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[ Following Natural Disasters, Human Cognitive Performance Suffers ]

Following Natural Disasters, Human Cognitive Performance Suffers

Not surprisingly, victims of a natural disaster can experience stress and anxiety, but a new study indicates that it might also cause them to make more errors - some serious- in their daily lives. In their upcoming Human Factors article, "Earthquakes on the Mind: Implications of Disasters for Human Performance, " researchers William S. Helton and James Head from the University of Canterbury explore how cognitive performance can decline after earthquakes and other natural disasters. Past research has indicated that more traffic accidents and accident-related fatalities occur following human-made disasters such as the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, due to increased cognitive impairment that can lead to higher stress levels and an increase in intrusive thoughts. However, no research has been conducted on the effects of natural disasters on cognitive performance.

Survivors Of Hurricane Katrina Struggle With Mental Health Years Later, Study Says

Survivors of Hurricane Katrina have struggled with poor mental health for years after the storm, according to a new study of low-income mothers in the New Orleans area. The study's lead author, Christina Paxson of Princeton University, said that the results were a departure from other surveys both in the design and the results. The researchers were able to collect data on the participants before Katrina and nearly five years after the August 2005 storm, finding a persistence of poor mental health and gaining insights into how different types of hurricane-related stressors affect mental health. "On average, people were not back to baseline mental health and they were showing pretty high levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms. There aren't many studies that trace people for this long, but the very few that there are suggest faster recovery than what we're finding here, " said Paxson, who is Princeton's Hughes-Rogers Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Malaria Kills 1.2 Million Annually, Double Previous Estimates

MalariacycleBig Approximately 1.2 million humans die each year from malaria, a much higher figure than the previously estimated 600, 000, researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, reported in The Lancet this week. The authors added that the majority of deaths occur in children under the age of 5 years, while 42% occur in adults and older children. However, the huge international anti-malaria effort that has taken place over the last ten years is paying off. Malaria mortality has significantly dropped. The study was paid for by a grant awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Professor Christopher Murray and team gathered malaria mortality data over a thirty-year period, ending in 2010. They have revealed that the death figure reported in the World Malaria Report 2011 was an underestimate - there are significantly more deaths occurring in several parts of the world, especially in Africa.

Malaria Deaths Grossly Underestimated

A new analysis of malaria mortality published in The Lancet this week suggests deaths to the parasitic disease worldwide have been grossly underestimated, especially in adults. If confirmed, the study has huge implications for how large amounts of charity money are spent in controlling the disease. However, the study also finds that thanks to improved prevention and treatment, such as anti-malaria drugs and insecticide-treated bed nets, deaths to malaria are falling rapidly. Researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation ( IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle in the US, estimate that nearly 1.24 million people died from malaria in 2010, nearly double the figure estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the same year. They say previous studies have overlooked many deaths because they have assumed most of the victims are children under 5.

10 Neglected Tropical Diseases - Target For End Of Decade

68-4062-1 (ATED) The aim is to eliminate or at least control 10 neglected tropical diseases by 2020 - it is a public and private partnership, including 13 drug companies, the UK, US and United Arab Emirate Governments, the World Bank, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and some other worldwide organizations. The partners aim to work together to eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in countries where they are endemic. They have pledged to liaise closely with affected countries. According to WHO (World Health Organization), 1.4 billion people are affected by the ten NTDs; the majority of them live in the poorest countries in the world. In an official announcement made today at the Royal College of Physicians, London, the partners said they would combat NTDs by: Expanding or at least sustaining drug donation programs so that demand is met right through to the end of 2020.

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