Blindness prevention programmes: past, present, and future. (1/2140)

Blindness and visual impairment have far-reaching implications for society, the more so when it is realized that 80% of visual disability is avoidable. The marked increase in the size of the elderly population, with their greater propensity for visually disabling conditions, presents a further challenge in this respect. However, if available knowledge and skills were made accessible to those communities in greatest need, much of this needless blindness could be alleviated. Since its inception over 50 years ago, and beginning with trachoma control, WHO has spearheaded efforts to assist Member States to meet the challenge of needless blindness. Since the establishment of the WHO Programme for the Prevention of Blindness in 1978, vast strides have been made through various forms of technical support to establish national prevention of blindness programmes. A more recent initiative, "The Global Initiative for the Elimination of Avoidable Blindness" (referred to as "VISION 2020--The Right to Sight"), launched in 1999, is a collaborative effort between WHO and a number of international nongovernmental organizations and other interested partners. This effort is poised to take the steps necessary to achieve the goal of eliminating avoidable blindness worldwide by the year 2020.  (+info)

A brief history of the Japan Society for Cell Biology. (2/2140)

The Japan Society for Cell Biology (JSCB) was first founded in 1950 as the Japan Society for Cellular Chemistry under the vigorous leadership of Seizo Katsunuma, in collaboration with Shigeyasu Amano and Satimaru Seno. The Society was provisionally named as above simply because cell biology had not yet been coined at that time in Japan, although in prospect and reality the Society was in fact for the purpose of pursuing cell biology. Later in 1964, the Society was properly renamed as the Japan Society for Cell Biology. After this renaming, the JSCB made great efforts to adapt itself to the rapid progress being made in cell biology. For this purpose the Society's constitution was created in 1966 and revised in 1969. According to the revised constitution, the President, Executive Committee and Councils were to be determined by ballot vote. The style of the annual meetings was gradually modified to incorporate general oral and poster presentations in addition to Symposia (1969-1974). The publication of annual periodicals in Japanese called Symposia of the Japan Society for Cellular Chemistry (1951-1967) and later Symposia of the Japan Society for Cell Biology (1968-1974) was replaced by a new international journal called Cell Structure and Function initiated in 1975. This reformation made it possible for the Society to participate in the Science Council of Japan in 1975 and finally in 1993 to acquire its own study section of Cell Biology with grants-in-aid from the Ministry of Education and Science, Japan. The JSCB hosted the 3rd International Congress on Cell Biology (ICCB) in 1984 and the 3rd Asian-Pacific Organization for Cell Biology (APOCB) Congress in 1998, thus contributing to the international advancement of cell biology. Now the membership of JSCB stands at approximately 1,800 and the number of presentations per meeting is 300 to 400 annually. Although a good number of interesting and important findings in cell biology have been reported from Japan, the general academic activity of the JSCB is far less than one might expect. This is simply due the fact that academic activity in the field of cell biology in Japan is divided among several other related societies such as the Japan Society for Molecular Biology and the Japan Society for Developmental Biology, among others.  (+info)

Circulation Research: origin and early years. (3/2140)

Circulation Research, first published in 1953, was created by the American Heart Association as "the authoritative new journal for investigators of the basic sciences as they apply to the heart and circulation." This review of the early years of the journal highlights the contributions of the first four Editors: Carl J. Wiggers, Carl F. Schmidt, Eugene M. Landis, and Julius H. Comroe, Jr. The success of Circulation Research is seen not only in the high quality of the articles published in its pages but also in the remarkable improvements in prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease that have occurred over the past half century.  (+info)

In memoriam: Professor G.N. Ramachandran (1922-2001). (4/2140)

Few scientists contribute an idea of such clarity and power that it appears in all the discipline's textbooks and bears the author's name. For the contribution to be relevant and universally employed almost forty years after it first appeared is even less common. Structural biology lost the author of such an idea with the death of G.N. Ramachandran, whose picture appears on the cover of this issue of Protein Science. His seminal contribution is described in remembrances of Professor Ramachandran's life and career by colleague and co-author of the 1963 paper, C. Ramakrishnan. A perspective by George D. Rose follows, which articulates the enduring impact of that work.  (+info)

Intermediate care--a challenge to specialty of geriatric medicine or its renaissance? (5/2140)

The specialism of geriatric medicine has developed considerably in the last half of the twentieth century. In Great Britain it has emerged from its sombre beginnings in Victorian poor law institutions to become one of the largest specialities in medicine encompassing a wide range of disciplines and interests. More recently, there has been a parallel development in "intermediate care" a sweeping phrase that encompasses a wide diversity of practices in a plethora of venues. Although there is considerable attraction in minimising the duration of hospital stay by older people, there is a real risk of intermediate care being used as a euphemism for indeterminate neglect. For older people to benefit from appropriate treatment and care, the lessons learnt by earlier generations of geriatricians, and supported by the international evidence base should not be disregarded. Elderly people need a full multi-disciplinary assessment (comprehensive geriatric assessment) and continued involvement of skilled and trained personnel in their continuing care (geriatric evaluation and management). The recommendations of the British Geriatrics Society on intermediate care are commended and should be adhered to by all planners and providers of intermediate care. There is considerable logic in developing ways in which the two developments can be integrated to build upon the best features of both.  (+info)

Rheumatic fever in the 21st century. (6/2140)

In the first half of the twentieth century, the group A streptococcus (GAS) was established as the sole etiologic agent of acute rheumatic fever (ARF). In the century's latter half, the clinical importance of variation in the virulence of strains of GAS has become clearer. Although still obscure, the pathogenesis of ARF requires primary infection of the throat by highly virulent GAS strains. These contain very large hyaluronate capsules and M protein molecules. The latter contain epitopes that are cross-reactive with host tissues and also contain superantigenic toxic moieties. In settings where ARF has become rare, GAS pharyngitis continues to be common, although it is caused by GAS strains of relatively lower virulence. These strains, however, colonize the throat avidly and stubbornly. Molecularly distinct pyoderma strains may cause acute glomerulonephritis, but they are not rheumatogenic, even though they may secondarily colonize and infect the throat. Guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of GAS pharyngitis and ARF are reviewed with particular reference to the prevalence of the latter in the community.  (+info)

Access to dental care: a historical review of medicaid eligibility growth and dental productivity decline. (7/2140)

The present dilemma in providing dental services to the indigent and Medicaid recipients throughout this nation has generated considerable controversy as to the evolution of the problem. Most states recognize that there are deficiencies in the provision of dental services to these populations and are seeking resolutions. While state licensing board practices and dental professional society politics have been the object of criticism as contributing to if not causing of this problem, other rational and statistically valid explanations for the current difficulty exist. As an explanation for access to care issues, this paper explores the decline in the national numbers of dental practitioners and concomitant dental productivity. Furthermore, it relates those parameters to the dramatic rise in the utilization and demand for dental services resulting from a robust economy, population growth trends, and changes in state and federal Medicaid legislation that increase numbers of Medicaid-eligible recipients. While these general trends are national in scope and application, the state of North Carolina and its experience will be used to fully explore the impact of these trends at the state and local level.  (+info)

History and importance of antimalarial drug resistance. (8/2140)

The emergence of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to widely used antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine (CQ) has made malaria control and treatment much more difficult. This is particularly dramatic for Africa, as few affordable alternatives are available. Drug pressure has been identified as one of the key factors for the emergence and spread of resistance. The contribution of the extensive use and misuse of antimalarial drugs to the selection of resistant parasites became particularly evident during the Global Malaria Eradication campaign, launched by World Health Organization (WHO) in 1955. The first reports confirming P. falciparum resistance to CQ came almost simultaneously in the early 1960s from South America and South-East Asia, where direct or indirect (through use of medicated cooking salt) mass drug administration (MDA) had been implemented. Similar approaches were very limited in Africa, where P. falciparum resistance to CQ was first reported from the eastern region in the late 1970s and spread progressively west. Most African countries still rely heavily on CQ as first-line treatment despite various levels of resistance, although some states have changed to sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) as the first-line drug. Unfortunately, the predicted SP useful therapeutic life might be very short, probably because of its prolonged half-life, causing a higher probability of selecting resistant strains and a consequent fast development of resistance. CQ resistance is not evenly distributed and important differences can be found within and between countries. It seems to have spread more rapidly in East than in West Africa. Considering the high level of CQ use in West Africa, other factors such as intensity of transmission, population immunity or population movements should be considered when explaining the different levels of resistance. Understanding such factors may help us in devising strategies to contain the spread of drug resistance.  (+info)