Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) represents a group of lifelong neurodevelopmental disorders emerging during early childhood and interfering with a person’s ability to socially relate to and interact with others.
As of 2010, there were an estimated 52 million cases of ASD worldwide, representing a substantial increase over the past 40 years. Meanwhile, the economic impact of ASD in the United States (US) alone – based on direct medical, direct non-medical and productivity costs – reached an estimated $268 billion in 2015, a figure that is expected to rise to $461 billion by 2025. ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders also affect the quality of life of those with the conditions, as well as of their families and caregivers.
By Nikita Rathod, Communications and Events Assistant, Institute of Global Health Innovation
Today marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Historically, the date of the 25th of November was designated as an awareness day in December 1999 by the United Nations General Assembly through resolution 54/134. The aim of the day was to increase worldwide awareness and create opportunities for discussion about challenges and solutions.
By Dr Enrique Castro Sanchez and Dr Bryony Dean Franklin, Centre for Patient Safety and Translational Research (PSTRC), Imperial College London
In the last few months we have seen increased attention and alliances around the world to develop interventions to address the challenge presented by drug-resistant infections. For example, a landmark declaration at the United Nations General Assembly on the matter of Antimicrobial Resistance was signed by 193 countries, providing a historic opportunity for experts, governments and citizens to collaborate on a global response to this worldwide threat to patient safety. Only the fourth time in history that a health topic had been at the centre of attention at the UN, the meeting supported commitment of adequate resources to guarantee a much needed sustained and robust response.
By Dr Olga Kostopoulou, Reader in Medical Decision Making and Professor Brendan Delaney, Chair in Medical Informatics and Decision Making at Imperial College London
Combatting antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is high on policy agendas internationally. One of the key means advocated is judicious antibiotic prescribing. Over 80% of all NHS antibiotic prescriptions are issued in primary care, where despite numerous campaigns, mandates and financial incentives, rates have fallen only slightly in the past year. Acute respiratory infections and associated complications, such as pneumonia, are the commonest justification for primary care antibiotic use, despite strong evidence of small to modest symptomatic benefits.
By Eve MacKinnon, PhD candidate at University College London
To mark World Toilet Day on Saturday 19 November, guest blogger Eve MacKinnon takes a look at the developing innovation in sanitation.
In 2015 Google held a technology festival in South Africa aiming to develop ways to digitify billions of people in the continent, who as yet unconnected are a significant potential new market for their products and therefore hugely valuable for future growth.
By Student Challenges Competition 2015/16 Audience Choice Award winners, Antonios Chronopoulos and Tyler Lieberthal
Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all major cancers and is widely regarded as a death sentence. The 5-year survival rate is still in the single digits at 3% and this figure has not changed over the past four decades largely due to lack of specific therapies and inability of early detection. Symptoms rarely develop with early disease, which translates to more than 85% of patients receiving their diagnosis at an advanced stage when the tumour is metastatic and no longer treatable. Modern imaging techniques, such as CT and MRI are expensive and unable to detect early-stage lesions.
By Sabine Vuik, Policy Fellow and Head of Analytics, Centre for Health Policy, Institute of Global Health Innovation
Big data and advanced data mining methods are becoming a crucial element of everyday life, business and research. The new insights that these methods can provide have allowed many different industries to find new opportunities, products and markets.
The new EPSRC Centre for Mathematics of Precision Healthcare which will launch on Wednesday 23rd November, aims to bring these methods into healthcare.
Precision Healthcare uses big data and mathematics to provide unprecedented insights into individual and population health. The Centre will link up mathematical, computational and medical departments from Imperial, to bridge traditional silos and drive innovation in this area.
By Professor Desmond Johnston, Vice Dean (Education) for the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London
The prevalence of diabetes has increased dramatically in recent years and in some countries this is still occurring. The increase applies mainly to type 2 diabetes but there are indications that the prevalence of type 1 diabetes is also rising. Diabetes of either type has major personal and societal implications, being associated with an inevitable requirement for some modification of lifestyle, living in the shadow of serious complications such as circulatory disorders and disease of the eyes and kidneys, and ultimately reduced life expectancy.
By Dr John O’Donoghue, Senior Lecturer in eHealth & Deputy Director of Imperial’s Global eHealth Unit
The last week has been very busy in Mzuzu, northern Malawi. Scientists there have been packing blood and urine samples collected from 506 children with pneumonia in preparation for shipment to Dublin, Ireland. These samples will travel 12,000km at -80oC with constant monitoring of their temperature and dry ice being packed around them at stops along the journey to ensure they remain frozen in the warm heat of Africa as they travel across the African and European continents.
Over the past twelve months the researchers from the gHealth Research group based in University College Dublin, Queens University Belfast & Imperial College London have been working with colleagues in Malawi to collect these samples.
By Harriet Gliddon, winner of the IGHI Student Challenges Competition 2015-16
During March 2016, I blogged for IGHI on World TB Day about my experiences of entering the Student Challenges Competition.
The intervening six months have been busier than I could have imagined, and filled with things like delivering an invited talk at the Biosensors Summit in Sweden, submitting my PhD thesis and completing an internship at the World Health Organization.
Despite the chaos, I’ve managed to make some exciting advances with the nanomaterial-based diagnostic test for TB that I presented at the Student Challenges Competition. One component of this work has focused on validating the genetic markers that are the biological targets, or biomarkers, of the test.