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Weekly Health Digest: Improving Campus Mental Health, Samoa Measles Outbreak, Poor Diabetes Care, And Mosquito Interventions

Photo by Егор Камелев on Unsplash

A summary of important health news from the past week

UT Health Services Center hosts summit to improve campus mental health

By: Joseph Choi

On November 22, 2019, faculty and staff from University of Tennessee campuses gathered for the 2019 Academic and Student Affairs Summit to discuss prevention of worsening mental health among students. There has been an energetic push for mental health awareness after an attempted suicide by a student. The main prevention method was the “integrating campus institutions to better communicate with each other regarding what students are going through.” The hope is to lower the fact that the campus have depression rates 20-30% higher than the general statistic due to stress from student debt, academic pressure and job applications. UT students’ mental health is impacted by worries about societal issue like climate change, gun violence and inequality. However, faculty can be an outlet for the students to solidarity in.

Samoa measles outbreak worsens with death toll reaching 22


The current measles outbreak in Samoa is estimated to have killed about 22 people, mostly children under the age of 5. Close to 2,000 cases have been reported, causing the Samoan government to declare a state of emergency. Due to the outbreak, all schools have closed, those under the age of 17 are not allowed in public gatherings, and vaccines are mandatory. Nonetheless, it estimated that it takes around two weeks for vaccines to start working. While most people can recover from measles, the disease can cause life-long disability and even be deadly. So far, New Zealand has sent medical equipment and staff to help Samoa.

The Costly, Life-Disrupting Consequences of Poor Diabetes Care

By: Jane E. Brody

Diabetes is one of the most “misunderstood and poorly treated” illnesses. Many downplay the devastating effects of diabetes on the body. When it is not controlled, it can injure many important bodily systems and can even result in fatal consequences.  Despite advances in diabetes care, there has been little to no improvement in managing and preventing the chronic illness.  A recent study found at least three out of four people with diabetes do not sufficiently control the four major factors that increase the risk of harmful complications: blood glucose, blood pressure, blood cholesterol and smoking. These issues stem the stigmatization of chronic illnesses as unimportant or not as harmful which leads to inadequate medical care.

Infecting Mosquitoes With Bacteria Could Have A Big Payoff

By: Jason Beaubien

Tropical, infectious diseases like dengue and zika may be addressed by infecting mosquitoes with a particular bacteria call Wolbachia, which seems to block the transmission of bacterias within mosquito populations. This is particularly important as rates of these diseases are going up in some places. There have been some successful results in Indonesia and Australia and will likely be used in Brazil, where dengue has been on the rise.