The theme for World No Tobacco Day on May 31, an annual initiative of WHO and the Secretariat of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), is plain packaging of tobacco products. Plain packaging prohibits the use of logos, colours, and promotional labelling on cigarettes and hand-rolled tobacco and gives graphic health warnings more prominence. In the FCTC, the legally binding international treaty to curb tobacco use signed by 180 nations, a ban on branded cigarette packaging is considered a key demand reduction strategy.
The USA can proudly claim the most technologically advanced health-care capabilities in the world. Yet the lack of universal health insurance means that expertise is not translated into better health outcomes at a population level, and that out-of-pocket expenses are a common cause of impoverishment. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 aimed to address the above shortcomings by increasing the availability of insurance for quality health care. The effectiveness of the Act is shown by estimates released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on May 17, in which the proportion of people in the USA without health insurance in 2015 was 9·1%.
Female genital mutilation (FGM)—defined by WHO as “procedures that involve the partial or total removal of external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”—is internationally recognised as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. Worldwide, more than 200 million girls and women suffer the physical and psychological consequences of FGM. FGM is a harmful practice and can cause several immediate and long-term health consequences such as haemorrhage, post-traumatic stress disorder, painful urination, and complications in childbirth.
There aren't too many taboos left in global health. Marginalised diseases have become mainstream. Excluded populations are now embraced. Disfiguring practices, once excused by culture, are condemned. But abortion remains a forbidden word. WHO is frightened of it. Donors avoid it. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation elides it. All claim to value every life. All pledge to leave no one behind. All are committed to universal health coverage. But women with an unwanted pregnancy are omitted from these visions, disbarred, invisiblised.
The final IGAS report on the clinical trial disaster in Rennes prompts French Health Minister to unveil measures to tighten early trial procedures. Barbara Casassus reports from Paris.
Experts say more collaboration with athletes, increased funding for research, and a revision of the banned substances list are needed to address doping in sport. Sharmila Devi reports.
India's medical schools have been criticised for their neglect of research after a study showed that the country's colleges produce few publications. Dinesh C Sharma reports from New Delhi.
The global pandemics of obesity and diabetes have heightened focus on how the foods we eat—and how the companies that make, market, and sell these foods—influence our health. Among different products, a lion's share of attention has been given to soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), including sports drinks, energy drinks, and iced teas. For good reason: SSBs have no intrinsic health value, make us more fat, and separately increase risk of diabetes. Globally, SSBs are estimated to contribute to about 184 000 deaths each year.
Neurologist and authority on muscular dystrophy. He was born in Rowlands Gill, UK, on Sept 16, 1922, and died in Belford, UK, on April 21, 2016, aged 93 years.
The terror events in Paris in November, 2015, and elsewhere remind us of the substantial consequences that violent events can have for a population's mental health.1 Although effective approaches exist for treating these consequences,1 no systematic attempts have been made to identify populations at risk early on to expeditiously mitigate them. Social media could help identify populations in need during and after disasters.2 Specifically, automated sentiment analysis can extract emotional reactions from these data,3 and space–time syndromic surveillance can effectively detect disease outbreaks.
In an increasingly globalised world, an infectious disease can travel to the other side of the globe before symptoms manifest, yet setting up an effective research response can take months. This delay can cost lives. To save valuable time, we must improve coordination of global research efforts in preparedness of and response to public health emergencies.
The meta-analyses by Salvatore Cassese and colleagues1 and by Gregg Stone and colleagues2 recently published in The Lancet compared a drug-eluting stent Xience (Abbott; Chicago, USA) with a bioresorbable vascular scaffold Absorb (Abbott; Chicago, USA) in patients with coronary artery disease, with the aim of filling the gap left by the last biggest randomised trial, ABSORB-III.3 Indeed, the number of patients investigated in ABSORB-III was too low to give an accurate and clear opinion regarding Absorb.
The blow-up BEAM habitat had its first test run on the International Space Station on Thursday, but the constraints of being packed for the trip kept it from inflating sufficiently, NASA says
The Rosetta spacecraft has detected biological components glycine and phosphorus emerging from its comet - suggesting life on Earth could have arrived on a ball of ice
The HPV vaccine is to be offered to 40,000 men who have sex with men, but campaigners have repeated the call to offer the jab to all adolescent boys
A Donald Trump presidency would disrupt the fight against climate change in a way that threatens to snuff out all hope, warns Matthew Nisbet
A start-up says its face-recognition tech can identify people's personality type from photos – and spot terrorists, paedophiles and poker players in crowds
Surgical checklists prevent avoidable mistakes, but one audit in a UK hospital found they were completed only 50 per cent of the time – empowering nurses could improve this
Engineered cells can use gene editing to monitor your health - a potentially revolutionary technique that could allow us to spy on infections and cancer
A clever experiment preserves the quantum nature of a set of electromagnetic waves even when they're split apart, a stunt that could help make working quantum computers