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15 news posts in Healthcare

Image: Prof Gerold Stucki


31 May 2023

‘Rethinking health beyond disability and disease’

by Liad Hollender, Frontiers science writer Image: Prof Gerold Stucki Is there more to health than just the absence of disease? According to a team of researchers from Swiss Paraplegic Research and the University of Lucerne, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. In an article published in Frontiers in Science, the researchers explain how ‘human functioning’ – a new assessment of health – could revolutionize healthcare, and even help advance the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. But what is human functioning and why is it such a powerful concept? To find out, Frontiers spoke with the team – Prof Jerome Bickenbach, Prof Sara Rubinelli, Cristiana Baffone, and Prof Gerold Stucki. How would you define human functioning? Gerold: Functioning is a concept developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), which constitutes a rethinking of health that goes beyond disability and disease. It encompasses people’s biological health as well as their ‘lived health’ – the activities they perform in their daily lives. What activities? Everything from eating and grooming, to working and socializing. This way of thinking is important because while it’s true that our biological health affects what we can do, features of our environment can either improve this capacity or […]

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31 May 2023

New health indicator can revolutionize how we measure and achieve well-being

by Liad Hollender, Frontiers science writer Image: Shutterstock Researchers reveal how a new assessment of health called ‘human functioning’ could bridge health and well-being, with far reaching benefits to individuals and society as a whole. Publishing in Frontiers in Science, the authors chart a plan for implementing human functioning into health systems, by recognizing it as a major health indicator alongside mortality and morbidity and establishing a new scientific field called human functioning sciences. The term ‘well-being’ entered popular vocabulary during the Covid-19 pandemic soon after ‘lockdown’ and ‘quarantine’. We quickly discovered that without the ability to take walks, socialize, and work, our well-being suffered. Health was suddenly more than just the state of our bodies – it also depended on our ability to engage in activities that matter to us. Though this was a revelation to many, the World Health Organization (WHO) had already begun this rethinking of health. It created a new concept and assessment framework to capture the multi-dimensional nature of our everyday health experience, called ‘human functioning. “Despite its great promise, this new tool has not been implemented widely in healthcare and policy. Our team’s goal is to make it happen,” said Prof Gerold Stucki, a […]

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01 Dec 2021

Survivors of severe Covid-19 may have increased risk of death within 12 months of illness

By Conn Hastings, science writer Image: Corona Borealis Studio/ A new study shows the long-term implications of severe Covid-19 infection, with such patients demonstrating significantly increased chances of death in the 12 months following the illness. The majority of deaths occurred for a wide variety of reasons, suggesting that severe infection damages overall health. The stark findings highlight the need to reduce the numbers of severe infections through vaccination. Can long Covid kill? Striking findings presented in a new study published to Frontiers in Medicine show that patients who survive severe Covid-19 have more than twice the risk of dying over the following year, compared with those who experience mild or moderate disease or remain uninfected. Unusually, the increased risk of dying was greater for patients who are under 65, and only 20% of the severe Covid-19 patients who died did so because of typical Covid complications, such as clotting disorders or respiratory failure. The study suggests that severe Covid-19 may significantly damage long-term health and highlights the importance of preventing severe disease through vaccination.          ► Read original article► Download original article (pdf) Reality of long Covid Covid-19 can cause severe symptoms and death for vulnerable people, particularly older patients and […]

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25 Oct 2021

‘Smart bandage’ may help solve a major problem when treating chronic wounds

By Conn Hastings, Science writer A person’s leg wrapped in bandage (not the smart bandage from this research). Image: Nutnaree Saingwongwattana/ Maintaining optimal moisture levels could be key in allowing chronic wounds to heal. However, clinicians currently have no way to check moisture levels without removing a bandage, potentially disrupting the healing process. A new study presents a smart bandage that can measure and wirelessly transmit wound moisture data in real time. The technology could be a useful tool in treating chronic wounds. How can doctors make sure a dressed wound is healing without taking off the bandage? This is a conundrum, because removing a bandage can disrupt the healing process. Technology presented in a new study in open-access journal Frontiers in Physics could help. This new ‘smart bandage’ contains a sensor that can very sensitively measure wound moisture levels and then transmit the data to a nearby smartphone, without requiring doctors to remove the bandage. In the future, by changing the geometry and materials in the bandage, the researchers may be able to fine tune it to suit different types of wounds. The technology could help doctors to monitor wounds more easily and successfully. Chronic wounds can be a […]

<p>Victor Kouassi</p>


23 Feb 2016

STAFF PICK: Mutating to defeat malaria

This month’s Frontiers Staff Pick comes from Victor Kouassi. Victor is a Journal Operations Assistant and before joining us at Frontiers, was at the Francis Crick Institute in London where he conducted research on the immune responses of malaria. With his background in this field, he found the article “Major Histocompatibility Complex and Malaria: Focus on Plasmodium vivax Infection” interesting.  It was published in Frontiers in Immunology late January 2016. Below is why he selected this article as his staff pick: There are over 100 species of Plasmodium, the parasite that causes malaria. These can infect many kinds of animals from monkeys, birds to lizards. This parasite has evolved an intricate life cycle by taking advantage of an invertebrate vector, the mosquito. A vertebrate host, like a human, is usually infected through a bite which transmits the parasite which goes straight to the liver. The parasite then divides into merozoites which are released into the blood. It is this form of the parasite that causes the symptoms of disease by entering red blood cells and eventually causing them to explode resulting in fevers, chills, headaches and, in worst case scenarios, coma, brain damage and miscarriages. Of the five species of Plasmodium that […]