Tag Archives: World Health Organization

World Health Organization (WHO): “Gaming Disorder” Is A Disease

28 May

Like it or not, technology is a part of life. The key is to use technology for YOUR advantage and to not let technology control you. Parents must monitor their children’s use of technology. Caroline Knorr has an excellent article at Common Sense Media, How Rude! Manners For the Digital Age Parents must talk with their children about the responsible use of social media and the Internet. Common Sense Media has some great discussion points in the article, Rules of the Road for Kids

Rules of the Road for Kids
1. Guard your privacy. What people know about you is up to you.
2. Protect your reputation. Self-reflect before you self-reveal. What’s funny or edgy today could cost you tomorrow.
3. Nothing is private online. Anything you say or do can be copied, pasted, and sent to gazillions of people without your permission.
4. Assume everyone is watching. There’s a huge, vast audience out there. If someone is your friend’s friend, they can see everything.
5. Apply the Golden Rule. If you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else.
6. Choose wisely. Not all content is appropriate. You know what we mean.
7. Don’t hide. Using anonymity to cloak your actions doesn’t turn you into a trustworthy, responsible human being.
8. Think about what you see. Just because it’s online doesn’t make it true.
9. Be smart, be safe. Not everyone is who they say they are. But you know that.

A timely discussion now may save a lot of heartache for you and your family later.
Rebecca Greenfield has a great post at the Atlantic Wire which summarizes a sampling of other articles about Facebook’s effect on children. In What Facebook Does to Kids’ Brains

Mike Snider of USA TODAY wrote in Video game addiction officially considered a mental disorder, WHO says:

Think your kid is addicted to video games? There could be something to it.
The World Health Organization has made video game addiction an official mental health disorder. The Geneva, Switzerland-headquartered organization has added “Gaming disorder” to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems or “ICD-11,” which goes into effect in January 2022.
The condition has been included in the global medical guide within a section detailing disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviors along with “Gambling disorder.”
The ICD-11 describes ”Gaming disorder” as recurrent video game playing that leads to “impaired control over gaming” and an “increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities,” despite “the occurrence of negative consequences.”
But health officials and video game industry representatives from across the globe have decried the WHO’s move saying it comes without adequate research. There still is not enough research to warrant the classification of a gaming disorder, wrote an international team of more than three dozen mental health researchers in a paper published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions last year three months before WHO announced its plans to include ”Gaming disorder” in the guide.
“Risk of abuse of a formalized new disorder that solely involves the behavior of playing video games – a stigmatized entertainment activity – can only expand the false-positive issues in psychiatry,” the researchers wrote. One of the researchers, Chris Ferguson, a psychologist and media researcher at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, resurfaced the paper on Twitter after the organization’s action. “This expansion will likely have a psychological and societal cost, potential harming the well-being of our children.”
The American Psychiatric Association has also said there was not “sufficient evidence” to consider gaming addiction as a “unique mental disorder.”
Citing similar concerns, video game groups from across the globe – including the Entertainment Software Association and UK Interactive Association – asked WHO to “rethink their decision.” WHO ”is an esteemed organization and its guidance needs to be based on regular, inclusive, and transparent reviews backed by independent experts,” their statement said. “‘Gaming disorder’ is not based on sufficiently robust evidence to justify its inclusion in one of the WHO’s most important norm-setting tools.”
But there has been research documenting cases of people playing video games for up to 20 hours a day to the detriment of other activities including work, sleep and eating, Shekhar Saxena, expert on mental health and substance abuse for WHO, told Reuters…. https://chicago.suntimes.com/well/2019/5/28/18642721/video-game-addiction-mental-disorder-world-health-organization

See, “Gaming Disorder” Is A Disease, World Health Organization Decides; Industry Responds: The WHO adds “gaming disorder” to its database of diseases. https://www.gamespot.com/articles/gaming-disorder-is-a-disease-world-health-organiza/1100-6467163/

Here is the press release from WHO:

World Health Assembly Update, 24 May 2019
24 May 2019
News release

Health, environment and climate change
Member States agreed a new global strategy on health, environment and climate change: the transformation needed to improve lives and well-being sustainably through healthy environments. The strategy provides a vision and way forward on how the world and its health community need to respond to environmental health risks and challenges until 2030.
Risks include environmental physical, chemical, biological and work-related factors.
They also agreed a plan of action on climate change and health in small island developing States. The plan has four strategic lines of action: empowerment (supporting health leadership in small island developing States); evidence (building the business case for investment); implementation (preparedness for climate risks, adaptation and health-promoting mitigation policies); resources (facilitating access to climate and health finance).
Noncommunicable diseases
Member States agreed a decision to accelerate and scale up action to prevent and treat noncommunicable diseases, primarily cancer, diabetes, and heart and lung diseases, and to meet global targets to reduce the number of people dying too young from these diseases.
NCDs are the leading cause of premature death: WHO estimates that 15.2 million people died in 2016, aged between 30 and 70 years, from one of these conditions.
The Health Assembly heard that for the first time since the initial United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on NCDs in 2011, there are promising signs that health outcomes are improving thanks to action on NCDs. These include a downward trend in prevalence of tobacco smoking, heavy episodic drinking of alcoholic beverages and raised blood pressure.
Treatment interventions, including for hypertension, have also progressed through strengthening primary health care services. There has also been an increase in the number of countries with national standards for managing major NCDs through a primary care approach.
Later this year, WHO will publish a technical note setting out indicators for countries to annually measure progress on the commitments they made at the UN General Assembly to address NCDs and include in reports to the United Nations Secretary General.
World Chagas Day and Year of the Nurse and Midwife
Today Member States also agreed to establish World Chagas Day, to be celebrated each year on 14 April. Chagas, a neglected tropical disease, currently affects between 6 and 7 million people, mostly in Latin America. They also declared 2020 the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.
Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework
Further to requests made by the World Health Assembly in 2017 and 2018, today delegates considered the final text of WHO’s analysis of the issues raised by the 2016 PIP Framework Review Group’s recommendations concerning seasonal influenza and genetic sequence data. The Health Assembly also considered the information provided by the Secretariat regarding implementation of the recommendations contained in the Director-General’s report on progress to implement decision WHA70(10).
Delegates adopted a decision to request WHO, inter alia, to work with the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) and other partners to improve influenza virus sharing, and to prepare a report with Member States and stakeholders on influenza virus sharing and public health in the context of legislation and regulatory measures including those implementing the Nagoya Protocol.
Furthermore, the Health Assembly requested more information on the prototype search engine previously developed and asked WHO to explore possible next steps in raising awareness of the PIP Framework among databases, data users and data providers.
The decision also agreed to amend a footnote relating to SMTA2 (Standard Material Transfer Agreement 2) in the PIP Framework. This will help ensure that the integrity of the PIP Framework access and benefit-sharing system continues to be well maintained.
The PIP Framework is an international normative instrument adopted by the Health Assembly in 2011 that brings together WHO, Member States, industry, and other relevant stakeholders to implement a global approach to pandemic influenza preparedness and response. The objective of the PIP Framework is to ensure a fair, transparent, equitable, efficient and effective system for, on an equal footing, the sharing of influenza viruses with human pandemic potential and access to vaccines and other benefits.

There is something to be said for Cafe Society where people actually meet face-to-face for conversation or the custom of families eating at least one meal together. Time has a good article on The Magic of the Family Meal http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1200760,00.html See, also The Importance of Eating Together: Family dinners build relationships, and help kids do better in school. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/the-importance-of-eating-together/374256/

It also looks like Internet rehab will have a steady supply of customers according to an article reprinted in the Seattle Times by Hillary Stout of the New York Times. In Toddlers Latch On to iPhones – and Won’t Let Go https://www.seattletimes.com/life/lifestyle/toddlers-latch-onto-iphones-8212-and-wont-let-go/ Stout reports:

But just as adults have a hard time putting down their iPhones, so the device is now the Toy of Choice — akin to a treasured stuffed animal — for many 1-, 2- and 3-year-olds. It’s a phenomenon that is attracting the attention and concern of some childhood development specialists.

Looks like social networking may not be all that social.


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University of California Irvine study: One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

16 Nov

The National Medical Association which an association of doctors of African descent reports the following hepatitis C facts:

Hepatitis C Statistics

General Statistics
• Hepatitis C virus commonly spread through sharing of needles, or other equipment to inject drugs. 1
• Risk of transmission occurs more if the person has a pre-existing virus such as HIV. 1
• 3.2 million persons in the United States have chronic Hepatitis C virus infection. 1
• Approximately 75%-85% of people infected with Hepatitis C virus develop chronic infection. 1
• After exposure, average time of symptoms is 6-7 weeks; however, most do not have any symptoms. 1
• Approximately 70-80% of people with acute Hepatitis C do not have symptoms. 1
• Of every 100 people infected with Hepatitis C about: 1
• 75-85 people will develop chronic Hepatitis C Virus infection; of those
o 60-70 people will go on to develop chronic liver disease
o 5-20 people will go on to develop cirrhosis over a period of 20-30 years
o 1-5 people will die from cirrhosis or liver failure.

African American Hepatitis C Statistics
• African American represents 13% of the U.S population, but make up about 22% of the chronic hepatitis C cases.1
• African Americans have significantly higher rates of chronic hepatitis C infections than do Caucasians and other ethnic groups. 1
• 4 of every 100 infant born to mothers with Hepatitis C become infected with the virus. 1
• Chronic liver disease, often Hepatitis C-related is the leading cause of death among people ages 45-64 among African Americans. 1
• Lack of testing for Hepatitis C among African Americans. 1
• There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. 1
• 26 Americans die each day from Hepatitis C complications. 2
• Each year approximately 170,000 new cases of HCV occur in the United States of America. 2
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/AfricanAmerica-HepC.htm

Hepatitis C Now Trumps HIV as Cause of Death in U.S.

More U.S. residents are now dying of hepatitis C complications than HIV-related illnesses, according to data summarized in the February 21 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
• The discovery that HCV infection is now responsible for more deaths than HIV infection is due, in large part, to the continued decline of AIDS-related deaths over the decade. Whereas HIV contributed to six per 100,000 deaths in 1999, the rate dropped to less than four per 100,000 deaths in 2007.
• Hepatitis C–related deaths have increased sharply.
• With respect to crude numbers, roughly 12,700 HIV-related deaths were reported to the National Center for Health Statistics in 2007. More than 15,000 HCV-related deaths were reported to the center that year.
• Co-infection with HIV nearly doubled the risk of death from HBV-related complications and quadrupled the risk of death from HCV-associated liver disease.
Source: Hep Smart + Strong – http://www.hepmag.com/articles/hiv_hcv_deaths_2501_21929.shtmlhttp://www.nmanet.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=291&Itemid=420

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a concise description of hepatitis C.

According to WHO:

Key facts

• Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus: the virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.
• The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus and the most common modes of infection are through unsafe injection practices; inadequate sterilization of medical equipment; and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
• 130–150 million people globally have chronic hepatitis C infection.
• A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
• Approximately 500 000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver diseases1.
• Antiviral medicines can cure approximately 90% of persons with hepatitis C infection, thereby reducing the risk of death from liver cancer and cirrhosis, but access to diagnosis and treatment is low.
• There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C; however research in this area is ongoing.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes both acute and chronic infection. Acute HCV infection is usually asymptomatic, and is only very rarely associated with life-threatening disease. About 15–45% of infected persons spontaneously clear the virus within 6 months of infection without any treatment.
The remaining 55–85% of persons will develop chronic HCV infection. Of those with chronic HCV infection, the risk of cirrhosis of the liver is 15–30% within 20 years.

Geographical distribution
Hepatitis C is found worldwide. The most affected regions are Africa and Central and East Asia. Depending on the country, hepatitis C infection can be concentrated in certain populations (for example, among people who inject drugs); and/or in general populations. There are multiple strains (or genotypes) of the HCV virus and their distribution varies by region.

The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus. It is most commonly transmitted through:
• injecting drug use through the sharing of injection equipment;
• in health care settings due to the reuse or inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, especially syringes and needles;
• the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products;
• HCV can also be transmitted sexually and can be passed from an infected mother to her baby; however these modes of transmission are much less common.
Hepatitis C is not spread through breast milk, food or water or by casual contact such as hugging, kissing and sharing food or drinks with an infected person.

The incubation period for hepatitis C is 2 weeks to 6 months. Following initial infection, approximately 80% of people do not exhibit any symptoms. Those who are acutely symptomatic may exhibit fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, grey-coloured faeces, joint pain and jaundice (yellowing of skin and the whites of the eyes)…. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs164/en/

A 2007 study, The costs and impacts of testing for hepatitis C virus antibody in public STD clinics estimated the test costs:


To estimate the cost and cost-effectiveness of testing sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic subgroups for antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV).

HCV counseling, testing, and referral (CTR) costs were estimated using data from two STD clinics and the literature, and are reported in 2006 dollars. Effectiveness of HCV CTR was defined as the estimated percentage of clinic clients in subgroups targeted for HCV antibody (anti-HCV) testing who had a true positive test and returned for their test results. We estimated the cost per true positive injection drug user (IDU) who returned for anti-HCV test results and the cost-effectiveness of expanding HCV CTR to non-IDU subgroups.

The estimated cost per true positive IDU who returned for test results was $54. The cost-effectiveness of expanding HCV CTR to non-IDU subgroups ranged from $179 to $2,986. Our estimates were most sensitive to variations in HCV prevalence, the cost of testing, and the rate of client return.

Based on national data, testing IDUs in the STD clinic setting is highly cost-effective. Some clinics may find that it is cost-effective to expand testing to non-IDU men older than 40 who report more than 100 lifetime sex partners. STD clinics can use study estimates to assess the feasibility and desirability of expanding HCV CTR beyond IDUs. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17542455

University of California Irvine researchers may have developed a cheaper test.

Science Daily reported in One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed:
Related research shows blood or urine sample can be used:

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the Annual Meeting of American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) in San Francisco, Nov. 14-16. Current blood-based HCV testing requires two steps and can be expensive, inconvenient and is not widely available or affordable globally…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151114185041.htm


One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed
Related research shows blood or urine sample can be used
Date: November 14, 2015

Source: University of California – Irvine

A cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections has been developed by researchers. Current blood-based HCV testing requires two steps and can be expensive, inconvenient and is not widely available or affordable globally.

Medical Press reported the following information from the University of California Irvine:

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed
November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the Annual Meeting of American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) in San Francisco, Nov. 14-16. Current blood-based HCV testing requires two steps and can be expensive, inconvenient and is not widely available or affordable globally.

“Our novel HCV antigen test system has significantly improved sensitivity and specificity over current tests. Importantly, for the first time, we can use urine specimens for one-step screening and diagnosing of HCV infection,” said Hu, professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at UC Irvine School of Medicine. “Finding a more convenient, easy-to-use and cost-effective screening alternative is imperative, because HCV is significantly under-screened and under-diagnosed.”

Although the current HCV screening test is specific and sensitive, it cannot distinguish active infection from a previous infection. A blood sample is required, and two steps are required. First, virus-specific antibodies must be detected in the blood. Then, the sensitive HCV RNA PCR test must be administered to confirm whether or not the infection is active. Hu said many developing countries are not equipped to administer the two-step test, especially the HCV RNA PCR test. In the U.S., its cost is above $200. The novel HCV antigen test system developed by Hu’s UC Irvine lab could significantly reduce the cost, human resources and time required for the test results.

“The ability to detect infection using urine rather than blood avoids needle stick and blood sample collection, greatly reduces the cost and necessary clinical infrastructure for screening and diagnosis, helping to promote widespread adoption of the test on a global scale,” Hu said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 150 million people worldwide and 3.2 million people in the U.S. are infected with HCV. Effective screening and fast diagnosis are critical for treatment and controlling transmission.

“Those who are HCV infected can now be cured, before a further liver injury and complications develop, but only if they are diagnosed” Hu said.

People with an HCV infection do not usually experience symptoms until more serious liver injury develops, such as fibrosis, cirrhosis, or liver cancer. The CDC recommends screening tests for high-risk patients, including intravenous drug users, and individuals who had blood transfusions before 1992, as well as those born between 1945 and 1965.
In addition to Hu, researcher Wei Cui is also listed as an author of the AASLD abstract entitled A Highly Specific and Sensitive Hepatitis C Virus Angtigens Enzyme Immunoassay (HCV-Ags EIA) for One-step Diagnosis of Viremic HCV Infection.
Explore further: Only half newly reported HCV cases receiving follow-up test

Provided by: University of California, Irvine

A cheaper and simpler hepatitis C test could save lives as more of those at risk can be tested.


Viral Hepatitis – Statistics & Surveillance


Frequently Asked Questions About Hepatitis C


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