Public health

  • China orders hospitals to stop shock therapy for Internet addicts

    Two hospitals in China use electro-shock treatment to “cure” Chinese youngsters of what the Chinese term “Internet addiction”; some 3,000 youth were forced to undergo the treatment (to add insult to injury: their families had to pay $805 a month for the privilege); the Chinese define Internet addiction as playing games and looking at pornography rather than working or studying — and getting angry when unable to get online

  • Death rate of swine flu difficult to measure

    To formulate an effective policy to cope with the swine flu there is a need for an accurate set of numbers about the disease’s spread and morbidity; these number are hard to come by

  • H1N1 virus more dangerous than suspected

    New study says that, in contrast with run-of-the-mill seasonal flu viruses, the H1N1virus exhibits an ability to infect cells deep in the lungs, where it can cause pneumonia and, in severe cases, death

  • G8 leaders address food security

    In last week’s meeting in Italy, leaders of the G8 pledged $15 billion over the next three years to increase food security in developing countries by investing in food production and distribution infrastructure

  • Swine flu vaccine strains grow very slowly, delaying vaccine production

    The fastest-growing of all the wine flu vaccine strains tested so far grows only half as fast as ordinary vaccine viruses; if the current pandemic behaves like the last H1N1 pandemic in 1918, the next, possibly worse waves of infection could be long over by the time vaccine contracts are filled

  • WHO: Swine flu "unstoppable"

    The World Health Organization says the swine flu pandemic has grown “unstoppable” and all nations will need access to vaccines; while most cases have been considered mild, a study released today said the virus causes more lung damage than ordinary seasonal flu strains

  • Inkjet printer technology to be used in biosensors

    Researchers describe a method for printing a toxin-detecting biosensor on paper using a FujiFilm Dimatix Materials Printer; the method relies on a “lateral flow” sensing approach similar to that used in a home pregnancy test strip

  • DARPA wants "plant-based production system" to help combat flu

    DARPA says that “Recent advances funded by DARPA and others have demonstrated the viability of plant-based protein expression technologies for the production and purification of cGMP-compliant medical countermeasures…”

  • Cities need to prepare for a home-made nuke

    An explosion of ten kiloton nuclear bomb in a city would be disastrous; as catastrophic as such an attack would be, it would not level an entire city, and a timely response could save many lives

  • Humans may infect pigs with swine flu

    Researchers find that the strain of influenza, A/H1N1, which is currently pandemic in humans has been shown to be infectious to pigs and to spread rapidly in a trial pig population

  • A first: Ebola virus found in pigs in the Philippines

    For the first time, Ebola virus has been detected in pigs, raising concerns it could mutate and pose a new risk to humans

  • U.S. to vaccinate millions against swine flu

    The U.S. federal government will target children this fall for pandemic flu vaccination campaign — the largest since the 1950s polio vaccination effort

  • Swine flu advances in southern hemisphere

    In the southern hemisphere it is winter, and people there are in the midst of the winter flu season; swine H1N1 virus seems to be replacing the seasonal flu viruses that circulated till now — classic pandemic behavior

  • More tests in the U.S. for Tamiflu-resistant swine flu

    A third patient has been infected with a Tamiflu-resistant strain of swine flu; U.S. health officials are stepping up testing of swine flu cases for Tamiflu resistance

  • New method for combating the flu

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s researchers develop a new tool to combat the flu; the discovery is a one-two punch that targets the illness on two fronts, going one critical step further than any currently available flu drug