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Face au risque épidémique

Didier Houssin, Odile Jacob, 2014

In his latest book, Didier Houssin, professor of surgery at Paris Descartes University and advisor to the World Health Organization, looks at how major epidemics have been managed in recent decades. He describes the increasingly global responses against AIDS in the 1980s, mad cow disease in the 1990s, SARS and bioterrorist attacks in the early 2000s, then chikungunya and the flu pandemic in 2009. The book aims to teach us about the future safety of the world’s population.

Promoting gender equality for lab rats

Article by Janine A. Clayton and Francis Collins, Nature

Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health who co-authored the article published in May, calls for more balanced gender representation in lab rats, which are mostly male. Why this disparity? One theory claims that hormonal fluctuations in female rats could skew results. The authors claim that this is unfounded and that the gender bias could have dire consequences on women’s health. Women suffer from more side effects and need drug doses better suited to their bodies.

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Never too old to be studied

Article by Donna Zulman and Keith Humphreys, “New York Times”

A US study showed that 40% of clinical research excluded people over the age of 65. Many researchers expressed concerns about age-related health issues that could distort results. The authors of this article disagree and argue that clinical researchers should select candidates based on criteria other than age. They believe that doctors do not know some drugs’ effects on older patients, because, for example, organ function changes with age. According to them, medicine must adapt to an aging US population, since more than 13% of people are 65 and older.

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David Sengeh

The sore problem of prosthetic limbs

“TED Talk” by David Sengeh

A researcher from MIT Media Lab in Boston, David Sengeh grew up in Sierra Leone, where a civil war left more than 8,000 amputee victims.He wondered why many amputees would not use their prosthetic limbs. Learning that prosthetics were often uncomfortable, he decided to help by developing a better adapted prosthetic model. With technology based on magnetic resonance imaging, he uses 3D printingto create made-to-measure prosthetic limbs quickly and cheaply. The first trials conducted a few months ago on US army veterans proved successful.