Earlier this month, Youyou Tu was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for her discovery of artemisinin, also known as qinghaosu. She is the first Chinese Nobel recipient for work that was done in mainland China. Dr. Tu's studies were done in the midst of the Cultural Revolution, a politically precarious time for Chinese academics, which adds a layer of historical complexity to her work. It is difficult to overstate the importance of artemisinin to anti-malarial efforts. Unfortunately, artemisinin-resistant strains of malaria are already beginning to appear only thirty years after the drug was introduced.
Across Africa, from the mud flats of Nigeria to the coral reefs off Mozambique, mosquito-net fishing is a growing problem, an unintended consequence of one of the biggest and most celebrated public health campaigns in recent years. Unintended consequences and complicated trade-offs: Mosquito Nets for Malaria Spawn New Epidemic: Overfishing (SLNYT)
New GM technique injects mosquitoes with a gene that results in mostly male offspring, eventually leading to a population crash. Previous efforts to tackle the disease, that kills more than 1 million people each year – most of whom are African children – have included bed nets to protect people and insecticides to kill the mosquito species most responsible for the transmission of malaria (Anopheles gambiae). The new technique by a team at Imperial College London involves injecting mosquitoes with a gene that causes the vast majority of their offspring to be male, leading to an eventual dramatic decline in population within six generations as females disappear. “You have a short-term benefit because males don’t bite humans [and transmit malaria],” Andrea Crisanti, one of the authors of the new research, which was published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday, told the Guardian. “But in the long term you will eventually eradicate or substantially reduce mosquitoes. This could make a substantial contribution to eradicating malaria, combined with other tools such as insecticides.”
These new mosquitoes are now set to be used in Brazil, having been approved for use by the Brazilian government with a factory for their production now opened.[more inside]
A Think-piece About Female Pioneerism in Electronic Music, Post-post Feminism and Some Sassy Statements On Sexism ’Woman’ is not a genre. Stop acting like we’re a passing fad. Delia Derbyshire (previously), Daphne Oram (previously), Wendy Carlos, Doris Norton, Suzanne Ciani, Cynthia Webster… even Goldfrapp and Add N To (X)’s Ann Shenton. These women weren’t on the periphery of electronic music…they pioneered it”, says Mollie Wells of dark pop band Funerals in an Electronic Beats feature on women in electronic music. And she is right. Females have, since the post-war inception of electronically produced music, played a crucial role in its development and presentation. [more inside]
It's not all bad news. People are living longer, we're winning the fight against malaria, worldwide poverty is down, and eight more reasons for hope in the coming year.
Malaria, a short "motion comic" that bends the boundaries of what that means. "Malaria" is a short film/motion comic by Edson Oda. It's unlike any motion comic you've ever seen, and you need to watch it without knowing what's coming.
A new malaria vaccine has been shown effective in large-scale field trials. After decades of disappointment, researchers think they're finally on track to unleash the first practical vaccine against malaria, one of mankind's ancient scourges. In the world's first large field trial of an experimental malaria vaccine, several thousand young children who got three doses had about 55 percent less risk of getting the disease over a year than those who got a control vaccine against rabies or meningitis. [more inside]
In the 1940's, Walt Disney Studios produced a series of animated public health films for distribution in South America. [more inside]
The Defense Department forced all "war on terror" detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison to take a high dosage of a controversial antimalarial drug, mefloquine, an act that an Army public health physician called "pharmacologic waterboarding". The US military administered the drug despite Pentagon knowledge that mefloquine caused severe neuropsychiatric side effects, including suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and anxiety. The drug was used on the prisoners whether they had malaria or not. [more inside]
It's been suggested that the humble mosquito is responsible for more deaths than all the wars combined. Scientists working at the Planck institute are hoping to change this by using the mosquitoes themselves as a way to administer a malaria vaccine. [more inside]
There has been a new discipline developing in molecular biology for some time now, Bioanimation! Projects have ranged in size from WEHI's colossal compilation to Harvard Biovision's magnum opus "Inner Life of the Cell" to commercially produced masterpieces to smaller projects by university PIs and enthusiasts. much [more inside]
The Big Africa Cycle. Peter Gostelow is cycling from Dorset, England to Cape Town to raise funds for The Against Malaria Foundation. And it's not his first big adventure. [more inside]
Malaria is one of the world’s most serious health problems. No single approach has yet to fully conquer either the disease or the disease vector, the mosquito. The most common electronic means of killing mosquitoes, the “bug zapper” is not particularly effective. Using lasers to kill mosquitoes has previously been thought of as completely ridiculous. Now the concept is being taken seriously.
Rehabilitating Carson: "Why do some people continue to hold Rachel Carson responsible for millions of malaria deaths?" [more inside]
This year, 500 million people will get malaria and about a million of them will die from it. Some scientists believe that one out of every two people who have ever lived have died of malaria. Here are some reports from Sierra Leone on efforts to control this deadly disease.
Judy's tour diary (pdf, somewhat long) isn't your standard travelogue. The author is Judy Porter, a professor of sociology from Bryn Mawr Collge. Her expertise in the fields of AIDS and poverty are apparent as she paints a vivid picture of life in West Africa, and the health and social conditions that come with it. She also set up a web page that has links to a number of photo slide shows and hand shot video footage. West Africa has been extensively discussed previously.
The Challenge of Global Health is an article written in the most recent Foreign Affairs, describing how "stovepiping" health care funding towards only HIV/AIDS, the shortage of health care workers in the West, and a vacuum of international health-care experts are all causing great damage to developing countries. The article was written by Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague, Betrayal of Trust, as well as a Pulitzer Prize winner for her writing on Ebola. Previously on mefi: garrett resigns, comments on world leaders.
Newsfilter: Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Paul Hewson named by Time Magazine as their persons of the year in recognition of their efforts against HIV-1, malaria and debt in Africa. "For being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and then daring the rest of us to follow, Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono are Time's Persons of the Year." said the mag's editor-in-chief.
In the can-anything-else-go-wrong file, US Troops suffer from permanent brain damage after being administered malaria treatment. For as big a logistical challenge a war might be, and technological advances in mass support systems, you'd think the joint-forces would do a better job?
A dangerous drug... Is it possible that the anti-malaria drug Lariam contributed to the recent series of murders at Fort Bragg? Three of the soldiers involved were on the drug, which has been known to cause aggression, paranoia, hallucinations, and thoughts of suicide. After identifying the potential side-effects, why are we still prescribing this drug to our troops?
No More Malaria? The first step has been taken to making mosquitoes incapable of passing on malaria. But, should we?
Three This is the average number of children who are dying from malaria in Africa EVERY MINUTE. Time was when it could be justly claimed that DDT had saved 500 million lives, but then along came Rachel Carson with her mendacious jeremiad, Silent Spring. Her anti DDT campaign was taken up by the murderous EPA and vociferously supported by environmental SIFs, such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. Human life is an irritating side-issue to such fanatics
Malaria is one of the planet's deadliest diseases and one of the leading causes of sickness and death in the developing world. According to the World Health Organization there are 300 to 500 million clinical cases of malaria each year resulting in 1.5 to 2.7 million deaths. Malaria is a public health problem today in more than 90 countries, inhabited by a total of some 2 400 million people -- 40% of the world's population. It is also notoriously difficult to combat because of the parasite's ability to easily evade the body's immune system. Nature Update has an article on the possibilities of designing a malarial vaccine which stimulates the immune response and has the potential of protecting people from all strains of the disease.