The Friday Wrap-up -- Elsewhere on the Blogosphere

The Friday Wrap-up -- Elsewhere on the Blogosphere

04.22.11 | By Kate Connors

Any prescription medicines that you have at home come with specific storage instructions: keep away from light, perhaps, or store in the refrigerator. But what happens if you happen to be, oh, staffing a mission to the International Space Station? According to a study published in the AAPS Journal (American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists), effectiveness of medicines may diminish at a rapid pace in space, compared to ones stored in ideal conditions on Earth. As BBC News says, the factors that may cause this are many: "the unique environment of space - including radiation, excessive vibrations, microgravity, a carbon dioxide rich environment and variations in humidity and temperature." And while it may not be an issue now, as space exploration expands, it may be in the future.

We wrote once before on The Catalyst about the hard work being done by Rotary International to fully eradicate polio on a global basis. What we didn't get into was their efforts with a variety of other fatal diseases, including malaria. And they're just one group: from Rotary to the United Nations Foundation to the Nothing But Nets program, countless people are committed to increase awareness, spread the use of mosquito nets, and improve the medicines available to treat patients infected with the disease, thanks to America's biopharmaceutical research companies. But, writes Huffington Post's Health blog, there's another round of ammunition in this fight: scientists are aiming to genetically modify mosquitoes to affect their ability to carry the disease. It's still a proof-of-principle project, but it demonstrated that the alterations could be passed down through a large group through a few generations. "The team is now working on targeting genes that the mosquito needs for reproduction or malaria transmission. With this technology, the release of a few modified mosquitoes could eventually cause a dramatic reduction in malaria-carrying mosquitoes in countries where the disease is endemic," Huffington Post writes.

During last week's PhRMA Annual Meeting, several panelists talked about the importance of encouraging patients to self-manage their health care (see the videos here and here). Well, perhaps they'd been reading The Wall Street Journal's Health blog, which had a post about self-management programs for arthritis patients. The blog quotes Jay Greenberg, senior vice president of social enterprise at the National Council on Aging: "We aren't going to bend the cost curve on chronic diseases unless as a country we put self-management at the center of health care."

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