Global Health

Humanosphere
10:56 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Infectious hope: When getting malaria makes sense

Now in its 36th year, Seattle BioMed grows its own mosquitoes, investigates malaria in mouse models, runs a series of research labs, and recruits volunteers for human trials.
Cyan James

By Cyan James, Humanosphere correspondent

Despite the potential annoyances—hours spent being screened , frequent health checks, irritating bites, painful twice-daily blood draws for weeks, not to mention the slamming headaches and vicious chills of malaria itself—people like Rasberry say being a malaria trials volunteer is worth it.

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Global Health
4:49 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Seattle's William Foege wins Presidential Medal of Freedom

William Foege at home in the Northwest.
Tom Paulson

President Obama has announced the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Among the honorees is William Foege. The Vashon Island doctor developed a vaccination plan that wiped out small pox.

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Japanese Tsunami
1:18 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Things you'll find from the Japanese tsunami on NW beaches

Anna Pietz and her daughter examine debris at Rialto Beach in La Push, Wash., on Saturday. The two had volunteered with Washington Coastsavers. Pietz said they did find a Japanese float believed to be from the tsunami.
Anna Pietz

If you visit a Northwest ocean beach this summer, you’ll likely run across objects from last year’s Japanese tsunami.

The things you’ll likely see include milk jugs, detergent bottles, tooth brushes and bottles for water, pop or juices with Japanese stamps, marks and labels. Perhaps a soccer ball or a volleyball -- two that washed up on an Alaskan island have been claimed by their Japanese owners.

The things you are highly unlikely to see are human remains, refrigerators or anything else that would have to be sealed to float or can come apart, like bigger parts of houses. Months on the ocean will breakup anything with parts, experts say.

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Global Health
5:12 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Study: Many girls in U.S. will have shorter lives than their mothers

In this screen grab from the IHME website, you can see some lifespan comparisons of women in 2009. Go to the Institute’s website to interact with this and other graphics to learn more.

By Claudia Rowe, special correspondent

Despite living in a country with one of the best health-care systems in the world, thousands of American girls will have shorter lives than their mothers, according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

In 661 areas of the country life expectancy for women has stagnated or decreased since 1999.

“It’s tragic,” said Dr. Ali Mokdad, who lead the team of researchers evaluating American health and mortality trends across the country.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
1:08 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Your pets, other 'species gaps' exist in hunt for diseases that can jump to humans

Animal disease experts examine a pig on a farm in Yunlin County, central Taiwan.
The Associated Press

By Lisa Stiffler, Humanosphere correspondent

HIV, West Nile virus, swine flu, ebola – all are human diseases that are traced to livestock, wild creatures and insects from locations scattered around the globe. It can be harder to think of infectious ailments that didn’t start in animals, and in fact these so called “zoonotic pathogens” are to blame for more than 65 percent of emerging infectious disease events over the past 60 years, according to research.

Yet experts in the field say we’re still doing a crummy job watching for new disease outbreaks in animals that could jump to humans.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Seattle research
10:22 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Seattle council moves to strengthen research in 'life sciences'

Alex Flickr

The Seattle City Council hopes fewer government regulations and lower taxes on federal research dollars brought into the city will save lives, here and abroad.

The council introduced legislation last week it hopes will strengthen the growing  life science industry in Seattle.

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Humanosphere's Changemakers
1:18 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Hooked on science by accident, Kimberly Choi puts it to work in the global community

Quick BIO: Kimberly Choi, 23, is a research technician at Seattle Biomedical Research Institute (Seattle BioMed) and a University of Washington graduate.

By Lisa Stiffler, Humanosphere correspondent

Kimberly Choi wound up testing malaria vaccines on mice quite by accident.

“I thought I was going to study Spanish literature,” Choi recalled.

But in 2006, Choi was encouraged by a high school biology teacher to participate in Seattle BioMed’s outreach program, BioQuest, which gives students a chance to do hands-on research.

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Humanosphere
2:11 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Changemakers: Ines Tucakovic puts humanitarian goals to work doing TB research

Quick BIO: Ines Tucakovic, 27, senior clinical research assistant with Seattle’s Infectious Disease Research Institute

By Lisa Stiffler, Humanosphere correspondent

Ines Tucakovic was only a child when she and her family fled the war in their native Bosnia. But her job at Seattle’s Infectious Disease Research Institute has a connection to home.

As part of the research team in the institute’s clinical immunology lab, Tucakovic prepares protocols for clinical trials being conducted internationally. The trials are for vaccines for tuberculosis and a parasite called leishmaniasis. Tucakovic also processes the samples taken from patients in Venezuela, Peru, India, Columbia and Sudan.

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Humanosphere
3:55 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Seattle global health expert issues call to arms in the war on fake drugs

Did you know a small, but increasing number of drugs are fake?
Rodrigo Senna Flickr

What looks like a very boring academic and institutional report, entitled “Ensuring Safe Foods and Medical Products Through Stronger Regulatory Systems Abroad,” is in fact a call to arms. A Seattle man is a leading voice in sounding the alarm on the problem of counterfeit drugs.

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Humanosphere
11:47 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Sequel to Kony 2012 takes on critics, appeals less to emotion

Screen shot from the new Kony 2012 video by Invisible Children.

This time, the video by Invisible Children is not so much a repeat of their first call to action as a defense of their action.

It’s kind of like when the Star Wars franchise put out a sequel that actually went back in time to explain how everything got started.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
10:36 am
Thu April 5, 2012

'Three Cups' author Mortenson mismanaged group

HELENA, Mont. — An investigative report has concluded that "Three Cups of Tea" author Greg Mortenson mismanaged the charity he co-founded to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Montana Attorney General's office report released Thursday found Mortenson spent Central Asia Institute money on personal items, family vacations and charter flights.

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Humanosphere
3:09 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

DHHS' Nils Daulaire brings his fight to Seattle – Global is local!

“Our only chance to keep Americans safe is if the systems for preventing, detecting and containing disease … also stretch across the globe,” Nils Daulaire.
Lisa Stiffler Humanosphere

By Lisa Stiffler, Humanosphere correspondent

Many Americans just don’t get it – Global health is a domestic issue.

That was the main message last night at Seattle’s Broadway Performance Hall from Dr. Nils Daulaire, director of the Office of Global Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

At the “Diseases without Borders” forum Daulaire said that the question he’s most frequently asked is this: “Why does (Health and Human Services), a domestic institution, even have an Office of Global Affairs?”

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Humanosphere
2:28 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Was the attention on the Kony 2012 campaign justified?

But the important question is not whether Kony should be brought to justice, but whether doing so should be a priority given all of the other challenges our planet faces.
The Associated Press

Guest post by Kentaro Toyama

For a couple of weeks, Kony 2012 stole the spotlight in international development. It dominated conversation, with some applauding its success as an awareness-raising campaign (e.g., Nicholas Kristof); some criticizing it for its oversimplified, condescending, self-gratifying portrayal of the issues (e.g., Teju Cole); and many grumbling along the lines of, “Who are these punks who managed to get so much attention and funding?”

These are all important questions, but they miss the real issue that Kony 2012 raises — namely, how we as a society prioritize important issues in the age of Internet social media.

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Humanosphere
12:23 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

'Hunger Games' threatened legal action against humanitarians

A fan of the 'Hungar Games' makes a play off of a character's names - a play off the title of the movie got Oxfam threatened with a lawsuit.
The Associated Press

The film company Lionsgate, which produced the blockbuster movie based on books about a post-apocalyptic, oppressive and divided America where the poor are starving, abused and also enlisted for gladiator-like sport, threatened to sue Oxfam for riffing off the popular movie to launch its campaign “Hunger is Not a Game.”

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Humanosphere
10:21 am
Mon April 2, 2012

Changemakers: Dean Chahim wants to launch a 'do-good' revolution

Quick BIO: Dean Chahim, 22, is a cofounder of Critical Development Forum, a University of Washington graduate and recipient of a Bonderman Travel Fellowship.

By Lisa Stiffler, Humanosphere correspondent

Can Dean Chahim save the world?

Not alone, he can’t. But if he can inspire and educate enough people in “critical consciousness” – an awareness of the policies and practices that create injustices and an understanding of how we can change them for the better – that might just do it.

Read more on Humanosphere.

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