Philippines to beat its Millennium Development Goal for TB by 2015

TB Manila MDG

Recent surveillance found that yearly success rate for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) in the country to have exceeded the global annual target of 85%.

Researchers said, the trend suggests that the Philippines is very likely to achieve its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the World health Organization’s (WHO) Stop TB targets before 2015.
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Rabies’ evolution, key to eradicating the virus in PH

Rabies

Different types of rabies virus evolved independently in different parts of the Philippines, a news study found.

Researchers said research finding may help in control and subsequent eradication of rabies in the country.

Resulting to deaths of 200 to 300 Filipinos per year, rabies continues to be a major public health concern in the Philippines. As such, the National Rabies Prevention and Control Program (NRPCP) targets the complete national eradication of the virus by 2020. Continue reading

Governing Council Meeting

I have been really aching for not having the chance to post something on this site.

I blame this:

This is just a quarter of all the papers I had to prepare.

This is just a quarter of all the papers I had to prepare.

Paperwork for the Governing Council Meeting.

Basically, a Governing Council meeting or GC meeting is held by the agency to assess what sorts of projects to fund. Scientists asking for financial support for their research will have to present and justify that their research is worth spending for by the Filipino people.

The Governing Council, people who are experts in the field of health and health research, will see to it that only those that have huge potential for success and have huge benefits for mankind are funded by the National Government. This way we do not waste the limited resource of the sector. Continue reading

Manila Bay hotbed for drug resistant bacteria

pasig manila bay

Everything that goes down our drains will find its way to the sea, including the stuff we flush down the toilet. This quirky way by which humans pollute the water systems has shown to cause antibiotic resistance of disease causing bacteria in the aquatic and marine environment of Metro Manila, a study found.

Monitoring conducted by the researchers revealed sulfamethoxazole (SMX) as a major contaminant along the waterways of the Metro. SMX belongs to a group of antibiotic drugs called sulfanomides. It is a common medicine used for treating infection in humans and animals. It is believed SMX in the water come from manure and wastewater that are released to Laguna Lake and Pasig River, subsequently concluding in the Manila Bay area. Continue reading

Toxic wastes take toll on ‘healthy years of life’ of people in India, Indonesia and the Philippines

More than 8 million people in India, Indonesia and the Philippines live under constant exposure to toxic wastes, a study found.

Focusing on the impact to health of 373 toxic wastes sites researchers found that the economic opportunities lost because of premature deaths or disabilities incurred by the people due to the hazardous wastes is comparable, if not higher, to those caused by well-known diseases and other environmental risk factors.

By calculating the disability-adjusted life years (DALY), a measure of overall disease burden used by the World Health Organization (WHO), researchers were able to determine healthy years of life lost due to illness, disability or premature death. One DALY is equivalent to one year of healthy life loss by a person, which represents opportunities in life destroyed forever due to failing health or death.

The study revealed that toxic wastes sites are responsible to 828,722 DALYs or 828,722 years of life full health lost due the effects of toxic wastes exposures.

Furthermore, children or women of childbearing age constituted for 60% of the affected population. With many toxic chemicals affecting brain development in children and unborn babies, researchers insisted that children and women of childbearing age are considered to be most vulnerable. Heavy metals such as lead and cadmium, pollutants found to be of high concentration in the sites tested, are known to affect brain development in children and unborn babies. Other chemicals have debilitating effects on kidneys and livers, while several others, such as chromium and asbestos, cause cancer.

Result of the study emphasized the need for a concrete step to control the ill effects of pollution to human health, researchers said. Environmental remediation of toxic waste sites was recommended in order to remove the pollutants and rehabilitate the environment. While completely eliminating exposure to toxic wastes may be impossible, remediation of would help minimize amount of toxic chemicals on these site and reduce exposure.

Toxic wastes sites around the world are not only detrimental to the environment, but also to health. While global concern is growing, assessments on how these sites affect the health of communities around them is still limited or lacking in many developing countries. The study provided a rich resource for policymakers on how to manage toxic wastes sites and help affected communities.

 

Reference:Chatham-Stephens K, Caravanos J, Ericson B, Sunga-Amparo J, Susilorini B, Sharma P, Landrigan PJ, Fuller R. (2013). Burden of disease from toxic waste sites in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines in 2010. Environmental Health Perspectives. 121(7):791-6.
Image: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net

Croc on the Loose

croc on the loose

I thought I want to keep an aquarium on my desk. But then fish can be very difficult to maintain, so I settled for something that demands less attention – a crocodile.

Been planning for a long time to buy similar stuff, like say a model building or jet fighter. But the crocodile got my attention when I visited a bookstore last Saturday.

It was fairly easy to assemble. There was a paper enclosed with the set that gives a number to every part of the pieces so you know which one will connect to what part.

Filipino scientists seek to unravel mysteries of Kawasaki disease

Mysterious disease affecting children may be caused by infection, according to scientists from University of the Philippines – National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (UP-NIMBB).

Kawasaki disease is a disease that causes inflammation of medium-sized blood vessels around the body. Mostly affecting children below five years old, it is the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children such as abnormalities in the coronary artery. If left untreated, the disease may result to death.

First reported in Japan in January 1961, more than half a century later, scientists from all over the world are still baffled with what was causing of the disease. Some studies point out that the disease may be caused by an infection of a still unknown causative agent. Other studies hypothesize that the disease may be hereditary as it is commonly seen on Asian descents.

Results of the study on Kawasaki disease on Filipino children supported claims of that the disease may be triggered by an infectious agent.

UP-NIMBB researchers found that the T cells of participating patients were activated by a superantigen. T cells are a type of white blood cells that helps the body’s immune system. During an infection, the T cells are activated as response to the release of antigens of the invading germs such as viruses, bacteria and other infectious agents. While ordinary antigen can trigger only about .001-.0001% of the body’s T-cells, a superantigen can activate as much as 25% of the immune system’s T cells.

During the study, the UP-NIMBB researchers performed tests on the patients’ T cells. Results of study showed that all Kawasaki disease patients were found to have dramatic elevation of T cells, suggesting involvement of a superantigen. Researchers discussed that the result of study supported claims of other studies that the disease might be triggered by an infection.

Even though it was not able to pinpoint the infectious agent that causes the illness, researchers believe that the study has been significant as it the first ever to be conducted on Filipino Kawasaki disease patients. They insisted that because most studies were done to Japanese and Korean patients, studies on the disease as it relates to the Filipinos are unheard of. The UP-NIMBB researchers believe their research laid down the foundation for future studies on Kawasaki disease in the Philippines.

Reference:

Natividad, M., Torres-Villanueva, C., & Saloma, C. (2013). Superantigen involvement and susceptibility factors in kawasaki disease: profiles of tcr vβ2 t cells and hla-drb1, tnf-α and itpkc genes among filipino patients. International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics, 4(1), 70–76.

Filipino poor are more at risk of hepa B, study says

If two Filipinos are to be tested for hepatitis B, the one who is getting less annual salary is more likely to be tested positive than his richer counterpart, according to a study.

People usually measure the gap between the rich and poor in terms of what they can readily observe. One drives a car while the other commutes. One buys a house while the other rents. One dines at fine dining; the other boils instant noodles for dinner.

But a collaborations of researchers from various academic and medical institutions explained that evidence of gap between the two social classes may not be as obvious as the examples above, such as in the prevalence of hepatitis B.

A seroprevalence study of 2,150 randomly selected participants nationwide showed that poor Filipinos are disproportionately infected by hepatitis B as compared to others who have bigger annual income.

Describing annual income as the only predictor of the likelihood to testing positive in hepatitis B test, the researchers explained that the phenomenon reflects inequity in the access of healthcare.

Researchers discussed that health care services such as preventive vaccination are often neglected by or inaccessible for people at the lower socioeconomic levels. Poor Filipinos are more likely to miss or delay the hepatitis B vaccination (HBV), giving a window of opportunity of contracting the hepatitis B infection.

In a country where people living below the poverty line hovers around 27%, researchers insisted on the importance of government-subsidized actions that focuses on prevention of the disease.

Treatment and management of a patient with liver cirrhosis due to hepa B infection can range from US$185-1,321 in Asian countries like the Philippines. The cost can skyrocket to US$49,000-66,000 if the patient needs a liver transplant. Researchers lamented that the staggering cost of treatment, management and liver transplant usually falls in the shoulder of the patient with very little government assistance.

Arguing with the old adage that “prevention is always better than cure,” researchers insisted that focusing on preventive measures such as immunization programs would be more cost-effective to implement than coverage for treatment on full blown liver diseases.

Citing the success of immunization programs in decreasing the prevalence of hepatitis B infection in Northeast China and South Korea, researchers expressed their support to the Philippines’ Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), which include universal infant vaccination with HBV.

Reference:

Wong, S., Ong, J., Labio, M., Cabahug, O., Daez, M., Valdellon, E., Sollano, J., & Arguillas, M. (20013). Hepatitis B infection among adults in the Philippines: a national seroprevalence study. World Journal of Hepatology, 5(4), 214–219.