Author Archives: PLoS Medicine Blog

Lessons that Last: 200 Pearls and Counting

PLOS Pathogens Pearls Editor Joseph Heitman reflects on the success of Pearls, an Open Access compendium of the “lessons that last”, and also introduces the new collection on Flipboard. “In the face of this inevitable ebb and flow of focus and attention, how are we to teach students the ‘lessons that last’ or ‘the facts of a field’ while keeping current?” Madhani et al. 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000499 The PLOS Pathogens Pearls mini-review series publishes concise reviews (less than 1500 words and a limited number of references), which take stock of recent exciting advances in the field of microbial pathogenesis.  Pearls are not meant to be comprehensive treatises on a subject, but to condense information in a field broadly into units that advance understanding and education, encouraging further inquiry and reading.  They span all areas of interest to the journal and to its readership, including bacteriology, virology, parasitology, studies on prions, human and plant fungal pathogens and interactions, and host-pathogen interactions spanning innate and adaptive immunity. The founding editor for the Pearls series was Hiten Madhani, and the series was launched in June 2009.  The initial years for the series were formative ones, forged by a single editor and publishing on average approximately one Pearl per month.

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Learning from the South: influenza immunization in pregnancy

Writing from Dhaka, Bangladesh, Jocalyn Clark celebrates the impact of a paper by Bangladeshi researchers on Western medical provision. When two worlds collide in global health it can be a marvelous thing. Take for example the fact that although countries like the US and UK have recommended influenza immunization during pregnancy for many years, there was no evidence from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to support the importance of that policy for birth outcomes until now. And the RCT to provide the needed evidence was not done in North America or Europe, but in Bangladesh by an international team, providing critical insights to help guide clinical practice, immunization policy, and women’s informed decision-making. Image Credit: Steven Depolo, Flickr The Bangladesh evidence, drawn from secondary analyses of an RCT involving 340 pregnant women, shows that a flu shot given in the third trimester increased the mean birth weight of infants by 200 grams

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Promoting Scientific Publications from Authors Overseas

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PLOS NTDs Deputy Editor Daniel Bausch reflects on a Manuscript Writing Workshop recently conducted in Lima, Peru. Promoting Scientific Publications from Authors Overseas – Speaking…

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Promoting Scientific Publications from Authors Overseas

PLOS NTDs Deputy Editor Daniel Bausch reflects on a Manuscript Writing Workshop recently conducted in Lima, Peru. On February 19, 2014, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene held a manuscript writing workshop in Lima, Peru, as part of the annual Peru satellite meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).  Amy Morrison and I, both PLOS NTDs Deputy Editors living and working in Peru, discussed our approach to writing, reviewing, and editing scientific manuscripts with a group of about 200 young Peruvian scientists. Audience of the NTDs and ASTMH Writing Workshop. Image Credit Roxana Lescano Some of the obstacles to publication from authors overseas are obvious, such as the language barrier in a scientific world presently dominated by English. Others are more subtle, and perhaps more universal

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The Elderly: A neglected population with neglected tropical diseases

Image Credit: Flickr, Vinoth Chandar According to the World Health Organization, many of the world’s developed countries consider 65 years as the chronological age when people are considered “elderly,” while the United Nations uses the ages of 60 and above.  However, in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere the cutoff age is often lower such as 50 or 55 years. This month, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases published a new study by Rowe et al. from Singapore on dengue fever in the elderly (> 60 years of age).  Among their interesting findings were that the elderly had longer hospital admissions, and had higher rates of pneumonia and urinary infections.  Overall, the elderly had more dengue hemorrhagic fever and severe dengue. The Rowe et al study intrigued me enough to try and do a casual search for other papers on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and their link with older populations.   The number of papers on the subject is modest but they are all interesting. Among the helminth infections, the elderly frequently represent an at-risk population for blindness due to onchocerciasis.  Human hookworm infection is a soil-transmitted helminthiasis that exhibits heavy worm burdens among both pediatric and adult populations, and in the 1990s we found that on Hainan Island China it was the elderly who had the highest hookworm burdens and prevalence of infection.

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Tackling Cholera in Haiti: A Multi-Faceted Approach

The PLOS medical journals reflect on Haiti’s cholera epidemic, and the value of moving forward with an emphasis on holistic practice and research. Image Credit: FMSC, Flickr Almost three years ago, in May of 2011, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases published a Viewpoints piece, Meeting Cholera’s Challenge to Haiti and the World: A Joint Statement on Cholera Prevention and Care, which urged the development of a “comprehensive, integrated strategy” in response to Haiti’s 2010 cholera epidemic. The Pan American Health Organization estimates that the outbreak now includes over 650,000 survivors and 8,100 fatal cases. Indeed, the epidemic has had enormous repercussions for a nation already facing the effects of the devastating 2010 earthquake.

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Gaining Perspective from Performing HIV/M. tuberculosis co-Infection Research in South Africa

In the second of two linked posts for World TB Day, American post doc Collin Diedrich shares his experience researching M. tuberculosis/HIV co-infection in South Africa. To read the first of these linked posts, please click here. World TB Day is March 24. Image credit: CDC

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Celebrating World Water Day with a good WASH

This coming Saturday marks the 22nd year that the United Nations General Assembly has recognized March 22nd as World Water Day. In observation of this special day, we would like to take a look back at a few of the articles PLOS Medicine, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLOS Pathogens have published on the importance of clean water to human health. From PLOS Medicine PLOS Medicine and Water Sanitation and Hygiene: A Committed Relationship Hygiene, Sanitation, and Water: Forgotten Foundations of Health Sanitation and Health From PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases Integration of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for the Prevention and Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Rationale for Inter-Sectoral Collaboration Commentary by Spear, R. on “Integration of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for the Prevention and Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases: A Rationale for Inter-Sectoral Collaboration:” Can the Control of NTDs Profit from a Good WASH?

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Health in Jeopardy: the Corporate Influence on Climate Negotiations

Alicia Pawluk argues that United Nations climate policymakers should learn from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and diminish the influence of fossil-fuel producers in climate talks.   Image Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project The health impacts of climate change will undoubtedly be the most pressing global health issue of the upcoming century. Rising sea levels, warmer global temperatures, and extreme weather events will all have a widespread global effect. International governmental measures must be taken to minimise the damage caused by these phenomena, and to mitigate future health disasters. The United Nations is striving towards global climate solutions but significant intrusions at international climate negotiations have hindered any progress. Last year’s UN Climate Talks in Warsaw (Conference of Parties 19) set a new precedent for climate negotiations

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Looking for $2 Trillion

The group of 20 (G20) finance ministers meeting in Australia has just announced an ambitious initiative to boost the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) by at least $2 trillion over the next five years.   To achieve this target they propose to shape and implement new policies that increase investment and employment, and promote competition and trade. So far there has been no mention of health as a means to promote economic development among the G20 nations, even though we learned more than a decade ago from the World Health Organization’s Report of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health led by Jeffrey Sachs that diseases can actually cause poverty. Such findings provided the basis for which disease targets were added to the Millennium Development Goals. In an analysis published last year in PLOS NTDs I found a surprising number of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) – a group of 17 major chronic, debilitating, and mostly parasitic infections – among the poor living in G20 countries.

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Vaccine Hesitancy: A Call for Papers from PLOS Currents: Outbreaks

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PLOS Currents: Outbreaks issues a call for papers in collaboration with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the issue of vaccine hesitancy. The prevention of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, rubella, or polio, is dependent on herd immunity.  Yet ensuring widespread vaccination coverage is complicated by a wide range of factors, not least vaccine hesitancy, through which segments of the public are uncertain about the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. In May 2013 the ECDC hosted a multi-disciplinary scoping meeting to address the issue of vaccine hesitancy.

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Is the American Health Profession Ignoring a Human Rights Issue Hiding in Plain Sight

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James Ridgeway, from Solitary Watch, asks are the health needs of American prisoners being neglected. Image credit: Jumilla at Flickr There are 2.3 million people in US prisons in conditions that are often inhumane and at worst life threatening. An estimated 80,000 of US prisoners are locked up in solitary confinement, which means in a 6 ft x 9 ft cell containing little more than a bunk bed, toilet, sink, shelf, and unmovable stool. Prisoners in solitary confinement are let out in leg irons, handcuffs and belly chains for ‘exercise’ two or three times a week in dog kennel-type runs.

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Celebrating the Second Year of the #MHTF PLOS Collection on Maternal Health – #SpeakingofMedicine

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New blog post by the PLOS Collection team on the speaking of medicine blog reviews highlights of the second collection on improving Maternal Health globally….

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State of Knowledge on MERS-CoV

Tweeterview with Tony Mounts from WHO View the story “State of Knowledge on MERS-CoV ” on Storify The post State of Knowledge on MERS-CoV appeared first on Speaking of Medicine.

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