Tag Archives: Health

Nudge towards effective harm reduction

In the past, policy makers assumed that governments could only change behaviours through rules and regulations. now they are designing programmes that reflect how people really act, as a means to induce behavioural change. The ‘nudge’ theory opens the way for nuanced and pragmatic harm reduction policies, argues Alberto Alemanno, who is Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law and Risk Regulation at the Paris School for Business and Management, France. Read more [...]

Do drug programs really work?

Drugs are a modern plague. It is difficult to develop effective policies and programmes based on objective evidence. Indeed,the evidence base for prevention programmes is rather patchy. Françoise Dubois-Arber, from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUSMP) at Lausanne University Hospital, in Switzerland, shares her views on what works and what does not, when it comes to drug prevention programmes. Read more [...]

Juggling with drinking patterns, culture and policy responses

Alcohol is addictive. Global action to reduce harmful use is already underway. But governments still struggle to implement effective policies against drink abuse.It now imperative that policy-makers appreciate the complex individual, societal and cultural factors that affect their work. Marjana Martinic, deputy president at the International Center for Alcohol Policies, Washington, D.C. USA, shares her views on how diverse interventions have been tested and are likely to be appropriate and enjoy public support. Read more [...]

The ethics of intervening in addicts’ lives

Philosophical puzzles apply in public health too. In addiction, there is a subtle balance between the rights and responsibilities of the individual and the State. Particularly, when it comes to intervening in the lives of people addicted to substances such as tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs. Here, Julian Kinderlerer, professor of intellectual property law at Cape Town University, South Africa, who is also president of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE), outlines all the facets of the ethical dilemma associated with State intervention towards addiction, and places the role of scientists and ethicists in informing a balanced debate. Read more [...]

Blowback – Spy scandal threatens European research

The Snowden fallout it far from being over. One of its consequences is the European Parliament’s text for upcoming Data Protection legislation. The draft proposal has resulted in some of the largest, most prestigious, non-commercial research organisations in Europe being up in arms. They warn that the EU is set to strangle health-saving research. In this feature article, EuroScientist investigates what could be the possible consequences, should the legislation does not make suitable exception to allow research of potential future societal value and privacy at all costs becomes the new rule. Read more [...]

One step too far for legendary Danish transparency

Imagine that all the information including the health data, the intimate personal problems, the social references together with the results of your blood tests and all prescribed medicines in the past seven years have been sent to a database and stored under your unique personal identity number. This is what happened in Denmark. It is the result of a mandatory programme ordered by the Danish regional health authorities. When people realised that such data had been used for research without the consent of individuals, it created a massive scandal in a country known for its transparency policies. This unfortunate episode is a good illustration of how things can go wrong when data privacy issues are not being fully taken into account. Can other European countries learn from the Danish experience? Read more [...]

The science of sleep, the sleep of scientists

Sleep. We all need it. From working long hours in the lab or field, researchers often get much less sleep than the average person requires. Conducting research into the twilight hours is prevalent in all fields of science, from life science to particle physics. But the cognitively demanding tasks of conducting experiments and analysing data require a clear mind. So how do scientists manage their research—let alone their personal lives—with little rest? Here, a few scientists share lessons about sleep they have learned from their life and work. Read more [...]

When tech meets fashion

Fashion is not commonly associated with science and technology. However, there has always been a close connection between these fields. Exploring the way both fields have evolved, finding synergies, brings some interesting insights into how technology can have a direct influence on the way people live. But it could also impinge on their right to privacy. Read more [...]

Ebola preparedness starts with dispelling fear

In an attempt to dispel any fear of the unknown surrounding ebola, EuroScientist analyse the many facets of the current outbreak based on the opinion of a broad range of experts. Above all, we look at whether European countries are sufficiently prepared to make adequate policy decisions that will help end this outbreak and prevent future ones. Read more [...]

E-cigarettes in regulatory doldrums

The phenomenon of e-cigarette has caught regulators flat footed. The devices vaporise a solution, allowing vapers to inhale nicotine. Their popularity has surged and regulators are running to catch up. However, around the world countries are adopting different approaches as people begin to get into the vaping habit. What is certain is that they are proving controversial. And they have split tobacco-control community. Some see them as life savers, others as a pathway to normalisation and more tobacco use. Read more [...]

Riccardo Polosa: View of Italian tobacco expert on e-cigarettes policy

Riccardo Polossa heads up the Centre for Tobacco Research at University of Catania, Italy. He is the author of more than 250 peer reviewed articles and books, covering respiratory medicine, clinical immunology, and tobacco addiction. He is also the chief scientific advisor for Lega Italiana Anti Fumo (LIAF), the Italian Anti-Smoking League. As one of Europe’s top expert on e-cigarettes, he shares his views on the issues surrounding the regulation of such novel products. Read more [...]