LONDON (Reuters) – Global life expectancy has risen by more than six years since 1990 thanks to falling death rates from cancer and heart disease in rich countries and better survival in poor countries from diarrhea, tuberculosis and malaria.
In an analysis from the 2013 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, health researchers said, however, that while life expectancy is rising almost everywhere in the world, one notable exception is southern sub-Saharan Africa, where deaths from HIV/AIDS have erased some five years of life expectancy since 1990.
LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists racing to develop vaccines against Ebola are trying to determine whether they can best fight the disease with a single injection or with two, a calculation that could determine how quickly and effectively a program can be rolled out.
Administering two vaccines, one after the other, would almost certainly give far greater protection than a single shot against a deadly virus that has killed more than 6,000 people in West Africa this year.
LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Drug-resistant superbugs could kill an extra 10 million people a year and cost up to $100 trillion by 2050 if their rampant global spread is not halted, according to a British government-commissioned review.
Such infections already kill hundreds of thousands of people a year and the trend is growing, the review said, adding: “The importance of effective antimicrobial drugs cannot be overplayed.”
LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Malaria deaths have dropped dramatically since 2000 and cases are falling steadily thanks to more people being diagnosed and treated and more getting bed nets, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
Yet progress against the mosquito-borne infection remains fragile and West African countries suffering an unprecedented epidemic of Ebola are particularly at risk of seeing a resurgence of malaria, the United Nations health agency said.
LONDON (Reuters) – Male smokers are three times more likely than non-smoking men to lose their Y chromosomes, according to research which may explain why men develop and die from many cancers at disproportionate rates compared to women.
In a study in the journal Science, researchers at Sweden’s Uppsala University found that Y chromosomes, which are important for sex determination and sperm production, more often disappear from blood cells of smokers than those of men who have never smoked or of men who have kicked the habit.
By Kate Kelland
LONDON(Reuters) – Spending $25 per woman per year on full sexual health services would dramatically reduce mother and baby deaths and give women the choice of smaller, healthier and more productive families, according to a UN report on Thursday.
The report, by the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA and the Guttmacher Institute, described “a staggering lack of basic sexual and reproductive health services in developing countries” which means 225 million women who want to avoid pregnancy don’t have access to modern contraceptives to help them.
LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have made the most comprehensive map yet of African genetic variation and say it should help them learn more about the role genes play in diseases such as malaria, hemorrhagic fever and hypertension in populations there.
Publishing the findings in the journal Nature on Wednesday, Deepti Gurdasani of Britain’s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said that despite Africa being the world’s most genetically diverse region, relatively little is known about potential genetic risks for disease among its populations.
LONDON (Reuters) – The first people vaccinated with an experimental Ebola shot being developed by Merck and NewLink have had no serious side effects so far, but a few experienced mild fever, Swiss researchers said on Tuesday.
The shot, one of several being fast-tracked through clinical trials in the hope they can be approved for use in the Ebola epidemic raging in West Africa, is undergoing initial human safety tests at the University Hospitals of Geneva.
LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Rapid evolution of HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, is slowing its ability to cause AIDS, according to a study of more than 2,000 women in Africa.
Scientists said the research suggests a less virulent HIV could be one of several factors contributing to a turning of the deadly pandemic, eventually leading to the end of AIDS.
LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – The world has finally reached “the
beginning of the end” of the AIDS pandemic that has infected and
killed millions in the past 30 years, according to a leading
campaign group fighting HIV.
The number of people newly infected with HIV over the last
year was lower than the number of HIV-positive people who joined
those getting access to the medicines they need to take for life
to keep AIDS at bay.