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HIV and noncommunicable diseases hinder the progress of poor countries' Millennium Development Goals

Press release from PLoS Medicine

A study published in PLoS Medicine this week examines why poor countries are falling behind with the UN Millennium Development Goals for health, finding that noncommunicable diseases and HIV prevalence are strongly associated with the difficulty countries have meeting these targets.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which underpin the global development agenda, include the reduction of child mortality, improvements in maternal health, and decreasing the burden of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases, but few of these targets are going to be met by 2015. David Stuckler of the University of Oxford, Sanjay Basu at the University of California, San Francisco, and Martin McKee at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine re-examined the progress that countries have made towards these targets to understand why some countries are falling behind. They found that the traditional explanations, such as economic under-development, low priority of health, inadequate spending by governments, and weak health infrastructure accounted for only a fifth of the inequality in progress. In contrast more than half of the inequality in progress in poor countries could be explained by the prevalence of HIV and the burden of non-communicable diseases - non-infectious diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes that are often associated with environmental and lifestyle factors such as smoking.

Until now, both donors and recipients of development assistance have paid little attention to non-communicable diseases, instead targeting their activities to infections. This new analysis shows how the co-existence of these epidemics represent an important and previously unappreciated source of poor progress towards the existing international health targets. The researchers stress the biological and economic interrelationships of illness affecting those living in poor households, concluding that the achievement of feasible reductions in non-communicable diseases could greatly enhance progress towards health MDGS.


Citation: Stuckler D, Basu S, McKee M (2010) Drivers of Inequality in Millennium Development Goal Progress: A Statistical Analysis. PLoS Med 7(3): e1000241. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000241

Funding: The authors receive salaries from their respective institutions to support general research and teaching activities (DS, postdoctoral; SB, residency; MM, professor) but no specific funding was received for this work.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000241

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: www.plos.org/press/plme-07-03-stuckler.pdf


David Stuckler
University of Oxford
Department of Sociology
Meadow Flat, Christ Church
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 1DP
United Kingdom


New treatments for stroke will benefit from genetic research

This week's PLoS Medicine contains two articles discussing advancements in the treatment of stroke. In the first, David Howells and G. A. Donnan from the University of Melbourne, Australia discuss the next generation of stroke treatments and say that novel therapeutic targets may emerge from the stimulation of neuroplasticity and unraveling the genetic code of stroke heterogeneity. In the second article, Hugh Markus from St. George's University of London, United Kingdom describes the genetic factors in stroke risk, and emphasizes the importance of large sample studies and rigorous replication of results in genetic stroke research.

Where Will the Next Generation of Stroke Treatments Come From?

Citation: Howells DW, Donnan GA (2010) Where Will the Next Generation of Stroke Treatments Come From? PLoS Med 7(3): e1000224. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000224

Funding: GAD and DWH receive funding from NHMRC Program Grant ID 454417. The funder played no role in the decision to submit the article or in its preparation.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000224

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: www.plos.org/press/plme-07-03-donnan.pdf


G.A Donnan
Florey Neuroscience Institutes
University of Melbourne
Parkville, Victoria 3010
+613 9346 3789
+613 9457 2654 (fax)

Unravelling the Genetics of Ischaemic Stroke

Citation: Markus HS (2010) Unravelling the Genetics of Ischaemic Stroke. PLoS Med 7(3): e1000225. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000225

Funding: The author received no specific funding to write this paper.

Competing Interests: HM has received an unrestricted research grant from Shire but this is not directly related to the current article. Shire had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000225

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-07-03-markus.pdf


Hugh Markus
St George's University of London
Clinical Neuroscience
Cranmer terrace
London, SW19 3QZ
United Kingdom

About PLoS Medicine

PLoS Medicine is an open access, freely available international medical journal. It publishes original research that enhances our understanding of human health and disease, together with commentary and analysis of important global health issues. For more information, visit http://www.plosmedicine.org

About the Public Library of Science

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org

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