Indian Pediatrics 2001; 38: 114-115
News in Brief
Children of a lesser god: The last century’s deadliest legacy has been HIV/AIDS. In children the tragedy is doubly intensified because by the time they are diagnosed they are often orphaned. Sub-Saharan Africa with 10% of the world’s population has 70% of HIV infected patients, 80% of HIV deaths and 90% of HIV orphans. The UNICEF’s annual report presented in December 2000 in New York said that 34.3 million people were living with AIDS while 1.3 million were below 15 years of age. The disease is also greatly affecting the economies of countries since it strikes the young and treatment is expensive. "By 2005, the cost of treatment and care related to HIV/AIDS is expected to account for one third of all government health spending in Ethiopia, more than half in Kenya and nearly two thirds in Zimbabwe," according to UNICEF.
Booked for speed: Speed and reliability are the new mantras for the NHS Electronic Library for Health, which has gone online in December 2000. This library promises to provide reliable information within 15 seconds at present and finally within 1 second, for both clinicians and the lay public. Other highlights are databases of practice guidelines, evidence based information and the Cochrane collection for NHS staff in the UK and virtual branch libraries on topics such as diabetes and mental health (eBMJ 25 Nov 2000).
Born free, living free: While 7 other top level domain names such as .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, and .pro were approved by the body which decides names on the internet, the WHO was refused permission for controlling quality over a top level domain name called dot health. The fear was that it would give too much controlling power over the 100,000 odd health related web sites to one body. It was also felt that no one organization could possibly have the staff to control such a vast collection of web sites. In the free wheeling world of the Internet even the faintest whiff of any kind of monopoly is taboo (eBMJ 25 Nov 2000).
Ebola vaccine: In 1976, a mysterious disease swept through Sudan and Zaire with more than 90% mortality. After initial non-specific symptoms, DIC, renal and hepatic failure would ensue. The etiology was identified as the Ebola virus. Since then sporadic outbreaks have continued to occur. With no treatment in sight, a vaccine becomes the only hope. Recently scientists from National Institutes of Health are reported to have induced immunity by a new vaccine in macaque monkeys. Initially DNA strands in a plasmid vector were injected into the monkeys to engage the antigen presenting cells and stimulate cellular immunity. Then adenoviruses containing glycoproteins of all the strains were given as a second vaccination. Injecting lethal doses of the Ebola virus subsequently failed to produce the disease. Human trials of this vaccine are much awaited (eBMJ 9 Dec 2000).
Fraud in research is a Pandora’s box waiting to be opened. In the UK the General Medical Council has suspended a surgeon, Mr. Anjan Kumar Banerjee of the Royal Halifax Infirmary for one year. He had deliberately falsified information in his thesis by providing his own urine instead of that of 12 healthy adults. This work was subsequently published. The GMC has strongly condemned the actions of the surgeon saying that "Medical research is central to the advance of medical practice and must always be conducted with scrupulous honesty and integrity. It is highly irresponsible, and potentially dangerous for patients, for a doctor to falsify research." (eBMJ 9 Dec 2000).
Gouri Rao Passi,
Nutrition.org - www.nutrition.org. This is the website of the American Society of Nutritional Sciences, and also of the Journal of Nutrition. Abstracts from this journal are accessible free. A Nutrient Information directory has also been provided for in their website.
Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) - www.vaers.org. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System collects and disseminates information regarding vaccine side effects of licensed vaccines used in the United States. It is a cooperative program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The VAERS Web site, launched in December 1999 serves as a medium for disseminating this information to the public.
Pediatric Radiology Normal Measurements - www.ohsu.edu/ps-DiagRadiol/kojima/Normal.htm. Knowledge of the normal and its variants is critical in diagnostic radiology. This website provides a collection of normal measurements of various organs in pediatrics radiology. This is a collection of the Departments of Pediatrics and Radiology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Oregon.
Seminars in Neonatology - www.harcourt-international.com/journals/siny. Seminars in Neonatology is a quarterly journal which publishes topic-based issues on the latest advances in fetal and neonatal medicine. The table of contents of current, past and forth-coming issues, use of search facility and a few sample issues can be viewed online from their website. Full text access is provided to subscribers only.
Disability India Network - www.disability india.org. This is the website of Disability India Network, the organization providing support and services to disabled children. Disability India Network aims to create a register of services that could be made available for disability alleviation. Their website provides information about care of disabled, activities, message boards, listing of various organiza-tions, information on Government policies, conferences, news and information on the manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of the aids and appliances required by persons with disabilities. The Disability India Journal is also accessible from this site.