Category Archives: Global Health News

Falling Ebola cases turning point

There has been a “turning point” in the Ebola crisis, with cases falling in the three affected countries, World Health Organization officials say.

Just eight cases were detected in Liberia in the last week down from a peak of 500-a-week in September. Guinea and Sierra Leone have also seen falls.

The WHO said the figures were the “most promising” since the outbreak started.

But it continues to urge caution, and to highlight the need to find those who had contact with Ebola patients.

The largest outbreak of Ebola in human history has infected 21,724 people and killed 8,641 – largely in just three countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.


The Best Places to Retire in 2015

shutterstock_58717219The new year is here and with it comes International Living’s report, The Best Places to Retire in 2015. The report, targeting North American expats, features 25 countries all of which offer advantages to retiring expats. We will take a look at which countries offer the best healthcare options for retirees.

The countries making up the top five retirement havens are all in Latin and South America apart from one. Ecuador comes in first place, followed by Panama, Mexico, Malaysia, and Costa Rica. Of these five destinations, Malaysia scores the highest in the healthcare category with 94 points out of 100.

The countries are scored across eight categories including climate, housing and rentals, cost of living as well as healthcare. All 25 countries in the report scored above 70 for healthcare, we’ve mentioned Malaysia, the top scorer with 94 points. The other high scoring countries in terms of healthcare were Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay, and Thailand, all with 89 points. Read More>


Stress stops empathy for strangers

Stress is the reason why we find it hard to empathise with someone we do not know, researchers suggest.

In separate tests in mice and people, empathy towards strangers increased when stress hormones were blocked by a drug.

Playing a fun video game with a stranger was found to have a similar effect to the drug.

The Canadian and American research team published their findings in Current Biology.

Previous studies have shown that the ability to feel or share someone else’s pain is not something unique to humans. Mice can feel empathy too.

But in both species, empathy is stronger between those that recognise each other and all but absent between those unfamiliar with each other.

Stress levels have also been shown to rise in both mice and people in the presence of strangers.

BBC News

Possible Ebola cases flown to UK

Two volunteers have been transferred to the UK after potential contact with the Ebola virus in separate incidents.

Public Health England said the patients’ risk of having the virus was low and the measure was a precaution.

Authorities said the individuals – one of whom is Australian – had not been diagnosed with Ebola and did not currently have symptoms of the disease.

Experts emphasised the risk to the public was low and said the volunteers would be monitored for 21 days.

Australian authorities confirmed an Australian nurse was flown to the UK after a low risk clinical incident while working in Sierra Leone.


Poor diabetes care costing lives

Poor diabetes care in England is leading to avoidable deaths, record rates of complications and huge costs to the NHS, a charity is warning.

Diabetes UK says the disease is the fastest growing health threat of our times and current care models are not working to get on top of the problem.

The NHS spends a tenth of its budget on diabetes, but most goes on managing complications not preventing them.

The government says it is focusing on early intervention.

Long and healthy life

Diabetes is a chronic condition and, if poorly managed, can lead to devastating complications, including blindness, amputations, kidney failure, stroke and early death.

Best-practice guidelines say patients should get regular checks to ensure they are controlling their condition well enough to avoid future complications.


ALC Health commences new global claims service

1st January saw the launch of our new global claims handling service for both new and renewing customers.

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HealixInternational_LogoMany of the world’s leading brands including Panasonic, Shell, Jaguar Land Rover, Inchcape, CNN, Oxfam and the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office already trust Healix International to manage their international medical insurance claims and now you will be able to benefit from this exceptional VIP service and support.

Responding to over 450,000 calls for medical assistance each year and managing claims in over 190 countries worldwide, ALC Health’s new claims service ensures you receive the very best care – day or night.

If you would like to know more, contact ALC Heath and we’ll tell you more about our award winning iPMI products and services.

Elastic implant ‘reverses paralysis’

An elastic implant that moves with the spinal cord can restore the ability to walk in paralysed rats, say scientists.

Implants are an exciting field of research in spinal cord injury, but rigid designs damage surrounding tissue and ultimately fail.

A team at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) has developed flexible implants that work for months.

It was described by experts as a “groundbreaking achievement of technology”.

The spinal cord is like a motorway with electrical signals rushing up and down it instead of cars.

Injury to the spinal cord leads to paralysis when the electrical signals are stuck in a jam and can no longer get from the brain to the legs.


Vaccines move to Ebola frontline

Two promising Ebola vaccines will soon be tried on the frontline of the epidemic in West Africa, the World Health Organization has announced.

Trials in limited numbers of volunteers suggest the vaccines are safe and can generate an immune response.

Further trials on thousands of people will take place in Africa, including in healthcare workers.

It is still unclear how much protection against Ebola, or for how long, the vaccines might provide.

The two leading candidates – being produced by GlaxoSmithKline and Merck – are going through safety trials in the US, UK and other countries.

The WHO said they had “an acceptable safety profile” and they were ready to be tested on the frontline.

“The world is waiting for us to get Ebola vaccines ready and out to the people that need them in their communities,” said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant director general of the WHO.


New Ebola vaccine trial begins

Scientists at Oxford University have begun immunising healthy volunteers with a new Ebola vaccine.

In September last year a separate trial of another Ebola vaccine got under way in the city.

This latest trial involves 72 volunteers aged 18-50.

Initial tests in monkeys showed the vaccine, developed by Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson, gave complete protection against Ebola.

The volunteers in Oxford are the first humans to receive the vaccine.


Most cancer types just bad luck

Most types of cancer can be put down to bad luck rather than risk factors such as smoking, a study has suggested.

A US team were trying to explain why some tissues were millions of times more vulnerable to cancer than others.

The results, in the journal Science, showed two thirds of the cancer types analysed were caused just by chance mutations rather than lifestyle.

However some of the most common and deadly cancers are still heavily influenced by lifestyle.

And Cancer Research UK said a healthy lifestyle would still heavily stack the odds in a person’s favour.