All posts by Ayah Nayfeh

Digital Health Platforms to Improve Health of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Authors: Sara Hanafy, Ayah Nayfeh

Increasing conflict and political fragility in Syria has forced the large-scale displacement of millions of Syrians into neighbouring countries like Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Nearly one in every four people in Lebanon is a refugee, many of whom are women and children whose medical needs are not being met [1]. The influx of refugees from Syria over the past five years has moved Lebanon from the 69th largest refugee-hosting country to the third largest.

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Sexual and Reproductive Heath and Rights: A Global Obligation

Authors: Kassandra Messier, Ayah Nayfeh

Universal access to sexual and reproductive health care is at the forefront of human rights issues of the 21st century. Every year in developing countries, there are 74 million unintended pregnancies leading to approximately 36 million abortions. Of these abortions, 21 million are unsafe which makes up nearly 13% of all maternal deaths globally [1]. The global advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights are susceptible to change in 2017, as new international aid agendas are set.

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The Lures and Risks of Fentanyl Abuse – An Opioid Epidemic in Canada

The recent spike in opioid drug overdoses in Metro Vancouver caught the attention of Canadians when a total of 16 overdoses, including six in one hour, were reported in just one day. In recent years, Canada’s four largest provinces have seen significant increases in fentanyl-related deaths. British Columbia, for example, saw a dramatic increase from 5% of total illicit drug deaths in 2012 to over 25% in 2014 [1]. Canadians are among the biggest users of opioid drugs in the world and fentanyl is the fastest growing drug abused in Canada [2].

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Innovation for Maternal and Child Health in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Social Determinants Approach

Maternal deaths have become largely preventable in the developed world due to significant advances in health care services and medical technology. So much so, the rate of maternal mortality has replaced financial indicators such as the gross domestic product (GDP) as a lead development indicator to highlight disparities between rich and poor countries [1]. About 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries (230 per 100,000 live births versus 16 per 100,000 in developed countries) and obstetric complications continue to be the leading cause of death for women in developing regions [2]. Approximately 800 women die everyday due to preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth [2].

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The Angelina Jolie Effect: The Problem and Promise of Personalized Medicine

Following the decision for a preventative double mastectomy in 2013, Angelina Jolie announced this past March that she has had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in an effort to prevent cancer. A blood test showing a mutation in the BRCA1 gene gave her an 87 per cent risk of breast cancer and a 50 per cent risk of ovarian cancer.

Especially in cases for cancer, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases, precision or personalized medicine (PM) is a promising approach that identifies disease biomarkers for prevention and prediction of therapeutic measures and lifestyle changes. By using a blood, skin, or tissue sample to examine an individual’s DNA, clinicians are able to uncover defects or mutations that are known to be associated with a type of hereditary disease and can allow for early action and improved health outcomes (Canadian Cancer Society, 2015).

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Sitting is the ‘new smoking’, and we’re paying the price

Even with regular exercise as part of a healthy regimen, Toronto researchers found that prolonged sitting is linked to increased risk of negative health outcomes, including heart disease, diabetes, and premature death. According to an analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, sitting for long periods during daytime hours, regardless of exercise, is associated with a 15-20 percent higher risk of premature death from any cause, a 15-20 percent higher risk of heart disease, and as much as a 90 percent higher risk of developing diabetes (Biswas et al., 2015). Continue reading Sitting is the ‘new smoking’, and we’re paying the price