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 www.du.edu/newsroom.
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. www.ted.com
Jim Berscheidt | EurekAlert!
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy