Current Issue



The WHO estimates that depression affects some 300 million people worldwide and is considered such a common illness that they made it the core theme of the World Health Day focus on April 7. The organisation notes that few people seek treatment and at its worst, depression can lead to suicide. There are more than 800,000 suicides a year worldwide.

Closer to home, it is a major issue with Syrian refugees who have fled the war. They call it the ‘black snowball’ as it is an accumulation of anxiety and stress from losing all their worldly belongings and the horrific experience of war that can lead to severe depression. In this issue, read the account of a psychotherapist helping Syrian refugees in Turkey.

In a major scientific breakthrough, researchers have used ‘gene therapy’ to cure sickle-cell anaemia. In a trial with a 13-year-old boy they have successfully used gene therapy to achieve complete remission of the genetic disease in the boy. Although this is still in the early phase, the implications of this trial are important for this region where the prevalence of sickle cell anaemia is particularly high.

In the Women’s Health focus we look at several new developments. One of these is the issuing of new global guidelines for HPV vaccination.

In our focus on surgery, we report on a doctor from Mayo Clinic who has made it his mission to improve neurosurgical techniques and has become a specialist in ‘awake craniotomy’ for the resection of difficult brain tumours. The awake craniotomy minimises the use of anaesthesia and along with a camera placed in front of the patient’s face – which he introduced – he can monitor facial changes during the surgery in response to questions, to ensure the preservation of critical parts of the brain.

In this issue, you’ll find a wealth of interesting news and research developments from the region and the world.

Callan Emery

(May-Jun 2017)

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