Vitamin B12 deficiency is a sign of severe malnourishment and can result in permanent damage to the nervous system. For women of child-bearing age, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to developmental defects in their unborn children. If left untreated, the deficiency could be fatal.
In the first study of its kind in the world, researchers from the University of Adelaide's School of Population Health studied more than 900 newly arrived refugees in Australia and found that 16.5% had vitamin B12 deficiency.
As many as one third of the refugees tested from Iran and Bhutan, and one quarter of those from Afghanistan, suffered from the deficiency.
"Although we were expecting to find a reasonable number of vitamin B12 deficiency cases in this study, we were not expecting to see such a significant problem.
"You would not expect to see this kind of deficiency occurring in the population of a typical Western nation. What we're dealing with here is a highly vulnerable population, people who come from countries that experience extreme food security issues, and therefore they suffer from a wide range of medical conditions.
"Screening for vitamin B12 is not currently part of the standard health check for refugees entering Australia, but based on the results of our study, we firmly believe this screening should occur," Dr Benson says.
"With the United States, Canada and Australia being the three biggest nations receiving refugees from the same source countries, it stands to reason that this health problem will also be strongly prevalent among refugees in North America.
"Health authorities in each of these countries should consider providing specialized health services to refugees on arrival and in the months following their arrival," she says.
Dr Benson says general practitioners also require specialist training in refugee health. "Because of the wide variety of health conditions they might bring from their countries of origin, refugees require a much broader spectrum of health investigation than GPs may be used to," she says.
The results of this study will also be discussed at the North American Refugee Health Conference in Toronto in June. Clinicians involved in the Refugee Health Network of Australia collaborated on this research.Dr Jill Benson
Dr. Jill Benson | EurekAlert!
Enabling technology in cell-based therapies: Scale-up, scale-out or program in-place
23.07.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)
FAU researchers identify Parkinson's disease as a possible autoimmune disease
23.07.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
23.07.2018 | Science Education
23.07.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.07.2018 | Life Sciences