A New Approach To Fighting Zika – Releasing Infected Mosquitoes


A group of international donors recently funded a new project that aims to fight Zika virus with $18 million. The project attempts to provide a “revolutionary approach” against mosquito-borne diseases, by infecting mosquitoes with a bug called Wolbachia which reduces their ability to spread viruses to people.

Wolbachia is a natural bacterium that infects most insects and does not harm human beings. Traditionally, it does not infect the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the host of Zika and other viruses, but scientists have found ways to inject the bug into these mosquitoes. The approach is likely to work in two days, by boosting the immune system of host mosquitoes so that they don’t carry viruses, and also by competing against viruses in resources within the host.

The program will unfold in early 2017. Preliminary studies have shown efficacy of the approach. Communities have expressed concerns about unintended consequences. Researchers point out that humans have been in contact with the bacteria and have not been harmed, and promise to monitor closely with the process.

To read more about this project, please visit http://www.bbc.com/news/health-37773274


Map of Percentage of Persons Who Speak English “Less Than Well” (2010-2014)


Today’s map of the day shows the percentages of population in the United States who speak English “less than well”. The map shows a clear regional difference across the country, with states which accommodates a big immigrant population showing a higher percentage of lack of English fluency (Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, New York).

For more information and other Map of the Days, please check out: http://communitymappingforhealthequity.org/category/map-of-the-day/

Tennessee Ranks Average in National STD Rates

Total cases of STD (Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, etc.) in the United States are reaching a record-high level. Teens and young adults account for the majority of the cases. Many cases go undiagnosed and untreated, which are likely to induce further reproductive health problems.

Among all states across the country, Tennessee ranks 19th in chlamydia rate, 17th in gonorrhea rate, and 22nd in syphilis rate. Most cases are concentrated in the Davidson county.

The major cause of declining of provision of STD services is budget cut. While the country’s STD rates are climbing, STD services are eroding and closing. The challenge is to boosting the budget for STD prevention and treatment again.

For more information and data, please visit http://patch.com/tennessee/nashville/record-high-std-rates-u-s-where-davidson-tennessee-ranks


Map of Flu Vaccination Coverage on Population Over 65 (2013-2014)


Today’s map of the day shows flu vaccination coverage for the population within the United States that are older than 65 years old. The map indicates that the northeastern states, the Great Lake states, Montana, Wyoming, Tennessee, Florida, Texas have high coverage of flu vaccinations for the older than 65 years old population.

What is the coverage for your state? Have you got your flu vaccination this year?

For more information and other Map of the Days, please check out: http://communitymappingforhealthequity.org/category/map-of-the-day/


Vice President Biden Pushes For “Cancer Moonshot”

Vice President Joe Biden initiated “Cancer Moonshot” last year, and recently reported his plans for the next administration to push forward cancer research and care.

While the vice president is optimistic about the future of the initiative that enable us to “re-imagine a cancer enterprise for the 21st Century.”, he points out several remaining barriers to progress: it takes “team science” to accomplish breakthroughs in research, which is lacking in the current system; clinical trials have trouble in retaining and recruiting participants, and the lack of open accessed and rapidly shared data.

President Obama designated $195 million this year for National Institute of Health to carry out the initiative. The Congress will be likely to boost the funding in the next fiscal year once election is passed. Though Funding isn’t certain, the initiative has bipartisan support so that future infusion of cash is under way. Various private partners also champion the moonshot initiative and will pool more funding for research.

To learn more about the Cancer Moonshot initiative, please visit http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/10/17/joe-biden-delivers-cancer-moonshot-recommendations/92289454/, and https://www.whitehouse.gov/CancerMoonshot



Safe Routes to School in Nashville


A community mapper is now working on a project to create a map that collects information of safe walking routes to school. It is not uncommon to find families walking around the school zone taking pictures and posting up fresh information to the community map, kids very much participating.According to Dr. Im, assistant professor of Meharry Medical College and an active community mapper, there are many things that we can learn from children carrying out this project. “They walk differently. So there are a lot of things you can learn,” he said.

Teams explored around the area of two elementary schools to secure safe routes for the best of children.

Dr. Im has worked on notable projects such as locating available gasoline when Hurricane Sandy struck or mapping public restrooms in New York City inspired by himself actually suffering due to the lack of information.

Here is the link to the original article: http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/mapper-who-plotted-gas-shortages-and-nycs-best-bathrooms-now-helps-nashville-kids-walk-school#stream/0

Brain Cancer Becomes No. 1 Cause for Child Cancer Death

Recent studies show that brain cancer is the new leading cause of child cancer death despite the chance of kids aging from 0-19 catching brain cancer dropped. The reason brain cancer topping the disgraceful ranking is that other areas of research found progress in the treatment of respective child cancer.

Leukemia, former leading cause of child cancer death, is not as fatal as it was to children due to great advancement in the area of research. Yet, deaths totaling from brain cancer and leukemia combined is taking over half of the young cancer patient lives.

To read more about childhood brain cancer: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/brain-cancer-now-leading-cancer-killer-kids-n649411