Public health & disease

Credit cards in front of laptop

United States to ban medical debt from credit reports

In a sweeping change that could improve millions of Americans’ ability to own a home or buy a car, the Biden administration proposed a rule to ban medical debt from credit reports. The rule, announced by Vice President Kamala Harris and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra, comes as President Joe Biden beefs up his efforts to persuade Americans his administration is lowering costs, a chief concern for voters in the upcoming election.

United States to ban medical debt from credit reports Read more

Sick woman, stomach pain and hands on abdomen

U.K. researchers identify and treat major cause of inflammatory bowel disease

For the first time, a major trigger in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and related conditions has been identified, and existing drugs can stamp it out, in what scientists call a “massive step” in successfully treating these debilitating chronic conditions. Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute, in collaboration with University College London (UCL) and Imperial College London (ICL), have uncovered a problem gene enhancer that stimulates action along a specific biological pathway that causes IBD inflammation.

U.K. researchers identify and treat major cause of inflammatory bowel disease Read more

Tetanus vaccination

Global deaths from tetanus have been reduced massively since 1990s

Tetanus is a bacterial disease that causes paralysis and can lead to death. Globally, it was estimated to kill more than 250,000 people each year in the early 1990s. Most of these deaths were in children. By 2019, annual deaths had fallen to less than 35,000. The rollout of the combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis among children has been crucial in driving this.

Global deaths from tetanus have been reduced massively since 1990s Read more

Holding breast cancer ribbon

New blood test can predict breast cancer return

An “ultra-sensitive” new blood test developed and tested by Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) London can predict if breast cancer will return years before the disease shows up on scans, researchers say. It picks up traces of a tumor’s DNA before a full relapse and was found to be 100% accurate at predicting which patients would see their cancer return. It is hoped that the test can allow treatment to start earlier and improve survival rates.

New blood test can predict breast cancer return Read more

Cancer Cells under microscope

Thousands in the U.K. to trial breakthrough personalized cancer vaccines

Under the new scheme from the U.K. National Health Service, the first of its kind in the world, patients who meet the eligibility criteria and agree to have a blood test and sample of their cancer tissue analyzed will gain immediate access to clinical trials for the new vaccines that experts say represent a new dawn of treatments for cancer. While research into cancer vaccines is at an early stage, trials have already shown they can be effective at killing off any remaining tumor cells after surgery and dramatically cut the risk of cancer returning.

Thousands in the U.K. to trial breakthrough personalized cancer vaccines Read more

Aral Sea time lapse 1989 2014

Uzbekistan plants millions of acres of forest where the Aral Sea once lay

Instead of trying to restore what used to be the world’s third largest lake, officials from the Uzbekistan Forestry Agency and locals are trying to plant a new forest where it once rested. The main purpose of the afforestation project it to curb the harmful sandstorms and improve the ecosystem by planting desert-tolerant plants. The initiative has so far planted 4.2 million acres of forest, with up to 494,000 acres of new forest planned for 2024.

Uzbekistan plants millions of acres of forest where the Aral Sea once lay Read more

A neuron or nerve cell is an electrically excitable cell

Breakthrough synapse-regenerating ALS pill moves to phase 2 human trials

Spinogenix, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in California, has developed SPG302, a unique once-a-day pill that regenerates the gaps, called synapses, between neurons to restore communication in ALS patients. Following promising results from clinical trials to evaluate the drug’s safety, the FDA has approved the company’s Investigational New Drug application, paving the way for further trials and a possible watershed moment in the treatment of the fatal disease.

Breakthrough synapse-regenerating ALS pill moves to phase 2 human trials Read more

HIV virus

HIV transmissions in the U.S. dropped 12% between 2018 and 2002

According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report, the largest decrease in HIV infections from 2018 to 2022 was among men ages 13 to 24, where HIV infections decreased by 30%. In another recent report, the CDC found that over 80% of people diagnosed with HIV had access to care within one month of diagnosis. Furthermore, 65% had achieved viral suppression in 2022.

HIV transmissions in the U.S. dropped 12% between 2018 and 2002 Read more

Packages of diapers

Tennessee to become the first U.S. state to provide some children’s diapers

According to the National Diaper Bank Network, 92% of families receiving diapers in Tennessee are working and still unable to afford an adequate supply of diapers. However, it was just announced that the state’s Medicaid program will officially start covering 100 diapers a month for newborns, infants, and one-year-olds in August 2024, becoming the first U.S. state to do so.

Tennessee to become the first U.S. state to provide some children’s diapers Read more

Ambulance and EMT workers at night

Researchers develop a ‘game-changing’ blood test for stroke detection in the field

Stroke is the top cause of disability worldwide—and the second leading cause of death—but early intervention can prevent severe consequences, and a new tool could be a game-changer. Researchers at Massachusetts’ Brigham and Women’s Hospital developed a new test by combining blood-based biomarkers with a clinical score to identify patients experiencing large vessel occlusion strokes (LVO) with high accuracy.

Researchers develop a ‘game-changing’ blood test for stroke detection in the field Read more