`Diseases have become a way of life in Gaza'
Born and raised in a refugee camp in Gaza, Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian doctor who has worked for reconciliation between Israel and Palestine. In January 2009 he lost three of his daughters in an air strike by Israel. Instead of sinking into hatred, he wrote a memoir, I shall not hate, which calls for peace in the region. His efforts won him humanitarian awards. Abuelaish, who now …
`We've strong evidence that eating sugar contributes to heart disease'
Kimber Stanhope, nutritional biologist at the University of California, Davis, US, is studying the health effects of fructose, a component of sugar. She has carried out carefully planned experiments feeding comparable groups of people fructose, glucose and high fructose corn syrup—which, like sugar, is part fructose and part glucose—and then comparing their effects on risk factors …
'Ebola is the result of environmental degradation'
Peter Hotez is the co-founder of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases that provides access to essential medicines for millions of people worldwide. He tells Down To Earth what prompted the rare Ebola disease to spread in epidemic proportion and how to contain such diseases in future. Edited excerpts
`Eating chicken is like taking a course of antibiotics'
Devi Shetty, cardiac surgeon and founder of Narayana Health, has seen increasing cases of antibiotic resistance at his hospital. Even those who had never taken antibiotics are reporting it. Edited excerpts from an interview
`Irresponsible reportage can harm business'
Vishal Nath, director, National Research Centre for Litchi (NRCL), says there is no scientific evidence to prove that acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in children is caused by litchi and that conclusions cannot be drawn from mere suspicions. Edited excerpts from an interview:
`Many doctors are simply businessmen'
Samiran Nundy, chairperson of the department of surgical gastroenterology and organ transplantation at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and editor-in-chief of the journal Current Medicine Research and Practice (CMRP), has stirred a hornet's nest by writing an editorial in the British Medical Journal and also in CMRP about rampant corruption in the Indian healthcare system. While speaking to Kundan …
A reliable HIV self-test
Nitika Pant Pai, assistant professor at the department of medicine, McGill University, Canada, and her team have analysed data on acceptability of home tests for HIV/AIDS. In an email conversation, Pai tells Vibha Varshney how home HIV tests can help people infected with the virus. The study was published in PloS Medicine on April 2, 2013
Most disease maps unreliable
Disease maps help capture distribution of pathogens and their transmission intensity. An international team of researchers has reviewed 355 of the widely available maps of infectious diseases and found that only seven of them were comprehensive. The study was published in the February 4 issue of Royal Society B. Katherine Battle, lead researcher of the study from University of Oxford in …
Bimal K Banik is President’s Endowed Professor and professor of chemistry at College of Science and Mathematics, University of Texas-Pan American. He is looking for novel compounds to treat hard-to-cure cancers. He talks to Vibha Varshney about the anticancer activity of beta-lactam molecules generally used as antibiotics
How safe is your toothpaste?
From the basic, white toothpaste of yesteryears to the specialised cavity- and plaque-control ones, toothpastes have come a long way. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Halle, Germany, have devised a new technique to determine the cleaning potential of toothpastes. Ishita Das talks to Andreas Kieskow, the lead researcher, on the use of this new technology
GM maize and its health implications for humans
Michael Antoniou, head of the Nuclear Biology Group in the UK, has been studying the health effects of genetically modified (GM) crops since 1995. He hastens to add, however, that he does no research himself on the issue since his specialisation is human molecular genetics, a subject he teaches at King’s College London School of Medicine. In an interview to Latha Jishnu, he explains why …
Tulsi Fights Fluorosis
Fluoride levels in drinking water in 196 districts of 19 Indian states are much higher than the maximum concentration of 1.5 parts per million (ppm) deemed safe. Poor people in these areas do not need expensive gadgets to get rid of the contaminant anymore. All they need is a tulsi plant. Rahul Kamble, assistant professor of Environment Sciences at Sardar Patel Mahavidyalaya at Chandrapur, …
‘Manipulate market, lower drug prices’
In times of rising costs of healthcare compounded by shortage of funds, UNITAID, a UN organisation, was set up in 2006 to improve access to life-saving drugs in developing countries. Unlike other UN bodies that depend on donors, the organisation is innovative in the way it collects funds and operates. Denis Broun, executive director of UNITAID, talks to Vibha Varshney about novel sources of …
We still have to reach the interiors
W Selvamurthy, senior scientist at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), shrugs off the body’s responsibility towards civilians in tackling chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) disasters. He speaks to Sonal Matharu on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi
Secretive tribunals, hidden damages
Canadian academic Gus Van Harten is well known for his efforts to reform the global investment treaty regime through his research papers, conference presentations and a monograph, Investment Treaty Arbitration and Public Law (Oxford University Press). This treatise presents a public law critique of investment treaty arbitration and proposes the setting up of an international investment court …
India’s many investment treaties make it vulnerable
Senior international lawyer Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, who heads the investment programme of the International Institute on Sustainable Development (IISD), has written extensively on the dangers of bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and free trade agreements (FTAs) signed at the regional level. She was previously managing attorney of the Center for International Environmental Law's …
‘Dual contraception is a must to avert HIV infection’
Hormonal contraceptives, promoted in developed nations, put health at risk, says a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Sonal Matharu talks to Jared Baeten, professor, department of global health, University of Washington, about the study