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.