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Scientists breach brain barrier to treat sick patient

The blood-brain barrier protects the brain against toxins.

Image: The blood-brain barrier protects the brain against toxins.

bbc.com - November 10th, 2015

For the first time, doctors have breached the human brain's protective layer to deliver cancer-fighting drugs.

The Canadian team used tiny gas-filled bubbles, injected into the bloodstream of a patient, to punch temporary holes in the blood-brain barrier.

A beam of focused ultrasound waves applied to the skull made the bubbles vibrate and push their way through, along with chemotherapy drugs.

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Maternal mortality falls by almost 50% - UN report

Maternal mortality has fallen by almost half since 1990.

Image: Maternal mortality has fallen by almost half since 1990.

bbc.com - November 12th, 2015

Pregnancy-related deaths have fallen by almost half in the past 25 years, according to a report by United Nations agencies published in The Lancet.

Around 303,000 women died of complications during pregnancy or up to six weeks after giving birth in 2015 - down from 532,000 in 1990.

Officials from the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the results showed "huge progress".

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Ebolavirus Evolution: Past and Present

PLOS PATHOGENS  by Marc-Antoine de La Vega,  Derek Stein, and GaryKopinger, University of Manitoba, Canada , Nov. 12, 2015    

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada The past year has marked the most devastating Ebola outbreak the world has ever witnessed, with over 28,000 cases and over 11,000 deaths. Ebola virus (EBOV) has now been around for almost 50 years. In this review, we discuss past and present outbreaks of EBOV and how those variants evolved over time. We explore and discuss selective pressures that drive the evolution of different Ebola variants, and how they may modify the efficacy of therapeutic treatments and vaccines currently being developed. Finally, given the unprecedented size and spread of the outbreak, as well as the extended period of replication in human hosts, specific attention is given to the 2014–2015 West African outbreak variant (Makona).

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http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1005221

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How Technology Can Help Reboot Ebola-Free Sierra Leone

submitted by George Hurlburt  

             

The new Sensi Technology Innovation Hub hopes to help the country rebuild after its Ebola crisis

cnn.com - by Peter Guest - November 7, 2015

(CNN) - Morris Marah was working in the Sierra Leonean High Commission in London when the devastating Ebola outbreak struck his country last year.

Desperate to help, he went home; first to volunteer in a community health center, then by applying his technology skills to build an SMS-based platform that disseminated weekly information and advice on how to avoid contracting the disease to more than 500,000 people.

"I felt, sitting in London there wasn't much I could do from that far away. I wanted desperately to come out here and see how I could be useful," he says over the phone from the capital, Freetown.

Working on that platform, called Sensi, and on other public health initiatives demonstrated how successfully technology could be leveraged for social good, and inspired him to look for ways to bring the country's small, but talented, tech community together to help restart the country's stalled economy.

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Guinea Releases Last 68 People from Ebola Quarantine

reuters.com - Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Digby Lidstone - November 14, 2015

The final 68 people who had been in contact with an Ebola patient were released from quarantine on Saturday, said a senior health official, raising hopes of an end to the disease in the last West African country with confirmed cases.

The world's worst Ebola epidemic, which hopped borders to kill more than 11,300 people and devastate already fragile West African economies, has already been declared over in Liberia and Sierra Leone. But Guinea, where the outbreak began, has had a more difficult time eradicating the disease.

Dr. Abdourahmane Bathily, head of the Ebola center in Forecariah in western Guinea, said the 68 contacts had emerged from quarantine at midnight on Saturday morning.

"There are no longer any people who had contact with a person infected by the Ebola virus," said Bathily.

He added that the last confirmed Ebola case was a baby in isolation, who should be released from a treatment center next week, allowing for the West African nation to begin its own countdown clock.

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Podcast - Epidemics on the Move

submitted by Carrie La Jeunesse  

                                             

foreignpolicy.com - by Amanda Silverman - November 10, 2015

2013 Global Thinker Caroline Buckee and FP Voice Laurie Garrett discuss how human migration — and the refugee crisis — poses an immense problem to treating disease.

CLICK HERE - Podcast - Epidemics on the Move

 

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How Much Did Ebola Cost Sierra Leone?

submitted by George Hurlburt

             

(Francisco Leong / Getty News Images)

cnn.com - by Peter Guest - November 12, 2015

. . . Before the outbreak, Sierra Leone was already heavily dependent on aid money. Around 50% of public expenditure programmes were financed by donors, according to UN figures. . . .

. . . Without growth and investment, the country will struggle to create jobs for its young population -- many of whom lack stable employment -- and rebuild public services.

The government's recovery strategy, which is supported by the international community, is about "building back better," says Sudipto Mukerjee, the United Nations Development Program's country director for Sierra Leone. This is particularly relevant to the health sector, which was seriously under-developed before the crisis began, and its weakness undoubtedly contributed to the speed with which the outbreak got out of control.

"When you're talking about the health sector, you're not talking about bringing it back to where you were at the beginning of the outbreak," he says. "That's not good enough. It's also about making sure that you not only build on the investments made so far, but you invest to make it much more resilient in the future."

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Global Communities ALERT Weekly Reports

Global Communities ALERT Weekly Report - October 2015 (6 page .PDF file)
http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00KR5T.pdf

Global Communities ALERT Weekly Report - June 14 - June 27, 2015 (8 page .PDF file)
http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00KN8X.pdf

Global Communities ALERT Weekly Report - May 31 - June 13, 2015 (9 page .PDF file)
http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00KN8Z.pdf

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How Ebola Spread: Map Could Aid Outbreak Responses

submitted by George Hurlburt

          

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Transmission network of the 2014–2015 Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone

livescience.com - by Agata Blaszczak-Boxe - November 10, 2015

A new map reveals the path that the Ebola virus took during the outbreak in Sierra Leone, giving a detailed picture of how and where the disease spread, a new study said.

The researchers made the map using a new statistical model, and they say it could be used in the future to improve the way help is delivered to outbreak regions.

"For a future outbreak, this is something that can be readily applied to help identify the regions that need intervention most critically," said study author Jeffrey Shaman, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The model could help authorities figure out where to best deploy people to respond to the outbreak, he said.

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One Year Later, Where Does the U.S. Response to Ebola Stand?

Location

United States
31° 43' 41.4012" N, 148° 32' 6.5616" W

kff.org - November 9, 2015

On Nov. 23 at 9:30 a.m. ET, the Kaiser Family Foundation will hold a policy briefing to take stock of the U.S. response with a panel that includes representatives from the U.S. government, highly affected countries in West Africa, and non-governmental organizations working in the region. In addition, the Foundation will release a new analysis of U.S. government funding for Ebola.

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