Smartphone-induced sleep deprivation and its implications for public health

Smartphone in bedIn the last 10 years smartphones have conquered a crucial position in mankind’s contemporary existence. We have reached a point where it is quite common for people to spend multiple hours per day on their smartphone, as smartphones play a pivotal role for many of us in communicating with the outside world and in maintaining social relations.  But what exactly are the consequences of our large scale and possibly excessive smartphone usage from a public health perspective? Read more…

EU Health Programme used to finance refugee-related health projects

Refugee boyThe European Commission has assigned €5.5 million from the EU Health Programme to support Member States in addressing health challenges ensuing the refugee crisis. The €5.5 million will be divided over 4 different projects in the EU region. Important stakeholders eligible for a grant include the International Organisation for Migration and Médecins du Monde, as well as many smaller regional stakeholders. Read more…

Pregnant women should avoid Latin America due to Zika virus

MosquitoThe American Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises pregnant women not to travel to certain parts of Latin America and the Caribbean due to the presence of the Zika virus. The virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito, and symptoms of the virus include a fever, a rash and arthralgia (painful joints). Although harmless for adults, the virus can lead to birth defects in newborns when a woman contracts the disease during pregnancy. 

Read more…

Update: Participant of French clinical trial has died

Patient deceasedOne of the participants of the infamous clinical trial in the French city of Rennes has passed away today. The patient had previously been declared clinically dead after a phase 1 clinical trial of a new painkiller went horribly wrong. Four other participants of the clinical trial have suffered neurological damage; doctors fear that for at least three of them the sustained brain damage will be permanent and irreversible. There is no known treatment to counter the effects of the experimental drug the patients were given. Read more…

Phase 1 clinical trial leaves six test subjects critically injured in France

Clinic Rennes

A clinical trial gone wrong in the French city of Rennes has left one person brain-dead, while 5 others have been hospitalised in critical condition. All the victims were participants in the first phase of a clinical trial for a new experimental pain killer. The 6 critically injured vitctims are all men, ranging in age from 28 to 49 years old. Read more…

The biggest challenges for the new EU presidency of the Netherlands

Burning EuropeStarting this week, the Netherlands will hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the next 6 months. Beforehand, the Netherlands explicated its desire to ensure and strengthen the unity within the Union. The Greek crisis, the terrorist attacks, the war in Syria and the resulting refugee crisis, the ongoing conflicts with Russia and disagreements between the Member States on how to handle all these developments seemingly make unity an ambitious goal.

Read more…

The Netherlands eases euthanasia regulations for severe dementia

EuthanasiaThe Dutch ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport and the ministry of Safety and Justice have jointly introduced new guidelines which allow the euthanasia of severely demented patients. With the new guidelines, it will be possible to euthanize patients in the advanced stages of dementia, even in cases where the patient’s ability to communicate has diminished to the point where he or she is unable to adequately convey his or her wishes to a doctor. Previously a patient still had to be able to communicate verbally or non-verbally to consent with the actual application of euthanasia, but with the new guidelines this is not a mandatory prerequisite anymore. Read more…