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Welcome to our blog

Welcome to the blog pages of the Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London.

This site provides frequent blog posts from staff and students within the College relating to the various global health topics we are working on within the institute and Imperial.  It aims to be an arena for debate and discussion and we welcome your comments and suggestions.

We are always looking for guest bloggers (internal and external to the College).  If you would like to write for our blog, contact IGHI’s Communications Manager, Jo Seed j.seed@imperial.ac.uk tel 0207 594 1484

Ending stigma and HIV transmission

By Dr Julia Makinde is a Research Associate with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative at Imperial College London

It is estimated that there are 36.7 million people living with HIV globally with 1.8 million new infections in 2016 alone (1). This number represents an 11% drop in the number of new infections from 2010 . Some might consider this an achievement or a testament to the impact of strategic national and global policies aimed at tackling the epidemic. But in reality, these numbers mask the discrepant pace in the effort to tackle transmission and AIDS-related deaths in countries across the globe.

Early Diagnosis of Lung Cancer: a Pathologist’s Perspective

By guest blogger, Dr Yu Zhi Zhang (Dennis), Clinical Research Fellow and Specialist Registrar in Histopathology at the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI), Imperial College London; on behalf of the National Centre for Mesothelioma Research (NCMR), National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI), Imperial College London

The 9th edition of the renowned Osler’s Textbook on the Principles and Practice of Medicine, published in 1921, dedicated only two (out of 1,139) pages to lung cancer, at which point the condition was described as “New Growths in the Lungs”. Almost a hundred years on, the patterns of epidemiology have shifted drastically, and lung cancer now is recognised as a major health problem globally with more than 1.8 million new cases diagnosed every year.

Seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics

By Dr Timothy Rawson, Clinical Research Fellow, Esmita Charani, Senior Lead Pharmacist and Dr Enrique Castro Sanchez, Academic Research Nurse all from the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine

Antibiotics are a powerful resource that allows us to safely perform surgery, treat cancer with chemotherapy, and recover from infections that over 100 years ago would have killed even the fittest among us.

We are seeing however, a dramatic increase in infections with bacteria resistant to the killing effects of antibiotics (termed drug-resistant infections). These are antibiotics that until recently used to be effective. These resistant bacteria make many infections more and more difficult to treat – in some cases causing patients to die because we no longer have antibiotics that are able to manage the infection.

Using the evidence-based approach to better antibiotic stewardship

By Chris Bird, MSc Health Policy student at Imperial College and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at NICE

This week marks World Antibiotic Awareness Week, the theme of which is to seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics.

Antibiotic resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development in our world today. Antibiotic resistance leads to high medical costs, prolonged hospital stays and increased mortality.

It’s a subject brought home to me as I was lucky enough to study my MSc in the very same historic buildings at St Mary’s Hospital where Alexander Fleming first discovered the miracle of penicillin.

Antibiotic resistance is a true global health issue

By guest blogger, Paul Kiet Tang, Senior Assistant Editor at The Lancet*

Since its discovery and widespread use, antibiotics have been marvelled as a panacea that has revolutionised modern day medicine. Routine surgical procedures, childbirth, and open wounds are no longer associated with high risks of mortality from infections. However, the overuse and misuse of these drugs have led to increased concerns of antibiotic resistance worldwide, with up to 700,000 people dying globally from antibiotic-resistant infections. In the final 2016 report of The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance from the UK Government and the Wellcome Trust, this incidence was projected to increase to 10 million people per year by 2050, costing the global economy up to 100 trillion US dollars and pushing about 28.3 million people into extreme poverty.

Pharmacists – the new guardians of breast cancer care?

By guest blogger Chanice Henry, Editor, Pharma IQ

In the fight against one of the world’s most widespread diseases, new research has found that pharmacists are key in the optimisation of medical treatment for breast cancer patients.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer that occurs in women. In 2012 there were 1.7 million new diagnoses ­– which equated to 12% of all new cancer cases. Less than one per cent of breast cancer develops in males.

Despite its prevalence, death rates from this form of cancer have been consistently declining over the past 25 years due to better awareness and advancing treatment options.

The state of mental health in the UK: Where are we going wrong?

By Erin Hallett, Head of Alumni Relations, Imperial College Business School  

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Every year on 10 October healthcare professionals, advocates, patients and other stakeholders come together to raise awareness of global mental health issues and encourage efforts in support of mental health. The World Federation for Mental Health has set this year’s theme as mental health inthe workplace.  

Advancing patient outcomes through technological innovation – from science fiction to science fact

By IGHI guest blogger, Chris Bird, PG student from the MSC in Health Policy at the Centre for Health Policy and Project Manager in the System Engagement Programme at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

At a recent conference I was lucky to listen to a guest lecture by Dr Kevin Fong. Kevin has a long standing interest in human space exploration and space medicine and has worked with NASA’s Human Adaptation and Countermeasures Office at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston. He’s travelled the world to meet medical innovators and has produced interesting documentaries for television showing the extreme scenarios in which healthcare and technology can be applied to further human survival.

Discovering the medicines of tomorrow: Four lessons from failed Alzheimer’s research

By guest blogger Chanice Henry, Editor, Pharma IQ

Even though drug development for Alzheimer’s Disease has a steep failure rate, the lessons learned from failed trials are of great benefit to future research.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia – the irreversible loss of memory and other cognitive functions which eventually makes daily tasks unmanageable.

As the life expectancy of the world’s population grows, the Alzheimer’s is becoming more common. Estimates suggest that  the number of affected US patients will climb from 5.3 million to almost 14 million by 2050.

In the fight against this disease many have dedicated their careers to revolutionise how the neurodegenerative disease is diagnosed and handled.