Science Policy For All

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Science Policy Around the Web – January 6, 2015

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By: Kaitlyn Morabito

photo credit: M i x y via photopin cc

Mass Drug Administration – Ebola Intervention

Side effects vex anti-malaria push in Sierra Leone

In an effort to lower the number of malaria cases misdiagnosed as Ebola, healthcare workers used mass drug administration (MDA) of Malaria drugs including artemisinin and amodiaquine to help control Malaria during the peak of its season in Sierra Leone.   Malaria and Ebola can have similar symptoms including fever. In this region, anyone presenting with a fever has been told to go to clinic. Once at the clinic, they may have to wait hours or days for tests and may be exposed to Ebola in the clinic. Although well intentioned, the MDA may be making the problem worse. People who do not take the Malaria drugs properly, for instance taking it on an empty stomach, are reporting side effects such as vomiting and fatigue. These drug side effects may cause them to seek treatment at the clinic, limiting the efficacy of the MDA. It is estimated that over 30% of people are not using the drugs properly. For the next round of MDA, Public Health administrators are emphasizing the importance of proper drug usage. The effectiveness of MDA is scheduled to be discussed in April by the WHO. (Amy Maxmen, Nature News)


Mental Health

Getting mental health services can be hard, despite law requiring parity

As part of the Affordable Healthcare Act in 2008, insurance plans must give equal access to mental health services as they do physical health services.   However, a new study from the advocacy group Mental Health America suggests that this may not yet have come to fruition.   A lack of transparency of the mental health benefits on the federal- and state-managed exchanges is particularly problematic. People may not realize their treatment is not covered until after they have received treatment. Additionally, there are typically more obstacles to obtaining mental health services, including higher standards for medical-necessity, referrals, and prior authorization. While the mental health parity problem may not yet solved, the AHA is a step in the right direction. With just under 20% of the US population has a mental health issue, mental health advocates hope that someday mental health issues will be treated and covered the same as infectious diseases or cancer treatments. (Lisa Gillespie, The Washington Post)


Climate Change – Modeling

New US climate model project getting cautious praise – Despite concerns from the academic climate community over funding decreases and talent poaching, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy (ACME) project has achieved some success. ACME was established a little over a year ago to help predict the local impact of global climate change utilizing supercomputers currently underdevelopment. Members of the academic communities worried that this project would take away from other modeling efforts including the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Community Earth System Model (CESM). Since DOE partially funds CESM, many were concerned that funding, as well as talented scientists, would be diverted from CESM to ACME. However, the DOE views these models as complimentary focusing on compatibility and symbiosis between the two programs and has not pulled funding from CESM. Although successful so far, some scientists are still cautious about the future relationship between the programs. (Eli Kintisch, ScienceInsider)



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Written by sciencepolicyforall

January 6, 2015 at 9:00 am

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