Sunday, 7 June 2015

My top ten China healthcare stories for the week

1. Chinese people's cholesterol levels are going through the roof. The mean daily cholesterol intake in Chinese adults increased from 166 mg/day in 1991 to 266 mg/day in 2011, with eggs, pork, fish and shellfish most to blame - although cholesterol intake from chicken is also considerable.

2. The number of Chinese people diagnosed with schizophrenia has increased from 3 million in 1990 to 7.2 million in 2010, a 132% increase, say researchers from Beijing. They say the incerase is far ahead of population growth and is linked to increasing urbanisation.

3. Schistosomiasis has been resurging in certain areas of China where its transmission was previously well controlled or interrupted, possibly due to a more mobile population re-introducing the parasite, say Suzhou researchers.

4. Exposure to pesticides is casing serious health risks to China's rural dwellers, a study of 246 farmers from Guangdong, Jiangxi, and Hebei has found. Pesticide exposure was high and those exposed showed adverse effects on nerve function, blood cell levels and liver function.

Good news on infant mortality rates: in Zhejiang they have fallen more than 60% since 1997, from 7.85 to 2.81 per 1000 livebirths for neonates.

5. China's hospital rarely recommend TCM. While China has many hospitals dedicated to Chinese Traditional Medicine, the majority focus on western medicine, and few of them recommend TCM in their clinical guidelines. A review of more than 600 clinical practice guidelines found that only 12% recommended TCM therapy.

6. Don't eat those wild mushrooms: heavy metal pollution in wild edible mushrooms is a serious problem in the Yunnan Province, a new stud shows. Analysis of wild mushrooms found that they contained hazardous levels of arsenic and cadmium.

7. Heavy metal contamination is also a problem for rice supplies in some parts of China. A study of five areas of China found that about 20% of rice samples exceeded the maximum allowable cadmium levels, with some areas of Guizhou having 40% of rice with serious contamination.

8. Dengue fever is an emerging problem in China that demands attention, according to doctors from Viral Disease and Vaccine Translational Research Unit, Institut Pasteur of Shanghai. They say the disease has come from nowhere to epidemic proportions, with 1000 cases discovered each week in Guangdong since September 2014. They blame increased overseas travel by Chinese and returning travellers.

9. Another emerging infectious disease of concern is the tick-borne disease Babesiosis, which has been reported for the first time in two patients near the Burma border in Yunnan.

10. Tibetans have a high risk of cardiovascular disease, with a high rate of risk factors such as hypertension seen in the more prosperous, lamas and those living at lower altitudes.The findings suggest that without the immediate implementation of an efficient policy to control these risk factors, cardiovascular disease will eventually become a major disease burden among Tibetans, say researchers from Tibet and Tianjin.

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