Major health stories in the news last week. Apply Here for this job.
1. Nigerian govt disburses $49 million to Yobe, Osun under ‘save one million lives’ fund
Impressed by the outstanding performance of some states under the Saving One Million Lives Programme for Result (SOML-PforR), the federal government has disbursed more funds.
Yobe State was awarded the highest amount of the newly disbursed funds as it got $29 million (appox. N10.5 billion) being the highest performing state under SOML- PforR in 2018.
This was followed by Osun State which got $20 million (N7.3 billion).
SOML- PforR is a flagship of the federal government conceived in 2012 but repackaged in 2015 following a $ 500 million credit from the World Bank.
2. Exercise can help fight off Alzheimer
Exercise is a vital element of a healthy lifestyle; it helps maintain heart health, improve mood, and fight weight gain. New research also suggests that it can protect a person’s cognitive skills, and a new study uncovers fresh information as to how this can happen.
Medical evidence shows that there seems to be a relationship between exercise and the mind as 10 minutes of physical activities only may boost cognitive function in the short-term.
Meanwhile, exercising regularly for six months could actually reverse the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment.
The researchers came from institutions including the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University in New York City, NY.
They conducted the new research -the findings of which appear in the journal Nature Medicine — in a mouse model, and it suggests that a protein and hormone released during exercise might be the main factor behind slowing cognitive impairment linked to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Immunisation: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledges $75 million to Nigeria
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will commit $75 million to immunisation intervention in Nigeria over the next five years, the philanthropic organisation has pledged.
The country director of the foundation, Paul Bassinga, made the pledge in Abuja at the launch of the second National Strategic Health Development Plan (2018-2022) and the roll out of the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Funds.
The event at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa also featured the disbursement of fund to high performing states under the Save One Million Lives Programme for Results (SOML-PforR).
Mr Bassinga said the foundation was impressed with the improvement of immunisation activities in the country and as such will be using the money it pledged to strengthen immunisation, with the expectation that the federal government will honour its commitment to the immunisation basket fund.
4. First Lassa fever conference holds in Abuja
The Nigerian government will host the first Lassa Fever International Conference in Abuja to mark the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the disease.
Lassa fever, also known as Lassa hemorrhagic fever (LHF), is a type of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. The virus was first isolated 50 years ago in Lassa, a town in Borno State in northeast Nigeria, for which it has been named.
The conference, organised by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and its partners, will hold January 16 and 17. It aims to increase global health focus on a disease found mostly in West Africa.
Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria recorded its highest death toll in 2018 with 146 dead as at December 2.
5. Bill Gates warns that nobody is paying attention to gene editing
Bill Gates, a philanthropist and founder of Microsoft Corporation, has warned that nobody is paying attention to gene editing, a new technology that could worsen inequality across the world.
He recently described a cutting-edge scientific technique called gene editing as “the most important public debate we haven’t been having widely enough”.
Gene editing has been used in the US as a one-time treatment for disease, but a Chinese researcher recently said he helped create the first genetically edited babies.
Gene editing allows scientists to make powerful, precise changes to a person’s DNA, typically to fix a defective gene.
6. Malnutrition: Nigerian government budgets N300 million for ‘ready to use food’
As part of the efforts to curb child malnutrition in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has proposed about N300 million in the 2019 budget for the procurement of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food ( RUTF).
According to the budget breakdown, the RUTF will be distributed across the country, while part of the money will also be used to establish Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) sites.
RUTF are enriched food that requires no preparation and is specifically designed to treat severe acute malnutrition (SAM), mostly in CMAM sites.
Malnutrition, which can result in death, stunting, underweight and wasting among children under age five, has remained a serious concern in Nigeria as the statistics continues to rise.
7. Global war against polio eraducation far from over
The global war against the eradication of polio is far from over as 29 new cases were reported in 2018.
Unfortunately, there were more cases in 2018 than in 2017 (29 versus 22).
Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been free of polio—in fact they are the only two countries that have never been free of polio.
Political violence, rise of insurgencies and war has made it difficult to vaccinate children as families move around to escape fighting, which makes it hard to keep track of children and make sure they get all the doses of the vaccine.
8. Researcher find way of ‘coaxing’ stem cells to form new bone tissue
New research has identified a possible way to manipulate certain stem cells to generate new bone tissue. The results of this investigation could vastly improve the outcome for people with skeletal injuries or conditions such as osteoporosis.
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the potential to specialize and undertake any function
In a new study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, Aaron James and his team have looked into the mechanisms that allow certain types of stem cell, which are known as “perivascular stem cells,” to form new bone tissue.
The researchers conducted their research in a rat model as well as in human cell cultures, and they report their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.
9. Cancer: a new drug sponge may reduce toxic effects of chemotherapy
Researchers have developed an innovative, personalized absorber that can “catch” toxic chemotherapy drugs when they “leak out” of a treated organ.This could help reduce the adverse side effects of these cancer treatments.
A team of researchers from institutions across the United States — including the University of California (UC), Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) — has recently developed a tiny device akin to a sponge, which is set to absorb chemotherapy agents after they have reached their target.
The researchers have reported their experiments and findings in a study paper that has appeared today in the journal ACS Central Science.
The aim of the absorber is to minimize the toxic side effects of chemotherapy drugs, which, although they have a potent effect against cancer tumors, also attack healthy organs and tissue and can impair their function.
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