Health Roundup January 31

International health news

International NGOs will face a serious lack of funding after President Trump’s reinstatement of the “global gag rule”, which blocks US funding to any organization which performs abortions or even gives advice or information about abortion. Experts warn that the rule will affect a wide range of groups providing lifesaving care, including HIV, Zika and tuberculosis treatments, and ultimately risk millions of lives around the world. Many NGOs have announced they will not comply with the rule and will therefore have to search for different types of funding.

Scientists have grown a functioning pancreas in rats and then transplanted it into a mouse in what could be the first step towards the transplant of human organs from other animals. New research in this area is fundamental to address the current organ shortage.

Country updates

Last week London declared a “very high” air pollution alert after the areas of Camden, City of London, and Westminster all reached a 10 out of 10 on the air pollution index. The Mayor has advised people in health risk groups to take precautions. Similarly high levels of pollutants were found in several other areas of the United Kingdom.

The town of Spokane, in the state of Washington, has been dealing with an outbreak of mumps since the end of last year. Officials have advised people without up-to-date vaccinations to stay at home.

Health advice

A clinical trial found that an online treatment for insomnia was effective in getting participants to get more sleep. Participants woke up fewer times, fell asleep faster and had less severe insomnia at the end of the treatment.

Drinking water can help reduce stress. In a stressful situation, cortisol levels in the body increase and can lead to dehydration. If nothing is done about it, grave consequences could ensue, leading in extreme cases to depression and mental illness. Drinking a glass of water can help avoid these outcomes and quickly lower stress levels.

Image: David Holt

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Laura Gagliardi

Laura is a recent graduate from Italy who currently lives in Madrid, after four years spent studying in the United Kingdom. She loves to travel and spends her free time reading and writing.