Our Strength Lies in Our Humanity

Wuhan coronavirus: we still haven’t learned the lessons from SARS

Wuhan coronavirus: we still haven’t learned the lessons from SARS The SARS outbreak in 2002-2003 was the first global pandemic of the 21st century. There were 8,422 reported cases and 11% of those infected with the virus died. Its cause was a newly identified coronavirus (a type of virus that causes respiratory infections): SARS Co-V. Early cases were linked to wildlife markets and restaurants in Guangdong, China, where researchers found…

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Baby box: child welfare experts say use of sleep boxes could potentially put infants’ lives at risk

Baby box: child welfare experts say use of sleep boxes could potentially put infants’ lives at risk The baby box in Finland is embedded as part of the maternity system. Kela Having a baby can be expensive. So it’s maybe not surprising that many retailers around the world have cottoned on to the success of Finland’s baby boxes – a package aimed to set up new parents and their bundle…

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A&E waiting times worst on record – but using AI to unblock beds could be part of the solution

A&E waiting times worst on record – but using AI to unblock beds could be part of the solution January is the busiest month of the year for the NHS – with patients often queuing in corridors and ambulances. In 2019 Emergency Department waiting times in England were the worst on record, with 2000 patients waiting for more than 12 hours for a hospital bed in December. At the same…

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Malnutrition is on the rise in older adults – how to spot the signs

Malnutrition is on the rise in older adults – how to spot the signs Spotting the signs isn't always easy. Toa55/ Shutterstock While the obesity crisis is still considered the foremost public health epidemic in the west, one often overlooked condition is quickly becoming a growing concern. Malnutrition, sometimes referred to as under-nutrition, affects an estimated 3 million people in the UK alone. Globally, around 462 million adults are malnourished.…

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Mental health: one in three young people in England are struggling – new report

Mental health: one in three young people in England are struggling – new report Shutterstock/Lincoln Beddoe We have seen a dramatic change in health trends for young people in the last ten years. Across most wealthy countries, such as the UK, Australia and Canada, young people’s participation in health risk behaviours such as regular alcohol consumption and getting drunk has declined. In many ways this can be attributed to successful policy interventions. However, against this backdrop of largely positive trends in health risks, concern over young people’s mental health has also grown. Worldwide, it is thought that between 10-20% of young people experience mental health disorders. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 50% of all mental health illnesses start in childhood (before 14 years), rising to 75% by mid-20s.…

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Big Tobacco wants social media influencers to promote its products – can the platforms stop it?

Big Tobacco wants social media influencers to promote its products – can the platforms stop it? TY Lim/Shutterstock Big Tobacco likes to stay ahead of the curve – it has to in order to survive. Its fundamental problem is that one in two of its long-term users die from tobacco-related diseases. To hook a new generation into addiction, it has to try every advertising and marketing trick in its playbook. And it has to be innovative. As one ex-marketing consultant remarked: “The problem is how do you sell death?” He said the industry did it with great open spaces, such as mountains and lakes. They did it with healthy young people and iconic images. So the Marlboro Man became a symbol of masculinity and, for women, the industry promoted smoking…

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Mosquito bites: widely available skin cream found to prevent the spread of deadly viruses – new research

Mosquito bites: widely available skin cream found to prevent the spread of deadly viruses – new research Researchers discovered a cream could stop the spread of deadly viruses from mosquitoes. frank60/ Shutterstock Rising temperatures, increased global travel and trade, and urbanisation are just some of the factors behind the supercharged spread of mosquito-borne viruses worldwide. Not only was last year the worst on record for severe outbreaks of dengue fever in Asia and South America, southern Europe even had an unprecedented outbreak of West Nile Virus in 2018. And, in 2016, an explosive outbreak of the Zika virus spread throughout South and Central America. Remarkably, despite the enormous global health burden of viruses spread by mosquitoes – which cause hundreds of millions of infections and thousands of deaths each year…

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How five short intentions can help people recovering from depression stay on track

How five short intentions can help people recovering from depression stay on track Jacob_09/Shutterstock About one in six people in England report experiencing anxiety or depression in any given week, and depression is a major cause of disability worldwide. Some people have experienced very adverse experiences over their lives, leading to low self-esteem and other vulnerabilities which can make people susceptible to depression. Difficult life circumstances, such as financial problems, loneliness, stresses at work, among family or in relationships, poor physical health and genetic vulnerabilities also contribute. Even long-term depression can be treated, but the lifetime risk that the depression returns has been reported as about 50% for those experiencing one episode of major depression, with the likelihood increasing with further episodes. Greater numbers of people experiencing mental health problems,…

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Autism: stem cell clinics are offering treatments despite lack of evidence it works

Autism: stem cell clinics are offering treatments despite lack of evidence it works ZouZou The outlook for autistic people today is brighter than it was 50 years ago with many people now living in the community, rather than in institutions. But most low-functioning autistic people are not able to live independently in adulthood, putting them and their families under considerable social and financial pressure. So it’s hardly surprising that some parents of autistic children are keen to find a treatment for the condition. According to a recent BBC Radio 4 report, stem cell clinics in the UK are now offering one. Before we look at the viability of such a “treatment”, it is worth knowing a bit about stem cells. Stem cells are special cells that can develop into many…

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The real reason women live longer than men – new study

The real reason women live longer than men – new study Jekatarinka/Shutterstock Ask your smartphone how to drive from Copenhagen to Berlin and it will give you an estimate of how long the trip will take, based on current traffic. If there is a traffic jam in Hamburg, say, the extra time this traffic jam takes will be included in the estimate. But, of course, you are not at all the points of your journey now. Rather, you’ll be in Copenhagen first, then at Odense, then Kolding, and so forth. By the time you get to Hamburg, there may no longer be a traffic jam. The estimate your smartphone gave you will be off. Life expectancy is calculated in much the same way. Life expectancy in 2019 is calculated using…

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