Global Health

Shots - Health Blog
5:10 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Global Smoking Survey Paints A Grim Picture

A man smokes a bidi on "No Tobacco Day," May 31, in Allahabad, India. These small, hand-rolled cigarettes are popular in India and Bangladesh because they are far cheaper than regular cigarettes.
Rajesh Kumar AP

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 3:33 pm

Today we have a fresh look at smoking rates around the world, and the news isn't good.

A survey covering 60 percent of the world's population shows high rates of tobacco use in some countries, with more than 50 percent of men in Russia, China and Ukraine smoking between 2008 and 2010.

Although the statistics for women are better — only 11 percent of woman reported using tobacco — the number of people quitting is shockingly low, dropping below 20 percent in China and India.

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Global Health
4:30 am
Wed July 25, 2012

Why 'the Berlin Patient' is NOT heralding the end of AIDS

In this photo taken May 16, 2011, Timothy Brown, the only man ever known to have been cured from AIDS, poses with his dog, Jack, on Treasure Island in San Francisco. Brown has been called "the Berlin patient" because that's where he was treated.
The Associated Press

Even though the AIDS epidemic is still spreading, the disease is not killing as many people as it used to, because of new drugs. And that's emboldened many leading AIDS researchers and policymakers to talk about ending the epidemic in the next few years.

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Humanosphere
2:28 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

AIDS 2012: Bill Gates skeptical of ending AIDS anytime soon

Bill Gates, World Bank President Jim Kim, AIDS ambassador Eric Goosby and others speak at AIDS 2012.
Tom Paulson Humanosphere

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The International AIDS Conference, a mega-meeting of more than 20,000 people, has opened here to fanfare, protests, calls to action and (overly?) ambitious proclamations aimed at fighting complacency.

The world’s biggest AIDS conference has returned to the U.S. – to a city with HIV infection rates comparable to some African nations – after 22 years of ‘separation’ due to our government’s ban against HIV-infected visitors. The Obama Administration repealed the travel ban in 2010.

It appears to be a critical moment for the global response to AIDS. The theme of AIDS 2012 is “Turning the Tide Together."

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
9:28 am
Thu July 19, 2012

'Three Cups' charity expands board in settlement

HELENA, Mont. — The charity co-founded by Greg Mortenson has named seven new board members as part of a settlement over accusations the "Three Cups of Tea" author mismanaged the organization that builds schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Central Asia Institute announced Thursday that the new board members were named during a meeting in San Francisco last week. They include philanthropists, academics, businessmen and an attorney.

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Global Health
7:30 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Northwest runner aims to leverage Olympic platform to help South Sudan

Lopez Lomong will compete in the 5000 meter race at the Summer Olympics in London. Photo by Tom Banse

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 8:30 pm

Athletes going to the London Olympics commonly have stories of overcoming adversity. But few can top African-born distance runner Lopez Lomong. The one time "Lost Boy" of Sudan relocated to the Portland area last year. He's running for Team USA, but hopes to leverage Olympic success into greater aid and attention for his former homeland.

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Humanosphere
2:58 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

The Seattle science that led to FDA approval of HIV-prevention drug

Gilead Sciences manufactures Truvada, the drug approved for preventing HIV.
GILEAD

The FDA today approved the first drug, known as Truvada, for preventing HIV in people at high risk of infection due to ‘discordance’ – science lingo for being HIV negative but having a sex partner who is HIV positive.

Seattle scientists played a critical role in demonstrating the drug’s effectiveness in Kenya and Uganda studies.

Read more on Humanosphere.

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The Gates Foundation
12:05 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Exploring the Gates Foundation's connection to the Glaxo scandal

The former head of global health for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation worked for Glaxo during some of its troubled times.
The Associated Press

In a "landmark" legal case, the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline pled guilty last week to engaging in fraudulent, criminal behavior which included covering up adverse drug side-effects, promoting ineffective therapies and hiding unfavorable data — and will pay a record $3 billion in fines.

An aspect of the story that seems to be underreported is that one high-profile Glaxo executive alleged to have engaged in misbehavior is Tachi Yamada, former head of global health for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who was before that head of research and development for GSK.

Read more on Humanosphere.

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Humanosphere
1:50 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

'ChangeMaker' uses business enterprise to promote public health

Erin Larsen-Cooper, 29, is a program associate withVillageReach, and a graduate of the University of Washington and Western Washington University.

By Lisa Stiffler, Humanosphere correspondent

In wealthy countries, it’s no problem for an organization to provide a single, narrowly defined service. In a poor community, it won’t always work to focus on singular goal, ignoring the existing challenges that can doom even the most well-intentioned projects.

Enter Erin Larsen-Cooper, a recent graduate of the University of Washington. She's hopeful that programs that are more holistic, that work with existing health programs and employ members of the community that they’re aiming to help, will get us closer to solving some of the problems in global health and poverty.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
1:51 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

Rio+20: Will it help save the planet or just be another useless meeting?

Earth's population, as demonstrated by this image, certainly needs something to come out of this global meeting.
Michael Free Jazz Faster Flickr

The threats to our well-being (well beyond climate change now) are quite real. The goals of Rio+20 – to arrive at consensus on what’s needed to avoid continuing this massive fouling of our nest – are perhaps more important to our future than any other meeting we could hope to hold.

So you’d think there would be some urgency to achieve something. Don’t hold your breath.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Shots - Health Blog
11:13 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Know The Enemy: Scientists Use Genetics To Get Ahead Of Malaria

A micrograph shows red blood cells infected by the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
John C. Tan AP

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 11:20 am

Like the proverbial mosquito that buzzes in your ear but won't die, a lasting solution to malaria has been maddeningly elusive to health experts.

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Humanosphere
5:37 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

Can spiders fight malaria? UW students think so

Univeristy of Washington student propose using native African spiders to prey on mosquitoes who transmit malaria.

By Cyan James, Humanosphere correspondent

A fresh crop of Changemakers has been identified by the Washington Global Health Alliance’s Be the Change student competition. Among the three first place winners was a group of UW students who want to enlist a spider to fight malaria ...

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
1:30 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

How a passing comment on an old medical test won a $100K grant

Gates Grand Challenges award winner Kathleen Bongiovanni demonstrates how a simple idea may save the lives of millions of premature babies.
Tom Paulson KPLU

Earlier this week, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the latest 100 winners of $100,000 grants from its Grand Challenges Exploration program aimed at supporting high-risk, creative approaches to improving health and fighting poverty in poor countries.

Celebrated for funding “wild” and “wacky” ideas, this year’s batch of Gates Grand Challenge winners included proposals to develop, as the AP reported, unmanned drones to deliver vaccines, tattoos for monitoring pregnancy and a “tuberculosis breathalyzer.”

Read more on Humanosphere.org

Humanosphere
1:40 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Can organic farming feed Africa?

“This is not an argument that organic can or cannot feed the world,” said John Reganold, regents professor of Soil Science and Agroecology at Washington State University in Pullman. “No one system can feed the world.”
CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture

By Lisa Stiffler, special correspondent

When you consider that one in seven people worldwide will go to bed tonight hungry, it does seem fair to ask: Can organic deliver the goods for the developing world?

New research says yes – but not everywhere and not for everything.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
1:10 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Prof. says Africa can feed itself, and the world, through science

Calestous Juma, center, jokes with one of his leading critics, Phil Bereano, at left
Tom Paulson Humanosphere

The Harvard University professor of international development is author of “The New Harvest,” a book (free online) in which he makes his case for how agricultural reforms offer the most promise for positively transforming African economies.

Juma, though entertaining, doesn’t mince words — “Africa is already doing organic farming … and it isn’t working very well.” He describes himself as a bit of ‘techno-optimist,’ a believer like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the fundamental power of science and technology to transform agriculture in poor countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
4:30 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Smallpox eradicator, Medal of Freedom winner - Bill Foege talks with KPLU

Bill Foege discusses his address to the 3rd plenary session of the 53rd World Health Organization's General Assembly in 2000.
The Associated Press

One of the northwest’s best kept secrets is a person. He’s Bill Foege, a physician and Northwest native, who recently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  

Foege went to Nigeria and figured out how to eradicate smallpox – the only human disease ever wiped off the planet. He also ran the nation’s top public health agency, the CDC. More recently, he helped shape the mission of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Tom Paulson, of KPLU's Humanosphere blog, sat down with Bill Foege at his Vashon home to learn more about why people from Seattle are such a force globally. Click the listen button above to hear the interview.

Read Tom Paulson's first-person take on Bill Foege's life and work on Humanosphere.

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