Thursday, February 19, 2009

Health Notes - Breakthroughs & Threats

From time-to-time, The Author posts a note about health-related issues. Some of these developments have come in the last few months, and are just now making it to the pages of Pop Impulse.

The BBC reports on a breakthrough discovery in Cancer research that provides new and substantial insight into the way that cells protect themselves from tumors, and the mechanisms that turn-off and turn-on that protection. Just the kind of breakthrough that will drive new diagnostic and treatment options for Cancer patients.

The Guardian reports on a simple, 2-minute checklist that cuts surgery deaths by a whopping 40 percent. That's right. Now getting surgical teams to implement the checklist is another subject and could take years in spite of the hefty payoff.

News of a first-generation Malaria vaccine from Glaxo has raised some excitement and expectation levels, even though it only promises a 40-to-50 percent reduction in cases. Malaria is a significant global challenge that takes countless lives annually. The disease places heavy burdens on families, communities and regions around the world.

Last week, evidence emerged that the many victims of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic actually died from Strep infections and not the flu. After seeing pictures of thousands of flu patients crammed in public facilities like courthouses and train stations with no visible running water or sanitation present, it is easy to image that a virulent version of Streptococcus could spread through the weakened population like wildfire. For all the attention the the Avian Flu, H5N1, Ebola and Marburg viruses get, The Author has always worried that the real threat comes from drug resistant versions of the "big three:" Strep, Staph and M. tuberculosis.

Finally, the Los Angeles Times puts mutant bugs and hospital-borne infections in frightening perspective, reporting that superbugs have become a significant problem. This is an alarming article. A must-read for all who stay informed on public health issues.

Technorati Tags: Health, Cancer, Flu

1 comment:

npro said...

Nice. I love meta analysis. However I'm not convinced we should switch from AFlu eo your big 3. From what I've read in 1918 most did have aflu so the role of secon/opportn diseases are important but cert no whole picture,