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36 news posts in Frontiers in Public Health

Featured news

16 Oct 2023

Chronic pain may increase dementia risk: Here are five Frontiers articles you won’t want to miss

by Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: At Frontiers, we bring some of the world’s best research to a global audience. But with tens of thousands of articles published each year, it’s impossible to cover all of them. Here are just five amazing papers you may have missed. Chronic pain associated with increased dementia risk Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) make up approximately 80% of the more than 47 million cases of dementia worldwide. Looking into the future, cases are expected to increase sharply in the coming decades. A large percentage of the older population is also affected by chronic pain, a leading cause of disability that shares many risk factors with ADRD. These include advanced age, depressive disorders, diabetes, obesity, social isolation, and a low level of education. Now, researchers in France have assessed the impact of chronic pain on the incidence of ADRD. They published their results in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. They found that the presence of chronic pain is associated with a higher incidence and risk of developing ADRD when compared with older adults with no chronic pain. The researchers stressed the importance of prevention, diagnosis, and management of chronic pain to limit resulting […]

Prof Yasuda pictured at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Image: Hiroshi Yasuda.

Featured news

24 Jul 2023

Meet a scientist who studies how to save lives in a nuclear disaster

by Prof Hiroshi Yasuda/Angharad Brewer Gillham, Frontiers science writer Prof Yasuda pictured at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Image: Hiroshi Yasuda. Prof Hiroshi Yasuda has been studying the consequences of radioactive contamination since he was a student at Kyoto University, inspired by the Chernobyl accident of April 1986. A pioneer of research into radiological protection for astronauts and aircraft crew members, he has worked for international bodies such as the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as an expert on radiological impact assessment. After the Fukushima Daiichi accident of March 2011, he led the effort to assess the exposure to radiation of Fukushima residents, and led the official report on the accident for the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). He now works at Hiroshima University, continuing his research and teaching a new generation of students about radiation sciences. Yasuda is the author of a new article in Frontiers in Public Health which discusses how best to protect hospital patients during nuclear emergencies, and has kindly taken the time to share some thoughts about his career and research as part of the Frontiers Scientist series. What inspired you to become a researcher? […]


Featured news

18 Jul 2023

Smiles all round: clinical trial shows that a toothpaste containing synthetic tooth minerals can prevent cavities as effectively as fluoride

by Angharad Brewer Gillham, Frontiers science writer Image/ Scientists studying alternatives to fluoride toothpastes tested out hydroxyapatite toothpaste, which is already known to help people who are at particular risk for cavities or have trouble with dental sensitivity and periodontitis, but which hasn’t been trialed in adults with healthy teeth. Patients used either a hydroxyapatite toothpaste or a fluoride toothpaste for 18 months. At the end of this period, the patients using hydroxyapatite toothpaste were no more likely to develop cavities than the patients using fluoride. Brushing twice a day keeps the dentist away – but can we improve on the toothpaste we use to maintain clean teeth, preventing medical issues that spiral from poor dental health? Most toothpastes use fluoride, a powerful tool for oral hygiene. However, fluoride can pose health problems in some cases, especially for children who consume too much fluoride by swallowing most of their toothpaste: children normally use only a tiny dose of toothpaste to avoid these problems, but that reduces toothbrushing efficacy. In the search for alternatives, a team of international scientists and Polish clinicians have identified a hydroxyapatite toothpaste that works just as well as fluoride toothpaste to protect against cavities. “Hydroxyapatite is […]


15 Mar 2023

What does flattery do to our brains? Here are five Frontiers articles you won’t want to miss

By Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: At Frontiers, we bring some of the world’s best research to a global audience. But with tens of thousands of articles published each year, it’s impossible to cover all of them. Here are just five amazing papers you may have missed. What praise and flattery does to our brains Both sincere praise and flattery are rewarding in different ways, but the various effects of these types of praise are not obvious. Now, researchers from Japan have published an article in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in which they examined the brain activity of participants who received sincere praise or flattery after performing a visual search task. Using neuroimaging, the researchers found different effects of praise. The activation of the part of the brain modulating reward and pleasure processing was higher when participants received sincere praise than when they received flattery. The scientists also observed a socio-emotional effect, based on the positive feedback conveyed by praise. Altogether, they found that the neural dynamics of the rewarding and socio-emotional effects of different types of praise differ. Article link: Fish bone matrix may help heal bone defects Biocompatibility and osteogenic activity are properties of decalcified bone […]

Featured news

13 Dec 2022

The (un)fair allocation of scarce vaccines and how maths can provide a solution

By Prof Carlos Alós-Ferrer Prof Carlos Alós-Ferrer. Image: Nomis Foundation The Covid-19 global vaccine roll-out is considered one of the greatest achievements in modern medical history, saving hundreds of thousands of lives. However, it was marred by decisions that saw those most in need of a vaccine in some countries wait too long, while those perceived to be least at risk getting them first. Now, Prof Carlos Alós-Ferrer of the University of Zurich writes about how he and his colleagues’ latest research in Frontiers in Public Health shows that one maths procedure can ensure a fair distribution of scarce vaccines across the globe. Remember when Covid-19 vaccines first became available? After many months of lockdowns and  increasing casualty rates, people across the planet were allowed to exhale a collective sigh of relief.  However, as is always the case when new vaccines are developed, there were not enough doses for all who wanted them. Rationing had to be imposed. Unfortunately, the rationing procedures violated elementary ethical principles, which might have led to some elderly and at-risk patients being neglected while younger, healthier citizens were already vaccinated. How did it go wrong? Vaccine acquisition and allocation across the world was as centralized […]


Climate action

29 Sep 2022

UK politicians lack awareness of the links between climate change and mental health

By Lucy T Pirkle from the Department of Brain Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK Image credit: WikiWitch / Wikimedia Commons It’s essential that today’s politicians and decision makers recognize the many and severe risks that the climate crisis poses not just for our physical health, but also for our mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, at least in the UK, politicians so far have demonstrated little awareness of the direct and indirect links between climate and mental health. That’s the worrying conclusion of a recent study in Frontiers in Public Health, where researchers mined the public records of all debates in the UK’s House of Commons and House of Lords between 1995 and 2020. The authors found that on the few occasions that speakers showed any awareness of these links, the focus of their speeches was always on the association between flooding and anxiety. But no-one mentioned any of the other proven mental health impacts of climate change. For example, higher temperatures are associated with higher suicide rates and more hospitalizations for mental disorders. Likewise, extreme weather events such as wildfires, floods, droughts, and severe storms are associated with worse mental health in affected populations. And research has shown that […]

Featured news

17 Sep 2021

Why is Covid-19 more severe in some patients? Using AI, we found a likely answer

By Dr Emmanuelle Logette, EPFL Blue Brain Project Dr Emmanuelle Logette of the EPFL Blue Brain Project Why does Covid-19 present itself more severe in some patients but not in others? The question has puzzled researchers and clinicians since the start of the pandemic, but recent research from the EPFL Blue Brain Project may have found a major clue to solving the mystery thanks to machine learning. Now, one of those leading the breakthrough research, Dr Emmanuelle Logette, reveals as part of the Frontier Scientists series how even at a very young age she knew she wanted to be a researcher in the fascinating world of genetics. Dr Emmanuelle Logette studied molecular biology and biochemistry at the University of Burgundy in France and, in 2002, received her PhD, for her work on the transcriptional regulation of caspase-2, a not very well known member of the caspase family of enzymes involved in apoptosis. In 2006 she joined the laboratory of Dr Jürg Tschopp at the University of Lausanne as a postdoctoral fellow focusing on the signaling pathways involved in DNA repair and apoptosis during tumorigenesis, again trying to better understand the role of caspase-2. Having mainly worked on the oncogenesis field, […]

Featured news

21 Aug 2021

How well did the EU respond to the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic? Experts now give their verdict

By K.E.D. Coan, science writer Alexandros Michailidis / During the first wave of the pandemic, the European Union’s COVID-19 response highlighted ongoing limitations of the agencies put in place to prepare for such health crises, shows a recent study. According to a panel of health experts, national interests conflicted with coordinated Europe-wide health regulations. To prepare for the future, the panel recommends better funding and empowerment of these institutions. A new study in Frontiers in Public Health presents a review of expert opinions on the achievements and shortcomings of the European Union’s (EU) COVID-19 response. The aim: to draw lessons for future pandemics. In 2004, the EU created the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), precisely with the goal of coordinating cross-border disease surveillance and guidelines. However, the interviewed public health experts largely agreed that, although there were some successes, individual countries’ interests often superseded EU-wide responses. “The EU’s Joint Procurement Mechanism was recognized as a great achievement and a valid instrument for crisis management,” says lead author Marie Gontariuk, of Maastricht University in the Netherlands. “But experts also agreed that further improvement was possible specifically regarding the timeliness and efficacy.” “During the current pandemic specifically, the […]

Featured news

28 Jul 2021

Machine learning and knowledge engineering uncovers significant role of elevated blood glucose in severe Covid-19

By Colm Gorey, Frontiers’ Science Communications Manager A digital reconstruction of SARS-CoV-2 primary infection in the lungs. Image: Blue Brain Project/EPFL 2005-2021. All rights reserved Why does Covid-19 present itself more severe in some patients but not in others? The question has puzzled researchers and clinicians since the start of the pandemic, but now new research from the EPFL Blue Brain Project may have found a major clue to solving the mystery thanks to machine learning. Analyzing data extracted from 240,000 open access scientific papers, the findings of a paper published in Frontiers revealed the previously undiscovered roles elevated blood glucose levels have in the severity of Covid-19. What makes one person more at risk of developing severe Covid-19 than someone else? While it is widely accepted that elderly people are the most at-risk during the current pandemic, many young, seemingly healthy people have also been hospitalized by the disease. A number of preexisting conditions are known to contribute to the severity of the disease – such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension – but a more recent finding has highlighted the impact of blood glucose levels among both diabetic and non-diabetic people. Yet the role that glucose plays in the […]

Featured news

19 Mar 2021

Tragedy of the Commons: The potential role of individualism in the spread of Covid-19

By Dr Yossi Maaravi, Adelson School of Entrepreneurship at IDC, Herzliya John David Photography / Dr Yossi Maaravi of the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship at IDC, Herzliya asks whether the phenomenon of social dilemmas and individualism resulted in worse outcomes for the Covid-19 pandemic?   Covid-19 is a real tragedy. But why did this tragedy hit some countries harder than others? While this question has recently been answered based on population age or health policy, a few months ago, my thoughts drifted to another possible explanation: ‘The tragedy of the commons’. A few months later, these thoughts led to research that has been recently published in Frontiers in Public Health. But the story of the inspiration for this research begins many years back. 16 years ago, when I was still a PhD student, I came across Garrett Hardin’s classic article, The Tragedy of the Commons. I was fascinated by the simple yet powerful phenomenon of social dilemmas described in this article. Social dilemmas are circumstances in which certain behaviors that serve the self-interest of every individual member of society might be harmful to the common good. YESSS!!! My new @FrontiersIn article is OUT!We rely on the "The Tragedy of […]


16 Feb 2021

COVID-19 crisis – a technology providing unconventional supply relief

By Kate E. Mullins / EPFL Credit: Felix Schürmann and coauthors When the full-scale effect of the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to be understood in early 2020, the EPFL Blue Brain Project and ETH Zurich, as part of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force, began collaborating with Spiez Laboratory on an online Platform – Academic Resources for COVID-19 (ARC). In a paper published in Frontiers for Public Health, the authors explain how the ARC Platform was set up to be a service to support Swiss diagnostic laboratories that are testing for SARS-CoV-2. The ARC Platform matched requests for critical equipment, reagents and consumable goods required by Swiss diagnostic laboratories involved in combating COVID-19 with supplies available from Swiss academic groups. Since then, with further input from Swiss startup Apptitude SA, the Platform has evolved with the needs of the epidemiological situation and the technology has been open sourced with the purpose to serve public health as a response solution for other countries and communities in the current COVID-19 crisis or in future crises. In the beginning of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Switzerland, diagnostic testing had to be ramped up in a very short time, but even basic molecular […]