global health

On December 13 and 14, the global health community gathered at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York for a conference called ’€œ Lives in the Balance: Delivering Medical Innovations for Neglected Patients and Populations .’€ Hosted by Mount Sinai Global Health, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) , the conference aimed to spur innovation for new tools to combat neglected diseases. Several key themes emerged from the conference. First, there is a ’€˜fatal imbalance’€™ between the burden of neglected disease and medical innovations to combat these illnesses. Neglected diseases affect more than 1.4 billion people worldwide and account for...
Poll Reveals Deep Concerns Among Americans about Impact of Spending Cuts to Medical Research Alexandria, Va. ’€”December 13, 2012’€”Nearly 60% of Americans are skeptical that Congress and the White House will reach an agreement that will avoid the fiscal cliff, according to a new national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America. More than 80% of Republicans, nearly 40% of Democrats and 65% of Independents say they are ’€œnot too confident’€ or ’€œnot at all confident’€ current negotiations will result in a deal. The findings reveal growing doubt among many Americans that Congress and the Administration will be able to make a deal that would avoid tax increases for most...
On December 3, Policy Cures released its fifth annual G-FINDER report , a comprehensive survey of funding for research and development for neglected diseases. The report tracks global public, private and philanthropic investments into R&D for 31 diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and NTDs. In positive news, this year’€™s report shows that total funding has actually increased by $443 million since 2007. The report demonstrates that government funding, which accounts for over two-thirds of all investment, is increasingly going toward basic academic research, rather than product development. Research!America believes it is vital that the entire research pipeline be fully...
Each year on World AIDS Day , December 1, the world unites in the fight against HIV. It is estimated that 34 million people around the world are living with HIV and over 25 million people have died from the disease since 1981. The good news is that strong investments in HIV/AIDS research have resulted in remarkable scientific advances such as new prevention tools and drugs that allow individuals to manage their disease. However, there is still much more work to be done and World AIDS Day highlights the need for continued investments in research, education and improved access to treatment. It is also important to raise awareness of another category of diseases that can undermine efforts to...
On November 13, a documentary series called ’€œThe Future Files’€ premiered on Georgia Public Broadcasting. Created by the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), a Research!America member and partner, the series highlights Georgia researchers working to address some of the most challenging problems facing our world today. The first episode focuses on the threat of influenza and details recent efforts by Georgia scientists to develop a vaccine. Future episodes will focus on issues ranging from new energy to cancer to regenerative medicine. The pilot episode is designed to bring to life some of the outstanding health research taking place every day in Georgia laboratories. Due to the tireless...
It started in Tennessee: one patient with an unusual recurrence of meningitis. An infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University worked the case like a detective, tracking down a lead. When the detective work led to an unusual suspect ’€“ a possible contamination ’€“ the Tennessee Department of Health was promptly notified. And when Tennessee public health specialists feared the contamination might be widespread, they contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In short order, a second federal agency, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and most states in the eastern half of the country were working to solve a puzzling fungal meningitis outbreak that affected...
Public Health Thank You Day, November 19, 2012 WASHINGTON, DC ’€”November 15, 2012’€”On the Monday before Thanksgiving, Research!America and leading U.S. public health organizations recognize public health professionals who work tirelessly every day to protect the health of all Americans. Public Health Thank You Day 2012 honors all those unsung heroes who keep our drinking water safe and air clean, develop vaccines, track and contain deadly illnesses and aid victims of devastating natural disasters. These everyday heroes include health inspectors, environmental health scientists, public health researchers, sanitation workers and many other dedicated workers. ’€œIn recent weeks, the nation...
Each year on November 14, the International Diabetes Federation sponsors World Diabetes Day to raise awareness about the global burden of the disease. Although diabetes is historically associated with more affluent countries, diabetes rates are rising around the world. In 2000, about 170 million people had diabetes. Today, WHO estimates that diabetes affects more than 346 million people and about 70% of these individuals live in low- and middle-income countries. It is important to raise awareness of this growing burden and the links between diabetes and the infectious diseases that plague the developing world. Infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases...
The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy has prompted a renewed discussion about climate change. Political leaders and climate scientists alike have raised concerns about the relationship between global warming and an increase in the number of extreme weather events. In addition to these concerns, climate change may also increase the threat of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) here in the U.S. NTD transmission depends heavily on environmental conditions and warming temperatures may increase the severity or change the patterns of these diseases. For example, funded by a grant from the Department of Defense, researchers at Texas Tech determined that climate change will allow dengue to...
On October 31 st , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported new cases of fungal meningitis in Indiana, Maryland, Michigan and Virginia, bringing the total to 368 cases in the recent outbreak . This form of meningitis, which has been linked to contaminated steroid injections, is a serious disease that infects the brain and spinal cord. In the face of this tragedy, public health agencies and professionals have coordinated an excellent emergency response to the outbreak. The CDC responded quickly, identifying possible sources of contamination, tracking cases and communicating updates to the nation. CDC experts and local public health workers have been working day and night to...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco