Health Roundup October 10

International Health News

The longer people live, the more likely they are to suffer from non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease. The Global Burden of Disease reports that while deaths from major fatal diseases such as Malaria and HIV/Aids have dropped significantly, the death toll for non-communicable diseases has risen significantly in the past 10 years; increasing from 35 million in 2005 to 39 million in 2015. The report concludes that while people may be living longer, the amount of time that they spend in ill health has also increased.

A new cancer drug has been hailed as a game changer at the European Health Congress. The immunotherapy drug destroys cancer cells by harnessing the immune system and has demonstrated a high success rate when used to tackle cancers which are typically difficult to treat. A trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that 36% of patients treated with the drug were still alive twelve months later, compared with just 17% of those who received chemotherapy.

The World Health Summit in Berlin takes place this week, and the agenda of the proceedings reveals that technological innovation in healthcare is one of the key themes for this year’s event. The keynote speech of the summit will address the problem of how low-income countries are “still largely excluded from access to appropriate and affordable health technologies”, and how new devices need to be developed in order to address these problems and “improve quality of life”.

Country updates

Health authorities in Vietnam have confirmed the diagnosis of two more cases of the Zika virus this week. The two women, one of whom is pregnant, have both denied having travelled to any Zika contaminated areas or being in contact with anyone with the disease. The total number of confirmed cases in the country is now at five. The authorities have sprayed the contaminated areas in order to prevent further outbreak.

New figures reveal that Spain only invests 5,5 euros per every 100 citizens in mental health care each year, compared to the EU average of 7 euros. This lack of sufficient spending has resulted in long waiting times for treatment, poor aftercare services and facilities and failure to provide sufficient treatment for certain illnesses.  

Health Advice

Could treating yourself to that siesta at midday be detrimental to your health? People who nap during the day are 45% more likely to develop diabetes, claims a report presented at a scientific congress last week. The study proves that there is a correlation between taking daytime naps of more than an hour and developing type 2 diabetes. However, the study was unable to prove that these two factors are definitively interrelated. If left untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to further health problems such as blindness and liver failure.


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Kat Ashton

Kat Ashton currently resides in Madrid. She is a harsh critic of anything that contains fennel and spends her time reading, writing and dreaming about the intangible world of ideas.