Healthcare and Life Sciences Talking Points 26-02-16

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Chinese travel agents warn tourists about Zika infection

With the recent outbreak of Zika in China, Chinese travel agents are warning outbound tourists about the risks of infection spread. As of Wednesday, five confirmed cases of the virus have made themselves apparent, with three of those cases, reported in East China’s Zhejiang Province, originating whilst Chinese tourists were on vacation in Fiji. Exercising caution will travelling to high risk areas in South America has been suggested, and China’s National Tourism Administration has urged tourists to keep themselves up-to-date with relevant information on symptoms and risk. Training on virus containment has begun in Shanghai and research efforts are in the pipeline at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre (SPHCC). At this stage China are pre-emptively laying the infrastructure needed to deal with a health emergency of this calibre as they watch the situation unfold abroad. Click here for link.

Promising PCOS treatment found by Chinese scientists

On Monday Chinese scientists announced that they had found a potential treatment option for women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The syndrome, associated with chronic lack of ovulation and consequential infertility, is one of the most common endocrine diseases. Links  also exists between PCOS and insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemia, and cardiovascular disease. The treatment proposed uses brown adipose tissue (BAT) transplantation and observed improved ovulation and pregnancy outcomes. However, as the study is still in the early stages of development, with the testing being done on mice, and clinical application to humans is still a long way off. Click here for link.

Mental illness in small to medium business

Employees of large companies often enjoy access to employee assistance programs (EAPs) and across the board facilities to tackle mental health issues. However, it seems that this isn’t the case for small to medium businesses, with most of the effected individuals falling through the cracks. Seeing this gap, Associate Professor Angela Martin from the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics University of Tasmania has commenced research in the area and developed a suitable program framework. The program focusses on equipping small to medium business owners with inward looking tools to identify mental health issues amongst themselves and their employees. A second focus of Martin’s research centres around business development models that work for people with existing mental health issues. It’s clear that when health issues creep into business it can be personally and professionally damaging, and it should be talked about. Click here for link.

Salt intake on the decrease in China, but still a concern

A new study published on Tuesday in the U.S. journal JAMA has stated that despite the steady drop in national salt intake since 2000, the country is still not close to meeting World Health Organisation recommended levels. Targets set by the WHO for China are geared towards a reduction in total intake by 30 percent. Currently, the national reduction sits at 12.3 percent, a statistic that lead author Yongning Wu, of the China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment stated, was ‘not optimistic’. With high sodium intake associated with increased blood pressure and inversely heart disease and stroke, it’s no wonder China is placing so importance on this issue. Click here for link.