Farming tropical insects to feed the world in 2050

Farming edible insects to provide protein for people and in animal feed is seen as a way to meet food demands of the world’s population in 2050. Dr Sarah Beynon, an entomologist, was a guest on BBC radio 4 programme Midweek[18th November 2015] & fellow guests were invited to try cricket flour cookies and mealworm burgers. She is on a mission to both educate the UK public on the importance of insects (including wasps and spiders) and to provide sustainable food by farming tropical insects. CABI’s role in ProteINSECT, the EU project trialling insect protein in animal feed, is highlighted.
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The sugar industry and the World Health Organization – still at odds

I recently attended the International Sugar Organization’s annual conference in London, hoping to hear Dr. Francesco Branca of the World Health Organization explaining the rationale for the WHO’s recommendations on how much sugar people should eat, and see what response he got from the assembled sugar industry representatives and how he responded to that. As…
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Migrants fleeing conflict: a trial run for mass-migration due to climate change

Faced with an humanitarian crisis taking place on their shores, EU governments debate how to redistribute Syrian migrants fleeing conflict. In 2009, international health and travel medicine specialists at ECTMIH (Italy) identified mass migration as a key public health issue that Europe needed to prepare for because of climate change. What lessons can we learn from handling the current migrant crisis to prepare for the future warming of the planet?
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TTIP and its potential impacts on health in Europe

Concern is rising in the European public health community about the TTIP trade agreement, an agreement being negotiated between the US and the EU Commission to reduce barriers to trade. While there may be economic benefits, the agreement could have a health and environmental cost. The public health and environmental communities think it will weaken the…
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Middle Eastern Respiratory Virus Syndrome strikes the UK

The UK has become the latest country to suffer suspected MERS cases: 2 cases in a Manchester hospital forced it to shut its emergency department [July 2015]. In May, similar events in South Korea [Republic of Korea], mishandled through ignorance and poor infection control within several hospitals, caused multiple outbreaks of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. This article discusses current research, the Korean outbreak, how it is spread via global travel and within hospitals, and asks where else could MERS strike? What would happen should MERS ever reach a country with a poor health system?
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Antibiotic resistance: how ignorance, lack of coordination with animal health sector and payments for drugs contribute

Antibiotic resistance is growing steadily round the world and threatening our ability to treat many infectious diseases. The World Health Assembly approved a new action plan to counter antibiotic resistance recently, sparking off activities in countries round the world. Several reports on antibiotic use and resistance caught my eye this week, while I was scanning…
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Health & Wellness: making a drama out of public health

Helping writers provide accurate health information in TV medical dramas delivers entertainment and added benefits of increased health (medical) awareness & wellness to the population. Stephen McGann’s essay (Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine) describes the steps taken by the writers, production team and actors of TV medical drama, Call the Midwife, to ensure medical accuracy and authenticity. Though set in the 1950s, he demonstrates that the series has raised health awareness in populations (health promotion): in the UK (diphtheria) and in Bangladesh, by providing advice on how to depict authentic birth scenes and show safe maternal health practices.
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World Malaria Day 2015: play a game and save a life

For world malaria day april 25th 2015, expand rapid diagnosis of malaria by playing the MalariaSpot online game, an innovative and successful exercise in crowdsourcing. All it takes is just one minute of your time!
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How to attract a blackfly – researching blackflies’ aroma preferences.

(Photo: electron micrograph of a blackfly with Onchocerca parasite, credit:USDA) The idea of sitting in a field and letting blackflies potentially carrying an unpleasant disease bite you sounds like a job best avoided, yet this is the way in which populations of blackflies carrying the river blindness parasite Onchocerca are monitored in Sub-Saharan Africa. Research…
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Ebola – the not so new virus

Ebola, now largely confined to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea claimed more than 9300 lives in West Africa in a year. I have selected key facts & insights from February’s national symposium “Ebola: The 21st century plague?" [Royal Society of Medicine, London, UK], held by international experts handling the epidemic. Covering the history of the disease, lessons learnt from 2014, and what strategies are in place for preventing future outbreaks, there was also an explanation finally as to why a rural outbreak became a regional urban epidemic, and an understanding of the complexity of medical volunteering and running ebola treatment centres.
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