New in Exploring Health's longform vertical: Gillian Feinglass delves into the complex and often overlooked struggles of American apple farmers, juxtaposing the pastoral dream with the harsh economic and environmental realities they face.
With physical activity levels continuing to trend downwards worldwide, a World Health Organization (WHO) study has shown that people are in need of lifestyle modifications. The researchers recorded people’s activity levels at work and at home. Their results showed a distinction between wealthier and lower-income countries: the former seeing a larger shift towards more sedentary occupations and modes of transportation. Even still, physical inactivity proves to be “pandemic” and researchers agree that there is no simple solution to this worldwide problem. In this fight against physical inactivity, they are suggesting that “small changes” in daily life can help combat the lack of activity.
As climate change hurtles forward, wildfires are predicted to burn more frequently, creating cataclysmic scenes of smoke and ash that have already decimated California this summer. But very little is known about the health consequences of wildfires âˆ’ so scientists are making these natural disasters into natural experiments. They are collecting data from towns and a local primate research center that have been hit and are likely to be hit in the future, analyzing blood samples, respiratory function, and even donated placentas for clues as to how wildfires impact health.
Researchers are showing a renewed interested in an infectious disease model for Alzheimer’s Disease, which is a theory that was first suggested in the early 20th century. Some have noticed that the disease show similarities in pattern with infectious disease. Other researchers are interested in exploring the possibility of viruses, like herpes, which may combined with particular genetic combinations to contribute to the development of dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease.
The CDC recently released a report detailing the high incidence of STDs across the country, which many are considering a public health emergency. Montgomery County in Maryland has made efforts to address the high incidence of STDs in their county. The county will start stocking condoms at health centers it runs in four of their public high schools. Two Montgomery County officials are pushing to get condoms stocked in all high schools and middle schools as well.
â€‹Researchers are making progress in evaluating an existing drug, Ibudilast, in its ability to treat patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Ibudilast is approved in Japan to treat asthma and prevent stoke, but has not yet been approved in the United States. Researchers in a phase-II trial found that patients taking Ibudilast experienced a 48 percent lower progression of brain atrophy when compared to participants who took a placebo. Other research has pointed to Ibudilast’s anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its potential in treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as well as substance abuse and addiction.
Lawrence O. Gostin, Neil R. Sircar, and Eric A Friedman
â€‹This Health Affairs article discusses the role of the United States in hindering advances in global health initiatives due to its own corporate interests. The article points to a recent example from May 2018, when the U.S. threatened to impose trade sanctions on Ecuador if they continued to support a resolution that encouraged women to breastfeed. This was in the interest of the U.S. infant formula industry. The article focuses on past presidential administrations, but mostly focuses on the behavior of the Trump administration. Finally, the article concludes with how other countries can respond to these actions and continue to protect global health initiatives.