Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


DU researchers find that headway being made fighting communicable diseases globally

Global chronic disease burdens are increasing rapidly

Those working for healthier humans around the globe are making headway in fighting communicable diseases such as AIDS, malaria and diarrheal illness, according to research from the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures in the University of Denver's (DU) Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

The center recently released the third in a series of five volumes that focus on human progress in which researchers explore topics such as education, poverty, infrastructure and governance. The latest book is Improving Global Health: Forecasting the Next 50 Years (Paradigm Publishers and Oxford University Press India, 2011).

The latest volume sheds light on a transition the authors see occurring in global health— a transition of disease burdens from communicable diseases to chronic ones such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

The Pardee Center provided funding for the 345-page book, which includes end tables that forecast the futures of 183 countries in areas such as health, poverty and education. Barry Hughes, director of the Pardee Center and one of the volume's authors, says those tables — at nearly 140 pages — contain the most extensive set of global forecasts anywhere.

"Because of great advances, the number of deaths globally from communicable diseases has fallen significantly compared to deaths from chronic diseases, which primarily affect the elderly," says Hughes. "This transformation is proceeding, and more rapidly and universally than most have realized."

Statistics already show a 50 percent higher rate of death globally from chronic disease than from communicable diseases, although there are still more years of potential life lost to communicable diseases because they kill more infants and children. By 2020, however, chronic diseases will even take more years of life than will communicable ones. The transition is both driven by and driving rapid population aging, even in developing countries.

Still, nearly 10 million children die every year, mostly from communicable diseases. Had children in poorer countries died at the same rate as those in high-income countries, there would have been about 9 million fewer child deaths that year.

"We're bringing the communicable diseases under control — malaria for example — with interventions such as more bed netting to protect from mosquitoes; AIDS death rates are also on a downward trend," Hughes says.

However, Hughes points out that some parts of Africa — particularly in the north and south — are experiencing higher obesity rates and rising incidences of associated diseases such as diabetes now that incomes are rising.

Another issue is environmental impacts on disease such as localized air pollution from the burning of solid fuels in poor countries. Hughes says they forecast a decrease in these problems, but disease related to urban air pollution and global warming is expected to increase.

Overall, Hughes says life expectancies are getting higher around the globe, too. "We're doing many significant things right," he says. "We've been good, for example, at attacking specific diseases such as smallpox and polio. On a global basis we've seen some great success."

Nevertheless, Hughes says barriers to better health that still exist include money and the knowledge and technology to develop vaccines for malaria and AIDS. What's more, he says, it's difficult to set up comprehensive health services to treat a wide range of health threats. Examples of those threats are maternal mortality and heart disease.

The volume's other authors include Randall Kuhn, director of DU's Global Health Affairs program, Cecilia Peterson, Dale Rothman and José Solórzano. The book can be downloaded for free or ordered online.

Hughes spoke about analyzing worldwide solutions at the 2010 TEDxDU at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Denver campus.

The University of Denver is committed to improving the human condition and engaging students and faculty in tackling the major issues of our day. DU ranks among the top 100 national universities in the U.S. For additional information, go to

TED is a nonprofit devoted to "ideas worth spreading." At TED conferences, leading scientists, philosophers, entrepreneurs and artists present their ideas in 18 minutes or less. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

Jim Berscheidt | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>