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"World Health Minute" 10 July, 2017

News Highlights
276,000 potential cholera cases in Yemen, WHO reports The death toll continues to rise in Yemen, where a cholera outbreak has been spreading for months, according to the World Health Organization. There have been 275,987 suspected cholera cases and 1,634 deaths from the illness between April 27 and July 5. Children under the age of 15 make up 41% of these cases, and people older than 60 account for 33% of the deaths
WHO warns of imminent spread of untreatable superbug gonorrhoea At least three people worldwide are infected with totally untreatable "superbug" strains of gonorrhoea which they are likely to be spreading to others through sex, the World Health Organization said. Giving details of studies showing a "very serious situation" with regard to highly drug-resistant forms of the disease, WHO experts said it was "only a matter of time" before last-resort gonorrhoea antibiotics would be of no use. "Gonorrhoea is a very smart bug," said Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at the WHO. "Every time you introduce a new type of antibiotic to treat it, this bug develops resistance to it"
Here’s What’s Causing India’s ‘Superbug’ Problem A 2016 study examined the evolution of resistant microbes in India and found that the over-prescribing and unregulated use of antibiotics, antibiotic use in agriculture and for livestock, and a lack of regulation of the discharge of antimicrobial waste into the environment all contribute to the superbug problem. In 2010 India consumed more antibiotics for human health per person than any other country. What’s more, the nation’s intake spiked by 62 percent from 2001 to 2010. There’s also conflict of interest: one study found doctors are compensated by pharmaceutical companies and pharmacists for prescribing antibiotics
No vaccine shield against Michigan strain Though two cases of swine flu in Hyderabad have already tested positive for the mutated Michigan strain of the virus, the state health authorities do not have a single vial of the new vaccine required to fight the mutated virus. Of the 1,490 H1N1 positive cases detected in 2017, 20 were detected in the last month alone. This year there was an unusually high number of cases detected during the summer months, which raised suspicions about the virus having undergone mutation and spread across the southern state
Personalized vaccines hold cancer at bay in two early trials A novel class of personalized cancer vaccines, tailored to the tumours of individual patients, kept disease in check in two early-stage clinical trials, pointing to a new way to help the immune system fight back. Although so-called immunotherapy drugs from the likes of Merck and Co, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche are starting to revolutionize cancer care, they still only work for a limited number of patients. By adding a personalized cancer vaccine, scientists believe it should be possible to improve substantially the effectiveness of such immune-boosting medicines
Preparedness, surveillance and response
276,000 potential cholera cases in Yemen, WHO reports
The death toll continues to rise in Yemen, where a cholera outbreak has been spreading for months, according to the World Health Organization. There have been 275,987 suspected cholera cases and 1,634 deaths from the illness between April 27 and July 5. Children under the age of 15 make up 41% of these cases, and people older than 60 account for 33% of the deaths
These are the appalling conditions that caused the cholera outbreak in Yemen – I should know, I live here
UN: Cholera outbreak in Yemen has spread and over 1,600 dead
Sri Lanka`s Worst-Ever Dengue Outbreak Kills 225
Sri Lanka is suffering its worst-ever dengue outbreak, with the virus killing 225 people and infecting more than 76,000 this year. The number of infections nationwide is already 38% higher than last year, according to the Health Ministry. The highest number of cases is in the region around Colombo, though cases were being reported across the nation
H1N1 cases in the state cross 1,000 mark
Thiruvananthapuram: Along with dengue threat, H1N1 cases have also been steadily increasing in the state. The number of H1N1 cases has crossed the 1,000-mark in the state in seven months claiming 63 lives. Experts say H1N1 has become rampant but remains under-documented
The rise of antibiotic-resistant infections threaten economies
Each day an estimated 1,900 people around the world die from infections that are resistant to antibiotics: that is 700,000 people every year. However, this number could rise to 10m lives a year being lost by the middle of the century, according to the UK’s 2016 Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) — more than the number of people who will die of cancer this year. The report estimated that annual global GDP could be reduced by between 2 per cent and 3.5 per cent by 2050 if nothing is done
Scientists link household products and antibiotic resistance
Researchers have discovered a connection between a major mechanism of antibiotic resistance and the disinfectant triclosan, which is often found in domestic products such as toothpaste and make-up. The study, which was carried out at the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with The Quadram Institute and John Innes Centre based at Norwich Research Park, was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Haiti could stem cholera epidemic by end 2018: health officials
Haiti could stem its seven-year-long cholera epidemic by the end of 2018 as the number of reported cases has dropped sharply, government and United Nations officials said. The health ministry said Haiti has had about 7,400 suspected new cholera cases since the start of the year, compared with almost 20,200 at the same point last year. "We have never seen so few cases," Donald Francois, head of the health ministry`s national cholera program said. "With the cases we`ve seen we think we can eliminate cholera by the end of 2018"
WHO warns of imminent spread of untreatable superbug gonorrhoea
At least three people worldwide are infected with totally untreatable "superbug" strains of gonorrhoea which they are likely to be spreading to others through sex, the World Health Organization said. Giving details of studies showing a "very serious situation" with regard to highly drug-resistant forms of the disease, WHO experts said it was "only a matter of time" before last-resort gonorrhoea antibiotics would be of no use. "Gonorrhoea is a very smart bug," said Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at the WHO. "Every time you introduce a new type of antibiotic to treat it, this bug develops resistance to it"
Antibiotic resistance making gonorrhoea ‘sometimes impossible’ to treat – UN health agency
Here’s What’s Causing India’s ‘Superbug’ Problem
A 2016 study examined the evolution of resistant microbes in India and found that the over-prescribing and unregulated use of antibiotics, antibiotic use in agriculture and for livestock, and a lack of regulation of the discharge of antimicrobial waste into the environment all contribute to the superbug problem. In 2010 India consumed more antibiotics for human health per person than any other country. What’s more, the nation’s intake spiked by 62 percent from 2001 to 2010. There’s also conflict of interest: one study found doctors are compensated by pharmaceutical companies and pharmacists for prescribing antibiotics
Outbreak of hantavirus infections kills three in Washington state
Five people have been stricken with the rare, rodent-borne hantavirus illness in Washington state since February, three of whom have died, in the state`s worst outbreak of the disease in at least 18 years, public health officials reported. The three fatal cases also mark the highest death toll from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in Washington state during a single year since the respiratory ailment was first identified in the "Four Corners" region of the U.S. Southwest in 1993
Ebola outbreak in DRC is over, WHO says
The World Health Organization declared an end to the most recent outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, marking the latest key milestone in the fight against the deadly disease. The announcement comes 42 days, or the equivalent of two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus, after the last confirmed patient in the affected Bas-Uele province tested negative for Ebola
This map shows how severe India’s swine flu outbreak is this year
One out of every 25 Indians who contracted H1N1 infections this year has died, according to data from the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme. India is witnessing a surge in swine flu cases this year with 11,752 people testing positive for H1N1 infections. Doctors have said that the burden of the disease might be even higher than the surveillance programme estimates since not all patients with symptoms of H1N1 submit to being tested
Thailand - Phichit province confirms 11 Zika virus cases
Eleven people in Phichit’s Bung Na Rang district have been confirmed as being infected with the Zika virus while another 16 are believed to have been infected and 33 people who were in close contact are being tested and monitored, officials said. Dr Darin Areechokchai, an expert at the Department of Diseases Control’s Bureau of Epidemiology, said that since this January, Thailand reported 81 Zika patients, four of whom were pregnant women, in 16 provinces
48 malaria, 84 dengue cases in Udupi in June - Mangaluru
Deputy Commissioner G. Anuradha said that effective steps needed to be taken to check the spread of malaria in Udupi district. She was chairing a district-level Malaria Coordination Committee meeting. District Health and Family Welfare Officer Rohini told the meeting that 48 cases of malaria were recorded in the district in June, while 84 cases of dengue were recorded in the district during the same period
Swine flu evolves, Mumbai worried
With 313 new swine flu cases reported in June, Mumbai has now joined the ranks of cities such as Pune and Nashik, who have been waging a battle against the viral infection since January 2017. “Swine flu is no longer confined to the known high-risk group of diabetics, pregnant women, children and the elderly,” says Dr Om Srivastava, an infectious diseases expert. “There’s a change in the pattern of symptoms, too,” he says. “In many recent cases, the lungs are not affected at all, or are the last to be affected. The patient deteriorates quickly after that,” he adds
Bolivia – Health department reports a higher number of H3N2 flu cases than expected
The Bolivian Health Ministry reported 2,695 cases of suspected flu, of which 660 were confirmed to be H3N2; 61, H1N1 and 129 of Type B
No vaccine shield against Michigan strain
Though two cases of swine flu in Hyderabad have already tested positive for the mutated Michigan strain of the virus, the state health authorities do not have a single vial of the new vaccine required to fight the mutated virus. Of the 1,490 H1N1 positive cases detected in 2017, 20 were detected in the last month alone. This year there was an unusually high number of cases detected during the summer months, which raised suspicions about the virus having undergone mutation and spread across the southern state
Cholera cases up 10,000 as tons of medical supplies arrive
Since the beginning of the second wave of the cholera outbreak in Yemen (from 27 April to 2 July 2017), 262,650 suspected cholera cases, and 1,587 deaths have been reported in 21 of the country’s 23 governorates, and in 86% of the districts. The World Health Organization reported on a 403-ton shipment of medical supplies that arrived in Hodeida, Yemen recently
Whooping cough outbreak in southern Alberta grows to 92 cases
The whooping cough outbreak in southern Alberta continues to grow, with 92 cases now confirmed, according to Alberta Health Services. Medical officer of health Dr. Karin Goodison said the increase is to be expected given the low level of immunization against whooping cough
Cholera update: Nine die in West Darfur camp
Nine people died of cholera in Murnei camp in West Darfur this week. Three people died in Kabkabiya on Wednesday. In Murnei, nine displaced people died, and at least seventeen others were infected with cholera, the head of the camp reported. One person died of cholera and four others were infected at Khazan Jadeed area in Shearia, East Darfur, on Wednesday. Omda Jaafar told Radio Dabanga that the medical isolation centre has seen eight patients die from cholera since the disease broke out in the area on 6 June. He said that so far there had been 102 cases of cholera
Fresh Lassa fever outbreak kills FGGC student in Plateau
A student of Federal Government Girls College, FGGC, Langtang in Plateau State has been confirmed dead as a result of a fresh outbreak of Lassa fever, the State Commissioner for Health, Kuden Kamshak confirmed
Dengue: 130 confirmed cases in Côte d’ivoire
Appearing two months ago in Ivory Coast, the dengue virus is gaining ground. According to the Pasteur Institute, the number of patients affected by dengue virus in Côte d’Ivoire currently stands at 130. Two deaths have also been identified by the National Institute of Public Hygiene even if Dr. Daouda Coulibaly, the head of the department of epidemiological surveillance, calls for caution in stating that the cause and effect relationship with the dengue fever has not yet been established
Health systems
`Stem-cell tourism` needs tighter controls, say medical experts
Stem-cell tourism involving patients who travel to developing countries for treatment with unproven and potentially risky therapies should be more tightly regulated, international health experts said. With hundreds of medical centers around the world claiming to be able to repair damaged tissue in conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson`s disease, tackling unscrupulous advertising of such procedures is crucial
Proper tools may help prevent medicine errors at home
Providing parents with picture-based instructions - and with dosing tools that closely match the amount of medication needed - may help reduce cases of medication overdoses in children, researchers say. Poorly designed medication labels and dosing tools lead to dosing errors, especially when parents are given large cups for small doses, the study team writes
The poison in your cabinet: Kenya’s fake drugs scourge
Criminals are smuggling all manner of medicine, most of it fake, into Kenya, putting millions of people at a huge risk of poisoning. The global health entity estimates that about 100,000 deaths a year in Africa are linked to the counterfeit drug trade. The International Policy Network estimates that, globally, 700,000 deaths a year are caused by fake malaria and tuberculosis drugs
Restrictions on sale of swine flu drugs lifted partially
The India Food and Drug Administration has sent out a circular alerting chemists that antiviral drugs Oseltamivir and Zanamivir have been withdrawn from Schedule X and moved to the far less stringent Schedule H1. Available under several brand names, both drugs are prescribed to H1N1 patients
Floodwater recedes, diseases spread
With floodwater receding in Sylhet and Moulvibazar, Bangladesh, waterborne diseases are spreading in the flood-hit areas as there is hardly any medical care for a large number of affected people. People there are suffering from waterborne diseases like typhoid fever, dysentery, diarrhoea and skin infections. Many complained about not receiving any medical attention and relief aid
Nigeria accounts for 2nd highest HIV/AIDS burden worldwide – NEPWAN
The Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria says Nigeria accounts for second highest HIV/AIDS burden worldwide after South Africa. Nigerians that died due to the disease would not have died if the government had taken up ownership of the fight by ensuring availability and access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and support programme. The country’s HIV response was largely donor driven with about 93 per cent of HIV funding sourced from external sources, however, Nigeria only contributed seven per cent of the funding
Fanning the Flames of the AIDS Crisis in the U.S. South
Mississippi’s State Department of Health will no longer offer HIV screenings for free. Effective July 1, the Health Department began charging a $25 fee for all sexually transmitted diseases and HIV tests and lab work at all of its clinics. This decision is fuelling an already raging fire, as the U.S. South is home to 44 percent of all people living with HIV/AIDS in the country and is home to some of the highest pockets of poverty in the USA
Communicable diseases
New Cornell discovery could lead to effective treatment for tuberculosis
The mechanisms of how Mtb bacteria assimilate the host`s fatty acids have remained a mystery until now. Using a genetic screen, scientists identified genes involved in cholesterol metabolism. This identified the gene LucA. Further work determined that LucA interacts with subunits of specific proteins in the Mce1 and Mce4 complexes, which import fatty acids and cholesterol, respectively
Undersea life holds promise for killing tuberculosis
The UCF team screened 4,400 chemical extracts derived from extracts of sponges and other marine organisms to see if they could kill the dormant tuberculosis bacteria. "To our knowledge this is the largest marine natural product screening on TB and the only one that focused on dormant bacteria," the team said. The team identified 26 compounds that were active against replicating tuberculosis bacteria, 19 killed dormant bacteria including seven that were active against both
New report reveals that countries are still not tackling tuberculosis
The third edition `Out of Step’ report published by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Stop TB has highlighted the need for governments to increase efforts to combat tuberculosis. India has not taken up this challenge and the molecular test is not the initial TB diagnostic test for adults and children being investigated for TB here, the Out of Step report has said. Smear microscopy is often used as the initial diagnostic test in the private sector, where up to 70% of people are treated - and delays in diagnosis and treatment initiation are common
Tuberculosis: New report highlights need to better tackle world’s deadliest infectious disease
WHO`s Recommended Treatment To Tackle Tuberculosis Not Yet Implemented
India may be sitting on the edge of yet another tuberculosis epidemic. India accounts for 2.8 million of the 10.4 million new tuberculosis cases globally, according to the World Health Organisation Global TB Report 2016. WHO revised its estimates in 2016 after improved surveillance data from India and found a 34% spike in new cases. Amongst this the cases for Multi Drug Resistant TB have also risen
Nigeria adopts shorter treatment for drug-resistant Tuberculosis
Nigeria has adopted a new regimen that reduces the time required for the treatment of multi-drug-resistant TB from 20 months to about nine months.The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, flagged off the regimen when he commissioned the first extensive drug-resistant Tuberculosis ward and fully-equipped MDR ward at the University College Hospital, UCH, in Ibadan, Oyo State
Nigeria reduces Time for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Treatment
Who proposes to change the composition of influenza vaccines
Existing vaccines are not the same antigenic properties of influenza viruses type A and B. The WHO recommends to completely change the composition of influenza vaccines for the Northern hemisphere. This decision is due to antigenic mismatch of vaccines and the viruses that cause epidemic
New DNA vaccine shown to induce immune response against one of four Dengue virus serotypes
A new DNA vaccine candidate was shown to induce persistent humoral and cellular immune responses and provided protection from the DV1 dengue virus serotype among inoculated mice, according to a recent study conducted by Capital Medical University in Beijing and the Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders
One step closer to a DNA vaccine against dengue virus
Central labs moot ‘human first’ approach to test malaria vaccine
What if a potential vaccine for malaria was to be first tested in humans before mice and animals? This November, experts at the Indian Council of Medical Research and labs affiliated to the Department of Biotechnology will have a first-of-its kind “ethics meeting” to discuss the feasibility of conducting these so-called ‘human challenge’ trials in India. The meeting will also discuss testing two vaccine-candidates — one that causes falciparum malaria and the milder-but-more-prevalent vivax — developed at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
New method to fight malaria found by scientists
Scientists have discovered a new way to slow down malaria infections, providing a possible new target for antimalarial drugs. The team are already working with pharmaceutical companies to use this knowledge to develop new anti-malarials -- an important step in the battle against drug resistant malaria
Map drawn to predict next virus jump from mammals
A study has suggested that scientists could predict where on the planet the next virus could jump from animals to humans, thus providing data that will help in early warning systems and disease surveillance efforts. The study helps build a roadmap of where to prioritise disease surveillance efforts around the world to better stop viruses from having a large impact. In the study, the scientists have mapped out the ‘missing zoonoses’ giving geographic hotspots as eastern, central and southern Africa, South and Central America as well as parts of Asia
Non communicable diseases
SGLT2 inhibitors help reduce high blood pressure, study reports
A group of oral medications given to people with type 2 diabetes have been found to help reduce high blood pressure. A research team from China, South Africa and Iran looked at 43 random trials which had involved 22,428 people. As well as high blood pressure, they examined how SGLT2 inhibitors affected health markers including cholesterol and triglycerides. SGLT2 inhibitor therapy was shown to significantly reduce blood pressure throughout the studies
Personalized vaccines hold cancer at bay in two early trials
A novel class of personalized cancer vaccines, tailored to the tumours of individual patients, kept disease in check in two early-stage clinical trials, pointing to a new way to help the immune system fight back. Although so-called immunotherapy drugs from the likes of Merck and Co, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche are starting to revolutionize cancer care, they still only work for a limited number of patients. By adding a personalized cancer vaccine, scientists believe it should be possible to improve substantially the effectiveness of such immune-boosting medicines
Researchers discover atomic structure of suspect Alzheimer proteins
Scientists have for the first time revealed the atomic structure of the tau protein filaments that tangle in the brains of Alzheimer`s patients and say it should point the way towards developing new treatments for the disease. Using a technique known as cryo-electron microscopy, a team from Britain`s Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology mapped in fine detail the tau filaments extracted from the brain of a patient who had died with Alzheimer`s
France to become one of priciest countries in Europe for smokers
France will raise the price of cigarettes to 10 euros (£8.8) a pack within three years, the health minister said, confirming a strategy that will push tobacco costs to among the highest in Europe. At present, a packet of 20 cigarettes costs roughly 7 euros in France, well below the roughly 10 euros charged in Britain and Ireland. "France is one of the slowest learners in the world on smoking," the minister, Agnes Buzyn, said. "Big price rises will be needed to have an impact on public health"
Nanoparticle delivery tech targets rare lung disease
Researchers at London, UK-based Imperial College are developing a technology to transport drugs directly to the lungs of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) patients. The technology consists of ethanol-heated iron and trans-trans muconic acid nanoparticles that can be small drug actives. These particles can be delivered directly to the site of the disease, according to researchers, who said the approach bypassed the toxicity issues that have held back development of less targeted, systemic nanomedicines
Nano-sized drug carriers could be the future for patients with lung disease
Dutch bank bans loans to tobacco industry on health grounds
The decision by ABN Amro, which has six millions customers worldwide, is the first by a major bank in The Netherlands. The bank’s decision came as it announced a new partnership with the National Heart Foundation in the fight against smoking, which kills some 20,000 people every year in the country of 17 million. The move also stops any new investment in the tobacco industry
Sleep apnea linked to worsening diabetic eye disease
People with both sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes have more than double the risk of worsening retina disease compared to diabetics without the sleep breathing disorder, a UK study suggests. "Patients with type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are at increased risk of developing advanced retinopathy and also are at increased risk of greater decline in kidney function, as we found in a previous publication,” senior study author Dr. Abd A. Tahrani from University of Birmingham said
Resistance exercise may help stave off heart, diabetes risks
Middle aged adults who do even a small amount of regular strength training exercise may be lowering their risk of so-called metabolic syndrome - itself a risk factor for both heart disease and diabetes, a recent study suggests. People with at least three unfavourable health stats from a list that includes large waist size, high blood pressure or triglycerides, high blood sugar or low “good” cholesterol are said to have metabolic syndrome, and are at increased risk of going on to develop diabetes, heart disease or both
Robot wars: knee surgery marks new battleground for companies
The world`s top medical technology companies are turning to robots to help with complex knee surgery, promising quicker procedures and better results in operations that often leave patients dissatisfied. Demand for artificial replacement joints is growing fast, as baby boomers` knees and hips wear out, but for the past 15 years rival firms have failed to deliver a technological advance to gain them significant market share. Now Stryker and Smith & Nephew believe that is about to change, as robots give them an edge, with less trauma to patients and faster recovery, although they still need to prove themselves in definitive clinical studies
European scientists develop new handheld scanner for early-stage heart disease diagnosis
With worldwide cardiovascular deaths at an all-time high, European scientists have developed a new handheld scanner that can read your heart`s vital signs like a supermarket barcode reader can scan items at the checkout, allowing a GP to diagnose even preclinical patients for the early onset of a disease. Employing `Laser Doppler Vibrometry`, a technique using photonics technology, the device can pick up vital information about the status of the heart using light, in a fast and inexpensive way
Researchers Developing Handheld Laser Scanner for Early Diagnosis of Heart
Scottish study strengthens link between high BMI, cardiometabolic disease risk
New research adds to existing evidence that there’s an association between high body mass index and an increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases like hypertension, coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The study, published in JAMA Cardiology, was randomized using the mendelian method. Results showed that when adjusted for age, sex, alcohol intake and smoking history, higher BMI was linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, as well as increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure
Promoting health through the life course
In the U.S., infant mortality gap costs the lives of about 4,000 black babies each year
If black infants born in the United States had all of the health and medical benefits enjoyed by white infants, nearly 4,000 fewer of them would die each year, new research suggests. That would amount to a nearly 60% decrease in the number of black infants that die each year. Instead, black babies are nearly 2.5 times more likely than white babies to die during their first year of life
UNICEF: 10 million Yemeni children need urgent help
Most children in Yemen lack medical care, adequate nutrition, fresh water, sanitation and education, UN body says. Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, said at a news conference that aid groups in Yemen have pulled resources from the fight against malnutrition to battle the cholera outbreak in the country, raising risk of famine as they struggle to find funds. "We`re trying to do our best, but it`s very much beyond what we can cope with," he said
Haryana looks at zero diarrhoea childhood deaths
According to National Family Health Survey-IV, at least 10 per cent of children below the age of five years in Haryana die of diarrhoea. The health officials noticed that the problem was more prevalent among underserved population, without access to clean drinking water and those who lived in unhygienic condition were found to be more vulnerable. For children under the age of five years, around 7.7 per cent of the children across state suffered from diarrhoea
France to make vaccination mandatory from 2018 as it is `unacceptable children are still dying of measles`
Parents in France will be legally obliged to vaccinate their children from 2018, the government has announced. French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said it was “unacceptable” that children are "still dying of measles” in the country where some of the earliest vaccines were pioneered. Three childhood vaccines, for diphtheria, tetanus and polio, are currently mandatory in France. Others, including those against hepatitis and whooping cough, are simply recommended
Child Health: Vaccinations For 11 Diseases Mandatory in France Starting in 2018
Drinking during pregnancy may affect several generations, UC Riverside study finds
New research from UC Riverside has found that drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause brain changes in offspring that may be passed all the way down to great-grandchildren. Neuroscientist and psychology professor Kelly Huffman’s most recent work built on her 2013 study in mice that showed exposing a foetus to alcohol changes the brain’s wiring. It further bolsters the conclusion that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, Huffman said
Property rights campaign for women takes aim at patriarchy in South Asia
Across India, only 13 percent of farmland is owned by women. Activists have launched a campaign in South Asia to appeal to men to stand up for the property rights of their daughters, wives and sisters and ask women to demand their share as a way to curb violence against women in the region. Property for Her was launched on social media this week, with messages on Twitter and Facebook, as well as a petition on change.org. The petition asks parents to promise to leave their daughter an equal share of property, and brothers to stand with their sisters in ensuring her rights
With colour-coded warnings, Indian city gets serious about dirty air
Ahmedabad, in the western state of Gujarat, has among the worst air pollution in India. But it is the first to install an air monitoring and warning system. The Air Information and Response (AIR) plan, launched in May, involves the creation of an air quality index that measures daily pollution levels in eight locations. Giant LED screens display five colour-coded alerts of the levels, and their related effects. An early warning system also alerts people to days when pollution is likely to reach the "very poor" or "severe" level
International NGOs` China operations hit by registration delays under new law
Some international NGOs in China are suspending operations, cancelling events and losing partnerships in the country six months after the government introduced a law requiring them to register with the police. To register, the groups must first approach a government ministry from a provided list and ask it to become a "supervisory body" that will vet financial and operational details of the NGO`s work before filing them with the Ministry of Public Security. Most of the dozen NGOs approached by Reuters say the law has been a bureaucratic nightmare and appears to be aimed at making it more difficult for them to operate in China
Hunger rife among Rohingya children after Myanmar crackdown -WFP
More than 80,000 young children may need treatment for malnutrition in part of western Myanmar where the army cracked down on stateless Rohingya Muslims last year, the World Food Programme said. In the first detailed on-the-ground assessment of the community affected by the violence since October, the WFP interviewed 450 families in 45 villages in Maungdaw district in March and April. "The survey confirmed a worsening of the food security situation in already highly vulnerable areas (since October)," the agency said. About a third of those surveyed reported "extreme ...food insecurity" such as going a day and night without eating
World hunger on the rise again due to conflict and climate - U.N.
The number of hungry people in the world is rising again after years of decline, as millions suffer from the combined effects of conflict and climate change, the head of the U.N. food agency said. "Preliminary data available for this year indicates that the number of undernourished people in the world has (started to) rise again," said Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Graziano da Silva said this year`s setback in the fight against hunger hardly came as a surprise, with almost 20 million people facing starvation because of fighting and drought in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen