell us about the challenges faced.

The economic and social crisis that the European population has experienced since 2008 has fuelled interest in the study of its potential health impacts.

With regard to public health, and particularly social epidemiology, the need to deal with the problem of the economic crisis encourages natural experiments. From these it is possible to …

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Real evidence-based medicine: a shift away from GPs’ box-ticking exercise

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Mr Jones shuffled into the room. “Good morning, Mr Jones, please take a seat.”

Obligingly Mr Smith settled himself in the little wooden armchair beside the desk, as the GP reclaimed his position at the computer.

“So what seems to be the problem” enquired Dr Smith, eyes fixed on the computer screened.

Mr Jones stared down at his lap. His bony hands cradled one another. He slowly rubbed his thumbs in a soothing rhythmic ritual as he hesitated with his response.

“How’s your appetite? Have you had trouble sleeping or difficulty getting to sleep?” The drilling questioning had begun.

“Well, I haven’t been feeling myself lately. It’s hard to describe.” He paused. Shuffled his feet and slumped forward slightly, curling himself “I feel like …

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Football – is it good or bad for your health?

football and advertising

Football might be a sport that gets its players fighting fit, but as it turns out the story isn’t quite so simple for its dedicated fans.

We’ve had the highs and lows, tears and cheers, and now we’re reaching the end of 2014’s World Cup. So I thought this seemed a good opportunity to see what football-related research we’ve published over the years.

Looking back through the articles – some of which refer (wrongly in my British opinion) to ‘soccer’ rather than football – I noticed that there’s an interesting contrast in the research.

On the one hand, we have articles looking at the fitness benefits of football, the fitness levels of both professional players and amateur enthusiasts, and how players can influence …

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