As we canvassed news in global health and development this week, we found some reasons for optimism: advances in some medical devices, a different way to collaborate in research, and—potentially—a new use for an old vaccine.
Crowdsourcing reveals lifesaving potential in global health research
The Guardian, August 15, 2012
A growing trend in collaborative health research is creating potentially lifesaving global partnerships between pharmaceutical companies, academic researchers, disease advocates, and even the general public, who are drawn into the world of science through crowdsourcing. Read the article.
Where the world’s running out of water, in one map
The Washington Post, August 10, 2012
Many of the world’s most important food-producing regions depend on fresh water from massive underground aquifers that have built up over thousands of years. The Ogallala Aquifer in the midwestern United States. The Upper Ganges, sustaining India and Pakistan. Yet many of those aquifers are now being sucked dry by irrigation and other uses faster than they can be replenished by rainwater, according to a new study in Nature. The study, published by researchers at McGill University in Montreal and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, offers a map showing the regions where the use of water from these aquifers vastly exceeds the rate at which they’re being refilled by rain. Read the article.
New medical devices get smart
The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2012
For amputees like John Redfield, shopping for a new pair of shoes used to be a major hassle. Walking up or down an incline was as awkward as wearing ski boots. And going shoeless required performing a constant balancing act. But now, Mr. Redfield can adjust the heel height of his prosthesis—an artificial foot and ankle device on his right leg—simply by pressing a button on his smartphone. In some cases, the prosthesis will correct itself automatically. The prosthesis from Oklahoma City start-up Orthocare Innovations LLC is among a growing number of medical devices that aim to help people deal with health conditions in ways that previously required the aid of a medical professional. Read the article.
Diabetes may be reversed by long-used vaccine for tuberculosis
Bloomberg News, August 9, 2012
A tuberculosis vaccine in use for 90 years may help reverse Type 1 diabetes and eliminate the life-long need for insulin injections, say Harvard University researchers raising money to conduct large, human studies. Read the article.