Pneumothorax is a common condition which can affect anyone where air leaks from the lung and causes lung collapse. Researchers from the Clinical Trials Support Unit and Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit have conducted the world’s largest ever analysis of pneumothorax (over 170,000 cases) using hospital records, and demonstrated that this condition is increasing. The reasons for this are not clear, but provide important data on trends in this disease, and highlight the need for further research in to treatment and prevention
Disease processes can switch genes on or off in a cell and this can alter the progress of the disease. In studying the control of immune genes, Chris O’Callaghan and colleagues have discovered a new form of regulation in human genes—interacting control elements within an individual gene can flip the switch on the gene in the opposite direction to that expected.
A study from Bangkok by Professor Wirichada Pan-Ngum and colleagues shows accessing households for proper spraying was a problem for control dengue outbreaks. In addition, inefficient communications among the sectors from hospital to district offices led to inaccurate or missing patient addresses for spraying. Involving community networks help to improve public engagement with and participation in the programmes.
The leading Oxford’s chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine platform has been engineered as a Zika vaccine, opening the door to clinical trials at the University of Oxford and Mexico. The development was published in Nature Communications in a multinational team effort lead by Prof. Arturo Reyes-Sandoval, the Jenner Institute (NDM) in collaboration with Imperial College London, University of Glasgow, Harvard Medical School, and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil.
The prevalence of malignant pleural effusion is increasing worldwide, but prognostic biomarkers to plan treatment and to understand the underlying mechanisms of disease progression remain unidentified. The PROMISE study was designed with the objectives to discover, validate, and prospectively assess biomarkers of survival and pleurodesis response in malignant pleural effusion and build a score that predicts survival.
The Malaria Atlas Project has created a global map of the travel time to urban centers for the year 2015. Cities concentrate activities that promote human wellbeing including education, employment, and healthcare services. The accessibility map provides a useful dataset for identifying populations with limited access to cities and are thus at risk of being left behind.
Kartika Karaswati, Stuart Blacksell and colleagues reviewed the diagnostic accuracy of the available scrub typhus point-of-care tests, feasible to be used in resource limited settings. Although the available evidence is varied in methodology and quality, POCTs appear to have low false positive rates, thus confidence in interpreting a positive result can be high.
Researchers in Ireland, the UK, including Roman Fischer and Benedikt Kessler from the Target Discovery Institute and US have discovered a new metabolic process in the body that can switch off inflammation. “itaconate” – a molecule derived from glucose – “acts as a powerful off switch for macrophages”, thereby reducing inflammation. The discovery published in Nature offers more effective treatment of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and heart disease.
Blood from patients treated with ivermectin can kill mosquitos. Our results indicate that ivermectin mass drug administration to humans could be a potential malaria control tool to aid malaria elimination efforts in South America.