Color & Control:

Global Health Watch

USA: The Joint Commission
Diagnostic Overshadowing
A recently published study that focuses on the issue of diagnostic overshadowing, the overlooking of medical issues by healthcare providers, while they are diagnosing. In particular this occurs with those living with intellectual/developmentally disabilities and is the assumption that their symptoms are related to their disability. Researchers suggest that this practice may cause lack of appropriate diagnostic testing and/or the failure to provide adequate healthcare services and lead to missed health issues.

Austria: Johannes Kepler University
Biodegradable Battery
Researchers at Johannes Kepler University have developed the world’s first stretchable and biodegradable battery that is water-soluble and can also be easily broken down in the body. This remarkable achievement will reduce medical waste by producing a product that is environmentally compatible and biodegradable. The materials the batteries are made with are harmless and already occur in the body in trace amounts. The researchers are keen on developing electronics and even robots with sustainable materials.

USA: Women in Hollywood
Filmmakers with Disabilities
Female talent living with disabilities face institutionalized barriers that are preventing them from advancing in their careers. According to a report published in Women in Hollywood, shows that while female filmmakers create influential content and produce independent films, only 17% actually hold industry positions. Female writers with disabilities represented only 1% of development/pilot writers and less than 1% of screenwriters in total.

Sweden: Karolinska Institutet/Nature Communications
Diabetes and Urinary Infections
A link has been discovered between diabetes and urinary tract infections. This study has shown that the immune systems of people with diabetes have low levels of antimicrobial peptide psoriasin (an antibiotic that is part of the immune system). Due to this, the urinary bladder’s cell barrier is then compromised rising the risk of multiple urinary tract infections. These results assist in the deeper understanding of infections in individuals with diabetes.

United Kingdom: JAMA Neurology
Parkinson’s Disease
Epilepsy and hearing loss are two early signs of Parkinson’s disease. Breakthrough data could help medical providers recognize and treat the disease at earlier stages. This is the first study to look at a neurodegenerative disorder in a diverse population and presents an in-depth analysis at how this disease affects people long before diagnosis.

Sweden: JAMA Neurology (Lund University)
Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s
Nearly 80% of people with Down syndrome develop Alzheimer’s disease between the ages of 40 to 50 years old, according to a recent study published in JAMA Neurology. A simple blood test can be used to detect Alzheimer’s disease with a high percentage of certainty. Researchers were able to find a biomarker in the blood that can detect the memory-loss disease as early as 20 years before symptoms are evident.

Canada: Patient Pulse Survey
Transparency and Access
Patients now want to play a more active role in their healthcare and the healthcare of their loved ones, after feeling powerless over health choices during the pandemic, according to a new survey of patients across North America. The Patient Pulse survey was created to gain insight into the trend of patients wanting more information than their doctors provide. The survey found 71% of patients said they actively research their own health conditions. Findings also found opportunities to develop stronger relations between patients and their healthcare providers.

USA: NYU Grossman School of Medicine
Psychedelic Drug Therapy & Addiction
Two doses of psilocybin (compound found in psychedelic mushrooms) have been shown to reduce heavy drinking by a significant amount when combined with psychotherapy. The investigation included 93 men and women with alcohol dependence. Test subjects either received 2 doses of psilocybin or an antihistamine placebo at random. Over an eight-month period, those who received the psilocybin reduced their heavy drinking by 83% (related to their drinking habits before the study began), those who had the antihistamine placebo reduced their drinking by 51%.

Australia: Australian and New Zealand. Journal of Public Health
C-Section Births
Scientists have found that children in Australia born by Caesarean section are at greater risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Given the popularity of C-section births has risen from 18.5% in 1990 to 36% in 2019 with a projection that almost half of the babies born in Australia will be by 2045, the study suggests the exploration of limiting Caesarean births.

Belgium: Healthcare Technologies
Human Tissue Drone Delivery
In a European first, hospitals in Belgium have started a pilot project using drones to deliver human tissues samples across their city centres as a means to save time. At the end of August, a drone flown by a private company travelled 800 metres from one hospital to another carrying a sterile flask containing human tissue samples for cancel cell testing. The EU is planning to adopt new rules regarding similar drone deliveries sometime next year.

USA: University of Missouri
Relational aggression is the most common form of bullying in youth that includes actions like spreading hurtful rumours and intentionally excluding peers from activities. Approximately 14,000 high school students in Missouri were polled to see if they agreed or disagreed with statements with pro-bullying attitudes, perceived popularity and relational aggression. This study sheds light on the social exclusion that youth often endure.

Finland: University Eastern Finland
Depression, Caregiving and Alzheimer’s
Over 60% of family caregivers of Alzheimer patients, who were already experiencing mild depressive symptoms during the time of diagnosis, one third of those have worsened symptoms even 5 years later suggests new research. Out of those caregivers with worsened symptoms, most were women caring for their spouse with neuropsychiatric ailments. Of note: the severity of the individual’s disease or functional ability were not associated with their caregivers’ depressive disorders.

Canada: University of Toronto
Newborn Health
This study, which is the largest of its kind, shows good evidence that babies who are born to women with disabilities have a greater chance of experiencing rare health complications and requiring intensive care. However, many of these health issues are preventable. The study looked at births in Ontario from 2003 to 2018. Researchers compared the 1.5 million newborns born to women without disabilities to 200,000 born to woman with a diagnosed disability.

Norway: University of Oslo
Music Connects Prisons to Outside World
Encouraging music as a culture project has been effectively used in Norwegian prisons for some time now. According to a music researcher who became interested in the project  music can be a  valued lifeline which makes a difference when people return back into society. Of note, individuals serve their sentences close to their hometowns and, as such,  music becomes a part of the connection they can continue to share with their community. Larger prisons even have their own recording studios and some actually host live concerts.

Spain: Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Autistic Adults have Lingering Motor Deficits
The impact of the pandemic has been shown to have a significant effect psychologically, especially for people who were already vulnerable. Studies show that autistic adults with intellectual disabilities reported more problems related to their overall well-being and specifically with their autism traits during the months of strict COVID-19 lockdown. Post lockdown these folks reported improvement in their executive functioning. However they are still bothered by ongoing motor deficits as a result of the lockdowns.

USA: University of Hawai’i at Manoa
Climate Change and Pathogenic Disease
Malaria, Zika, dengue, hepatitis, pneumonia and other known human pathogenic diseases can be aggravated by climate change. This alarming information is in a research paper presenting examples of the impacts of 10 climatic hazards sensitive to greenhouse gas emissions which include: drought, warming, wildfires, heatwaves, extreme rain, storms, floods, rising sea levels, land cover change, and ocean biogeochemical change. Researchers reviewed over 70,000 scientific papers for empirical examples about each possible combination of a climatic hazard impacting each of the known diseases.

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