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!
Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways
28.06.2017 | University of Iowa Health Care
Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders
28.06.2017 | University of California - Davis
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine