Healthcare & Lifescience Talking Points | 28/09/2017

In today’s talking points: Billions of yuan given to HIV/AIDS control and treatment in China last year; Researchers find smartphone-apps useful for managing depression; Smog in Northern China cuts life expectancy by 3 years when compared to Southern China.


Billions of yuan given to HIV/AIDS control and treatment in China last year

More than 4.5 billion yuan was poured into HIV/AIDS control and treatment in China last year, where hundreds of thousands of people live with the disease. At the 2017 National Conference on HIV/AIDS, held in Guangzhou this week, National Health and Family Planning Commission deputy chief Wang Guoqiang said China had set-up an initial network of preventative services, with the government spending 4.6 billion yuan in 2016. This comprised of HIV testing, treatment and follow-up monitoring.

According to Xinhua, Wang said China had nearly “entirely prevented” the virus being spread in the country via needle-sharing, illegal blood transfusions, and mother-to-child transmissions. As of the end of June, China had nearly 420,000 infected with HIV, as well as 300,000 AIDS patients.

Read more at: Xinhua


Researchers find smartphone-apps useful for managing depression

A new study has revealed how smartphone apps can serve as an effective tool for managing depression. A band of researchers from institutes including Harvard Medical School and Australia’s Black Dog Institute revised 18 randomised controlled trials, examining the value of smartphone-based treatments for mental health conditions.

The study, published in World Psychiatry, found that, overall, smartphone apps considerably decreased patient’s symptoms of depression. The paper’s lead author, National Institute of Complementary Medicine postdoctoral research fellow Joseph Firth said the findings were important as it meant smartphone devices were capable of offering “instantly accessible and highly effective treatments for depression”

Read more at: Gizmodo


Smog in Northern China cuts life expectancy by 3 years when compared to Southern China

Air pollution from coal-fired winter heating has reduced life expectancy in northern China by more than three years compared with the south, according to a new study by  the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC). Average lifespans north of the Huai River, where China supplies mostly coal-fired winter heating, were 3.1 years lower than in the south, which is not covered by the state heating policy. Long term smog exposure is given as the main reason for the difference. According to EPIC, if China were to comply with World Health Organization air quality standards, its people could live 3.5 years longer on average.

Read more at: Thomson Reuters