Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Trying to eradicate a disease is a waste of money: researcher

15.04.2010
Biology research shows general health spending offers far better return in most affected areas

Eradicating smallpox was one of the greatest human accomplishments of the 20th century, but new research shows initiatives of this kind are not as good a use of health dollars as people might think.

McGill University Biologist Dr. Jonathan Davies explains that reducing the prevalence of diseases in areas most affected by them is a far more effective and efficient strategy than trying to eradicate them altogether, which is extremely difficult and costs billions of dollars. What's more, he said, new research shows that the most at-risk populations can be identified using just three variables.

A great diversity of local mammals and birds in a region, a large human population and ineffective disease control efforts point to a high-prevalence of disease. Climate plays a role in determining how many different kinds of diseases there are, but not how many people will suffer from them.

"Because disease is not restricted by political boundaries and local epidemics can rapidly transform into global pandemics, reducing prevalence in one part of the world will also benefit people everywhere," Davies explains. Recent flu outbreaks demonstrate how quickly diseases can spread to different parts of the world and the high cost of providing vaccines for millions of people. By targeting at-risk populations it might be possible to prevent global outbreaks and save money at the same time.

The research shows that efforts should be concentrated in countries with large populations, such as India and Pakistan, and areas where there is currently almost no spending on health care, such as Madagascar and much of eastern Africa.

In addition to the health benefits, the research team points out that disease affects human behaviour, the politics and political stability of countries, human fertility, global economies and more generally the course and dynamics of human history. The ramifications could be huge. "While it is clear that the distribution of diseases have, in the past, affected all aspects of human life, the degree to which these diseases will affect us in the future depends on the choices we make today in the global allocation of health-care dollars," Davies said.

Dr. Michael Gavin of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and Dr. Robert Dunn and Nyeema Harris, of North Carolina State University, contributed equally to this research, which was published online by the Proceedings of the Royal Society: B on April 15, 2010.

William Raillant-Clark | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.biology.mcgill.ca/faculty/davies
http://www.mcgill.ca

Further reports about: Biology Research populations smallpox waste of money

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>