Latest Report on Health Effects of Climate Change

JAMA. 2017; 318(23): 2287
Author: M J Friedrich
“The report notes that the delayed response to climate change over the last 25 years has put human lives in jeopardy. It also emphasizes that health professionals have a responsibility to communicate the health threats from climate change to the public and to policy makers and that progress in mitigating these threats is essential to human well-being.”
Find article here.

Investor group warns U.S. farm antibiotic policy lagging

Reuters, 15 November 2017
Author: Lisa Baertlein
“The United States is falling behind Europe in the fight to curb the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in meat production and experts are warning of the possibility of dangerous drug-resistant “superbug” infections as a result, according to a new report on Tuesday. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the farm sector consumes around 80 percent of all medically important antibiotics in some countries.”
Find article here.

Genetically Modified Food Labeling: A “Right to Know”?

JAMA. 2016; 316(22): 2345-2346.
Author: Lawrence O Gostin
“For decades, small organic farmers, environmentalists, and consumer advocates have claimed the “right to know” what is in our food. They have expressed particular dismay that food labels fail to disclose that a product is or contains ingredients from genetically modified organisms. In such organisms, the genetic material “has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally… allowing selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another.” But large agribusiness has opposed labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) just as fiercely.”
Find article here.

Monash University defends greyhound killing, says research needed for heart transplants

SMH, 12 September 2016
Author: Broede Carmody
“Monash University has defended killing greyhounds in the name of science, arguing an experiment where dogs had their hearts removed and new ones inserted before being euthanased will have a “valuable influence” on the thousands of people around the world in need of a heart transplant.”
Find article here.

The Ethics of Infection Challenges in Primates

Hastings Center Report 46 (2016): 1-10.
Authors: Anne Barnhill, Steven Joffe, Franklin G. Miller
“In the midst of the recent Ebola outbreak, scientific developments involving infection challenge experiments on nonhuman primates (NHPs) sparked hope that successful treatments and vaccines may soon become available. Yet these studies pose a stark ethical quandary.”
Find abstract here.

Human-pig ‘chimeras’ may provide vital transplant organs, but come with ethical dilemmas too

The Conversation, 7 June 2016
Author: Jonathan Hughes
“We shouldn’t try to duck difficult judgements about weighing up human and animal welfare. If the risks can be sufficiently controlled, then it’s hard to envisage society choosing to forego the life-saving opportunities of this technology. But we must also recognise that the choices we face now are influenced by earlier decisions about research priorities, and that these too require careful ethical consideration.”
Find article here.

Address to the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly: WHO Director-General

Director-General of the World Health Organization, online 23 May 2016
“Member States have approved roadmaps of strategic actions for taking forward work on individual health targets. Nearly all these strategies and plans map out priority R&D innovations that will boost the prospects of reaching ambitious goals. Innovations help, but ambitious goals are feasible and affordable only if we cut out waste and inefficiency. We do so through integrated, people-centred care that spans the life course, from pre-conception through ageing, and brings prevention to the fore. The target for universal health coverage moves us in that direction. UHC is the target that underpins all others. It is the ultimate expression of fairness that leaves no one behind. It also has the best chance of meetings people’s expectations for comprehensive care that does not drive them below the poverty line.”
Find full address here. Find WHA Assembly (23-28 May) details here.

Preventing A Thousand Flints: Getting Reform Of Chemical Regulation Right

Health Affairs, blog 23 May 32016
Authors: Leonardo Trasande and Bruce Lanphear
“The contamination of water with lead in Flint, Michigan has rightly refocused national attention on the ongoing tragedy of childhood lead exposure in the United States. As John Oliver has rightly and wittily noted, water is but one source of exposure; another compelling tragedy is our ongoing failure to fund the control of lead-based paint hazards, which represent a large and preventable source of childhood lead exposure. …The costs of lead poisoning are likely to pale in comparison with a broader, unknown set of synthetic chemical hazards commonly found in the environment. There are over 85,000 such chemicals in widespread use, with over 600 new chemicals introduced each year. Yet the current law for managing chemical hazards, which was promulgated in 1976 as the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), grandfathered-in 60,000 chemicals that were already in use and gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) little power to require proof of safety for newly manufactured chemicals.”
Find article here.

Protecting human security: proposals for the G7 Ise-Shima Summit in Japan

The Lancet, Volume 387, No. 10033, p2155–2162, 21 May 2016
Author: Japan Global Health Working Group
“In today’s highly globalised world, protecting human security is a core challenge for political leaders who are simultaneously dealing with terrorism, refugee and migration crises, disease epidemics, and climate change. Promoting universal health coverage (UHC) will help prevent another disease outbreak similar to the recent Ebola outbreak in west Africa, and create robust health systems, capable of withstanding future shocks. Robust health systems, in turn, are the prerequisites for achieving UHC. We propose three areas for global health action by the G7 countries at their meeting in Japan in May, 2016, to protect human security around the world:…”
Find summary here.