On this year’s World Hepatitis Day, WHO calls for a rapid action to raise awareness of the disease, and increase access to testing and treatment services. Globally, 400 million people are affected by a viral hepatitis infection -a number that represents more than 10 times that of people infected with HIV. According to WHO, it is estimated that approximately 95% of people with chronic hepatitis are unaware of their infection, and less that 1% have access to treatment.
Moreover, WHO has recently published guidelines for the screening and treatment of people with hepatitis C infection, providing recommendations on the preferred regimens, and encouraging the employment of direct-acting antiviral combinations when appropriate.
Besides the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva that saw the release of many reports and news, this was a week of a plethora of other articles and evidence published worldwide. Fellow physicians selected the most important ones and shared them on the Among Doctors network:
Management of Chronic Insomnia Disorder in Adults: A Clinical Practice Guideline
The American College of Physicians recommends that all adult patients receive cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) as the initial treatment for chronic insomnia disorder. (Grade: strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence)
- Comparative effectiveness and safety of strategies for preventing NSAID-associated gastrointestinal toxicity: Systematic Review & Metanalysis
The combination of selective COX-2 inhibitors plus PPIs provides the best gastrointestinal protection, followed by selective COX-2 inhibitors, and thirdly by nonselective NSAIDs plus PPIs.
- Efficacy, Tolerability, and Dose-Dependent Effects of Opioid Analgesics for Low Back Pain: Systematic Review & Meta-analysis
For people with chronic low back pain who tolerate the medicine, opioid analgesics provide modest short-term pain relief but the effect is not likely to be clinically important within guideline recommended doses.
- A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis of Dual Bronchodilation With LAMA/LABA for the Treatment of Stable COPD
Dual bronchodilation is better than a LAMA or a LABA alone, regardless of the drugs used.
- Blood-Pressure Lowering in Intermediate-Risk Persons without Cardiovascular Disease
Therapy with candesartan at a dose of 16 mg per day plus hydrochlorothiazide at a dose of 12.5 mg per day was not associated with a lower rate of major cardiovascular events than placebo among persons at intermediate risk who did not have cardiovascular disease.
- World No Tobacco Day 2016
For this year’s World No Tobacco Day, the WHO are calling on countries to get ready for plain (standardized) packaging of tobacco products.
- WHO releases report on Attacks on Health Care
Over the two-year period from January 2014 to December 2015, there were 594 reported attacks on health care that resulted in 959 deaths and 1561 injuries in 19 countries with emergencies.
- Prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus
An updated guide to inform the general public, and to be used by health care workers and policy makers to provide guidance on appropriate sexual practices in the context of Zika virus.
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The World #NoTobacco Day is an annual awareness day organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 31st May, aiming at highlighting the health risks of tobacco use and prompting governments to take actions against smoking. According to the WHO, while tobacco use kills nearly 6 million people each year, approximately 1 country in 3 has minimal or no restrictions at all on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
Over the last three years, the WHO has focused on the advertising ban, increased taxation and tackling the smuggling of tobacco products, all of which are actions based on evidence from epidemiological studies. This year, the World No Tobacco Day promotes the implementation of the standardized plain packaging of tobacco products.
Plain packaging is a proven measure that tackles consumption by making tobacco products less attractive to consumers, curbing the use of promotional material on the package, limiting misleading design techniques suggesting that some products are less harmful than others, and increasing the effectiveness of health warnings. The package should bear only the name of the brand and product name in standardized characters and dark colors.
The measure was first adopted in Australia in 2012, where early evidence suggests that it has begun to achieve its public health objectives. Since then plain packaging laws have been passed in France, Ireland and the United Kingdom, while several other countries are evaluating the implementation of such a measure.
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During the 69th World Health Assembly, the WHO announced the establishment of a new Health Emergencies Programme, which adds operational capabilities for outbreaks and humanitarian emergencies to complement the traditional technical and normative roles of the organisation. The programme aims at delivering support to contexts as they prepare for, face or recover from emergencies, whether disease outbreaks, natural or man-made disasters or conflicts.
Image credit: WHO/L. Cipriani
A year after the World Health Assembly resolved to eliminate malaria from at least 35 countries by 2030, WHO is releasing a World Malaria Day report that shows this goal, although ambitious, is achievable. Since the year 2000, malaria mortality rates have declined by 60% globally. In the WHO African Region, malaria mortality rates fell by 66% among all age groups and by 71% among children under 5 years. But reaching the next level—elimination—will not be easy. Nearly half of the world’s population, 3.2 billion people, remain at risk of malaria. Last year alone, 214 million new cases of the disease were reported in 95 countries and more than 400 000 people died of malaria.
Image credit: United States Mission Geneva – Flickr: World Health Organization Headquarters and Flag, CC BY 2.0
On the occasion of World Health Day 2016, WHO issued a call for action on diabetes, drawing attention to the need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease. The first WHO Global report on diabetes demonstrates that the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults. Factors driving this dramatic rise include overweight and obesity. In 2012 alone diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths. Its complications can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.
Image credit: WHO / Eduardo Martino
Today is World TB Day and WHO calls on governments, communities, civil society, and the private sector to “Unite to End TB”. WHO and partners are promoting dialogue and collaboration that unites individuals and communities in new ways to end the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic. 43 million lives were saved through effective diagnosis and treatment, 2000-2014, yet 480,000 people developed multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the world in 2014.
This week many of the shared updates focused on the presently ongoing, large outbreak of the Zika virus. Let’s have a look at the top news that were shared on the Among Doctors network:
- Zika virus: all the updates
All the latest evidence on DynaMed Plus, a map of the outbreak and the European Medicines Agency to provide support to global response on the emerging epidemic of the Zika virus.
- WHO joins the world in marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
More than 125 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of Female Genital Mutilation in the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the harmful practice is most concentrated.
- Recommendations for screening for depression in adults
Although major depressive disorder is one of the world’s great public health problems, the morbidity and increased mortality associated with this common illness can be attenuated by the large number of effective treatments that are now widely available. It is therefore important to ensure that efficient methods for population screening are in place and directly linked to health care systems so depressed patients receive appropriate treatment.
Plenty of news were posted on the Among Doctors network over the past days. Some of the highlights of what our fellow colleagues shared include the clinical assessment of patients with chest pain and practical guidelines for the lung cancer screening. Let’s have a more in-depth look at this week’s top updates:
- Clinical assessment of patients with chest pain: a systematic review of predictive tools
The risk of coronary artery disease can be estimated on clinical grounds in patients with chest pain in different clinical settings with high accuracy. The estimation of probabilities of coronary artery disease could be used for a better management of patients with chest pain and also in the development of future predictive tools.
- Lung cancer screening: a systematic review of clinical practice guidelines
The use of low-dose computed tomography presents an exciting development for high-risk individuals. Several expert bodies and governments have recently issued and updated their clinical practice guidelines for lung cancer screening. In this review the clinical practice guidelines are evaluated and the recommendations are compared between them.
- Smoking associated with increased mortality in breast cancer patients
In a prospective cohort study of over 4500 women with invasive breast cancer, patients who actively smoked prior to breast cancer diagnosis demonstrated a 25% increase in overall mortality compared to never smokers. Patients who continued to smoke post-breast cancer diagnosis demonstrated a significant increase in both cancer-specific and overall mortality. Patients who quit smoking after breast cancer diagnosis demonstrated a 9% risk reduction in overall mortality.