global health
Ending Malaria Is Possible
April 25 marks “World Malaria Day,” which is celebrated every year to recognize global efforts to control the disease, to commemorate those who...

A world without malaria is possible, and may not be as difficult to achieve as one might think. Infection rates are already declining and effective methods for prevention and treatment do exist.


A new report shows that the refugee crisis hasn’t slowed down — and people don’t always end up where you think.

The flow of refugees is steadily increasing, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR). As of mid-2016, there were 16.5 million refugees globally, 5 million more than in mid-2013. More than 30 percent of all refugees as of mid-2016 came from Syria, the largest source of global refugees.

This growing refugee population brings many challenges. Because of school shortages in overcrowded camps, refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than non-refugee children, reports the UNHCR. Preventable, treatable diseases like diarrhea, measles and malaria threaten the health of refugee children, especially those under 5. And in many cases, parents aren’t able to secure jobs outside the camps to provide an income for their families.

CHART: Where The World’s Refugees Are

Charts by Katie Park

November 15th, 2016

Finally got around to reviewing the epinephrine/glucagon and insulin signalling pathways and typing up some biology notes. I’m trying out a new study method; rather than spending hours handwriting my lecture notes I’m going to type them, then annotate then with textbook readings and tutorials.
Bill and Melinda Gates make the case for investment in global development and vaccines
Bill and Melinda Gates released their traditional annual public letter, styled as a report to Warren Buffett.
By Melvin Sanicas

Bill and Melinda Gates released their annual letter, styled as a report to Warren Buffett on his investment of over $30 billion in their work. Bill and Melinda emphasize the value of global development and stress the importance of vaccines — which they call one of the best deals in global health.

The United States spends the most on health care per person — $9,237 – according to two new papers published in the journal The Lancet.

Somalia spends the least – just $33 per person.

The data covering 184 countries was collected and analyzed by the Global Burden of Disease Health Financing Collaborator Network, a network of investigators from around the world with expertise in various aspects of health care. In between those two extremes, the spending is quite literally all over the map. And the amount of spending doesn’t necessarily translate into better health care. For more insights, we spoke to Dr. Joseph Dieleman, assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation at the University of Washington. He authored the two papers, one looking at health financing from 1995 to 2014, and the other estimating future health financing to 2040.

Obviously, wealthy countries spend more on health than do poor countries. Overall, where does the money come from?

What Country Spends The Most (And Least) On Health Care Per Person?


Microscopic ‘cages’ could change the way medicines are delivered

Thousands of lives could be saved and millions of vaccines doses protected - by encasing them in miniature silica shells. 

Worldwide huge quantities of medicines, including vital vaccines, are lost because they need to be kept refrigerated. If they’re not proteins within them break down, losing effectiveness and even turning toxic. Breaks in the ‘cold chain’ are a major problem in many countries around the world and seriously impact on vaccination programmes in particular, because they rely on a high proportion of people in an area receiving an effective vaccine dose.  

But scientists from the University of Bath have developed a way to encase proteins in a silica shell, like a tiny cage. Amazingly this can keep proteins which would normally degrade at room temperatures intact at up to 100ºC, and when released they still work as they should. 

Lead researcher Dr Asel Sartbaeva (pictured) came up with the idea when she took her daughter to be vaccinated and saw the vaccines needed to be kept cold. 

She said: “Once the proteins in a vaccine break down and tangle up, it’s useless. You can think of it like an egg that’s been boiled – it can’t be unboiled.

“So the ability to store and transport proteins at room temperatures or even hotter would remove a major logistical problem for safely delivering vaccines and other medicines to patients around the world.”

Silica, which sand is made from, is non-toxic and inert. It’s also cheap and abundant. The research team hopes their method can be used to eliminate the need for refrigeration in vaccine storage and transportation - not only would this make it easier to get medicines to the people who need them, but it would make it a lot cheaper too.  

The team needs to do more work to get the technique, which they call ensilication, ready for clinical trials using vaccines, but so far the results have been promising. 

Images: University of Bath

Read the paper 


November 18th, 2016

Early morning biochemistry setup, and thinking about lab work. Tbh when my supervisor asked if I could be at the lab at 8am my heart died a little, but I’m eternally grateful that she’s taking me under her wing. I’m eternally grateful that she’s not using me as her “dish-washer,” that she’s teaching me the nuts and bolts of a research lab, encouraging questions, and encouraging me to do my own research. She actually felt bad for asking me to grab ice for her???? We need more researchers like this because lets be real even university level labs don’t cover a fraction of the knowledge you need to work in a real lab and that’s really a shame.
The Latest On Zika: Microcephaly, GBS, Transmission, Prevention
More than a year after being declared an international health emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed Zika no longer a public health emergency – an acknowledgement not that the outlook is improving, but that the virus is here to stay. Cases are still reported regularly - so far the WHO has documented cases in 76 countries and territories in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Western Pacific.

39 countries with locally acquired circulation of Zika virus since January 2007

20X more likely for pregnant women with Zika to have a baby with microcephaly

13 countries had an increased incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome coinciding with a Zika outbreak

26 additional species of mosquitoes may be able to transmit Zika

3 Zika vaccine candidates advance to human studies
Why Do Men Harass Women? New Study Sheds Light On Motivations
Researchers interviewed 4,830 men in the Middle East and came to some surprising conclusions.

Esraa Yousria Saleh was walking down El Hussein, a busy street in downtown Cairo famous for its souvenirs and tchotchkes, when a man in his early 20s made eye contact with her. He followed her, circled her, then suddenly — she felt a hot breath in her ear:

“I would like to put it all inside.”

Saleh, 28, a feminist and activist based in Egypt, was furious. Why did that man feel like he could look at her? Follow her? Say those lewd words to her?

A May study from Promundo, an international research group, and U.N. Women sheds fresh light on men’s motivations for harassing women on the streets in four areas in the Middle East: Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian territories.

“We know quite a lot about women and girls but nothing about men and boys” when it comes to harassment, says Shereen El Feki, co-author of the report and the author of Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World.


December 15th, 2016

T-minus 24 hours until I’m done first semester of second year uni :D Woke up early to finish lab work (buffers are seriously tough love) and to replace my gel electrophoresis needle (I think I accidentally tossed mine out). Some global health review today and trying not to freeze because the heat in our building keeps shutting off. A few years ago when the ice storm hit Toronto I was sitting at home in Calgary and thinking to myself “Ha! I’ll never live in Toronto” and look at me now.

In a suspected chemical weapon attack like the one in Syria on Tuesday, children are the most vulnerable targets. They are more likely than adults to die from chemical agents and to suffer injures. If they survive, they also suffer from the physical and mental trauma of the attack for far more years than adults simply because they have more years left to live.

The effects of chemical weapons are more devastating for kids for a number of reasons. “Because kids are smaller, there’s a higher impact on a smaller body,” said Dr. Steven Hinrichs, director of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. A smaller dose of a chemical agent can do more damage to their organs.

Why Children Face The Greatest Danger From Chemical Weapons

Photo: Mohamed Al-Bakour/AFP/Getty Images


Trump’s “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” goes farther than Global Gag Rule

  • Under the guise of “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance,” Trump’s newly renamed version of the Mexico City Policy will reportedly offer nearly $9 billion in funding to health care organizations around the world, provided those organizations don’t offer abortion services.
  • “The pro-life policy will apply to global health assistance funding for international health programs, such as those for HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, global health security and family planning and reproductive health,” an unnamed White House source allegedly told the Christian Broadcasting Network, which reported that the State Department would announce the policy Monday.
  • The policy is a rebrand of what has historically been referred to as the Global Gag Rule. Read more (5/15/17)

In her first running of the Boston Marathon, Edna Kiplagat powered across the finish line of the Boston Marathon this month nearly a minute ahead of her closest rival. Kiplagat made the 26.2 mile outing look like a spirited jog in the park. She even clocked a blazingly fast 5:02 minute mile at the 20-mile mark of Boston’s storied road race.

And now, as she does after every major race, she’s taking two weeks off.

“I’m in my second week of that right now relaxing at home with my husband,” she says when reached by phone at her farm outside Eldoret, Kenya, in the western highlands. “In the afternoon, we take our children to play. My son likes golf. And my daughter likes swimming. We take them to the Eldoret Club for two hours, then come home.”

Boston Champ Juggles Marathons, 5 Kids, Kenyan Farm

Photo: John Tlumacki/Boston Globe via Getty Images

I believe everybody can have a role in this society and that everybody can fight for others with the intention of helping them. So, this is gonna be about our potential to fight throught astrology BUT REMEMBER, YOU CAN FIGHT FOR EVERYTHING YOU WANT.

Mars in the 1st house\Aries: You have the potential to fight for the ones who can’t find their identidy and/or have self-issues.

Mars in the 2nd house\Taurus: You have the potential to fight for everybody safety, to fight for the value of everybody in the society and to fight for everybody needs.

Mars in the 3rd house\Gemini: You have the potential to fight for the ones who don’t have a voice or who are afraid to speak or the ones that don’t have a good environment.

Mars in the 4th house\Cancer: You have the potential to fight for a safe home that provides you all you need to grow and protection.

Mars in the 5th house\Leo: You have the potential to fight for the pleasures that everybody deserves and the moments of joy.

Mars in the 6th house\Virgo: You have the potential to fight for a job for everybody, for a routine, for global health and for the moment where everybody will work together.

Mars in the 7th house\Libra: You have the potential to fight for equality and fairness as well as good relationships with everybody.

Mars in the 8th house\Scorpio: You have the potential to fight for the things that most people are afraid to talk about and are considered taboo.

Mars in the 9th house\Sagittarius: You have the potential to fight for human rights and for everybody beliefs.

Mars in the 10th house\Capricorn: You have the potential to fight for the goals people want to reach and the things they want to conquer in life.

Mars in the 11th house\Aquarius: You have the potential to fight for the crowd and for the society wishes.

Mars in the 12th house\Pisces: You have the potential to fight for the ones who are exclude from the society.

While I was writing this I thought about how much Mars can help Saturn because Saturn represents our doubts and Mars can give us energy and power to overcome them.