Cybersecurity: an EU health challenge in the post-Covid era

In September 2020, during the pandemic, the German press reported the first death due to a cyber attack on the Hospital of Düsseldorf University, which caused great disturbance such as postponement of surgeries, and scheduled medical examinations or chemotherapies. Cybercriminals by using malicious software, so called ransomware, invaded 30 servers of the hospital, crashed the system and forced the staff to turn away patients treated in emergency. A female patient was sent to Wuppertal 35 km away and eventually died due to treatment delay. Nearly a year earlier, Campbell County Health, a medical group in Wyoming USA, with 20 clinics across the state, had also been target for cybercriminals.

Increasing awareness of researcher mental health

Recently, there has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the mental health of researchers. Research is an activity that aims to confront the boundaries of human knowledge: it demands excellence from all researchers, who aim to publish in peer-reviewed publications, submit grant applications, achieve tenure or defend a PhD thesis. Researchers identify with and are dedicated to their work to a very great extent. A recent report noted that researchers simultaneously demonstrate high levels of job satisfaction and high levels of stress and depression. Nevertheless, hard work does not have to lead to suffering.

Policy making manifesto: squaring science with the human factor

EuroScientist publishes in exclusivity the Brussels Declaration on ethics & principles for science & society policy-making, launched on 17th February 2017 at the AAAS meeting. This document outlines a set of 20 principles related to the ethics and the mechanisms through which scientific evidence is taken into account as part of the policy making process for issues relevant to science and society. This declaration proposes a dramatic shift in the way scientific evidence informs policy. It suggests integrating the views of practitioners in relevant fields, thus instilling a bottom-up approach to the policy making process. This is in sharp contrast with the existing top down policy making principles. Find out more in this op-ed written exclusively for EuroScientist by some of the authors of the Brussels Declaration.

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How citizens’ feedback can shape health research

Experts will discuss the latest research on healthy populations at the forthcoming EuroScience Open Forum event to be held in July 2016 in Manchester. The trouble is, until recently, often people who may be impacted by health research did not have a say in it. Several session organisers share their views on the new avenues that are explored to improve the link between health research and citizens.

Disruptive innovation requires humanities’ input

Disruptive innovation has to be accompanied by social and cultural progress. In the provocative opinion piece, Kirsten Drotner from the University of Southern Denmark and Mariachiara Esposito from Science Europe call for policy makers in Europe to abandon the prevailing approach to innovation that has informed European policies and funding programmes, in particular Horizon 2020. Instead, they call for a recognition of the role of arts and humanities research in fostering future innovation.

Health Policy

The shift towards prevention or wellness has now been operated a few years ago in health policy. Particularly in the field of chronic diseases, which is the focus of our independent coverage in this issue and of a campaign orchestrated by the REIsearch project. This has led to a number of policy experiments over time. As yet, there is no magic bullet to entice people to try and take greater care of their health. It appears that a combination of voluntary actions by citizens, with prevention campaigns from interested groups, and regulations can help. But too much of any of these ingredients may affect the fragile dynamic between them.

Human nature thwarts wellness

As Easter is looming, some of us already know that eating large amounts of chocolate eggs will be too much of a temptation to resist. This Easter chocolate binge is symptomatic of our approach to health. And to preventing chronic diseases that may affect us later in life. Until we actually see the damage done by such often irresponsible behaviour, we are not going to change. Clearly, we are our own worst enemies, when it comes to keeping ourselves in good health and taking preventative steps.

The Linux approach to human and ecosystem well-being

Our democracies have bugs, lack user-friendly features and under-perform. Above all, they are in need of major upgrades. Political and economic systems are failing us because they are structured vertically through top-down hierarchies. Instead we need to adopt a new economic system, driven by principles related to “act local, think global” philosophy. In this stimulating opinion piece, Lorenzo Fioramonti, director of the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, in South Africa, shares his vision about creating a highly integrated horizontal economic system.