SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Developing country

302

The detrimental impact of smoking on health has been widely documented since the 1960s. Numerous studies have also quantified the economic cost that smoking imposes on society. However, these studies have mostly been in high income countries, with limited documentation from developing countries. The aim of this paper is to measure the economic cost of smoking-attributable diseases in countries throughout the world, including in low- and middle-income settings.

Concepts: Costs, Economics, World, Developing country, Income, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

158

While basic access to clean water is critical, another important issue is the affordability of water access for people around the globe. Prior international work has highlighted that a large proportion of consumers could not afford water if priced at full cost recovery levels. Given growing concern about affordability issues due to rising water rates, and a comparative lack of work on affordability in the developed world, as compared to the developing world, more work is needed in developed countries to understand the extent of this issue in terms of the number of households and persons impacted. To address this need, this paper assesses potential affordability issues for households in the United States using the U.S. EPA’s 4.5% affordability criteria for combined water and wastewater services. Analytical results from this paper highlight high-risk and at-risk households for water poverty or unaffordable water services. Many of these households are clustered in pockets of water poverty within counties, which is a concern for individual utility providers servicing a large proportion of customers with a financial inability to pay for water services. Results also highlight that while water rates remain comparatively affordable for many U.S. households, this trend will not continue in the future. If water rates rise at projected amounts over the next five years, conservative projections estimate that the percentage of U.S. households who will find water bills unaffordable could triple from 11.9% to 35.6%. This is a concern due to the cascading economic impacts associated with widespread affordability issues; these issues mean that utility providers could have fewer customers over which to spread the large fixed costs of water service. Unaffordable water bills also impact customers for whom water services are affordable via higher water rates to recover the costs of services that go unpaid by lower income households.

Concepts: United States, Developed country, United Kingdom, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Developing country, Canada, Republic of China, Public utility

137

Historically, bifidobacteria were the dominant intestinal bacteria in breastfed infants. Still abundant in infants in developing nations, levels of intestinal bifidobacteria are low among infants in developed nations. Recent studies have described an intimate relationship between human milk and a specific subspecies of Bifidobacterium, B. longum subsp. infantis (B. infantis), yet supplementation of breastfed, healthy, term infants with this organism, has not been reported. The IMPRINT Study, a Phase I clinical trial, was initiated to determine the safety and tolerability of supplementing breastfed infants with B. infantis (EVC001).

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Gut flora, Species, Developed country, Interpersonal relationship, Developing country, Bifidobacterium

109

The lack of readily available sterilization processes for medicine and dentistry practices in the developing world is a major risk factor for the propagation of disease. Modern medical facilities in the developed world often use autoclave systems to sterilize medical instruments and equipment and process waste that could contain harmful contagions. Here, we show the use of broadband light-absorbing nanoparticles as solar photothermal heaters, which generate high-temperature steam for a standalone, efficient solar autoclave useful for sanitation of instruments or materials in resource-limited, remote locations. Sterilization was verified using a standard Geobacillus stearothermophilus-based biological indicator.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Ecology, Developed country, United Kingdom, Developing country, Autoclave, Human Development Index

46

Aquaculture is developing rapidly at a global scale and sustainable practices are an essential part of meeting the protein requirements of the ballooning human population. Locating aquaculture offshore is one strategy that may help address some issues related to nearshore development. However, offshore production is nascent and distinctions between the types of aquatic farming may not be fully understood by the public-important for collaboration, research, and development. Here we evaluate and report, to our knowledge, the first multinational quantification of the relative sentiments and opinions of the public around distinct forms of aquaculture. Using thousands of newspaper headlines (Ntotal = 1,596) from developed (no. countries = 26) and developing (42) nations, ranging over periods of 1984 to 2015, we found an expanding positive trend of general ‘aquaculture’ coverage, while ‘marine’ and ‘offshore’ appeared more negative. Overall, developing regions published proportionally more positive than negative headlines than developed countries. As case studies, government collected public comments (Ntotal = 1,585) from the United States of America (USA) and New Zealand mirrored the media sentiments; offshore perception being particularly negative in the USA. We also found public sentiment may be influenced by local environmental disasters not directly related to aquaculture (e.g., oil spills). Both countries voiced concern over environmental impacts, but the concerns tended to be more generalized, rather than targeted issues. Two factors that could be inhibiting informed discussion and decisions about offshore aquaculture are lack of applicable knowledge and actual local development issues. Better communication and investigation of the real versus perceived impacts of aquaculture could aid in clarifying the debate about aquaculture, and help support future sustainable growth.

Concepts: Understanding, United States, Developed country, Perception, New Zealand, Developing country, Sustainability, Human Development Index

46

Despite widespread adoption of genetically modified crops in many countries, heated controversies about their advantages and disadvantages continue. Especially for developing countries, there are concerns that genetically modified crops fail to benefit smallholder farmers and contribute to social and economic hardship. Many economic studies contradict this view, but most of them look at short-term impacts only, so that uncertainty about longer-term effects prevails. We address this shortcoming by analyzing economic impacts and impact dynamics of Bt cotton in India. Building on unique panel data collected between 2002 and 2008, and controlling for nonrandom selection bias in technology adoption, we show that Bt has caused a 24% increase in cotton yield per acre through reduced pest damage and a 50% gain in cotton profit among smallholders. These benefits are stable; there are even indications that they have increased over time. We further show that Bt cotton adoption has raised consumption expenditures, a common measure of household living standard, by 18% during the 2006-2008 period. We conclude that Bt cotton has created large and sustainable benefits, which contribute to positive economic and social development in India.

Concepts: Economics, Bacillus, Developing country, Bacillus thuringiensis, Genetically modified food, Transgenic maize, Monsanto, Pink bollworm

45

More than three quarters of the world’s suicides occur in developing countries, yet little is known about the drivers of suicidal behavior in poor populations. I study India, where one fifth of global suicides occur and suicide rates have doubled since 1980. Using nationally comprehensive panel data over 47 y, I demonstrate that fluctuations in climate, particularly temperature, significantly influence suicide rates. For temperatures above 20 °C, a 1 °C increase in a single day’s temperature causes ∼70 suicides, on average. This effect occurs only during India’s agricultural growing season, when heat also lowers crop yields. I find no evidence that acclimatization, rising incomes, or other unobserved drivers of adaptation are occurring. I estimate that warming over the last 30 y is responsible for 59,300 suicides in India, accounting for 6.8% of the total upward trend. These results deliver large-scale quantitative evidence linking climate and agricultural income to self-harm in a developing country.

Concepts: Heat, India, Developing country, Major depressive disorder, Suffering, Self-harm, Suicide, The Complete Manual of Suicide

40

Respiratory failure is a leading cause of neonatal mortality in the developing world. Bubble continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) is a safe, effective intervention for infants with respiratory distress and is widely used in developed countries. Because of its high cost, bCPAP is not widely utilized in low-resource settings. We evaluated the performance of a new bCPAP system to treat severe respiratory distress in a low resource setting, comparing it to nasal oxygen therapy, the current standard of care.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Intensive care medicine, Developed country, Infant mortality, Respiratory system, Developing country, Cyprus, Nasal cannula

37

Sensitive biological compounds, such as vaccines and antibiotics, traditionally require a time-dependent “cold chain” to maximize therapeutic activity. This flawed process results in billions of dollars worth of viable drug loss during shipping and storage, and severely limits distribution to developing nations with limited infrastructure. To address these major limitations, we demonstrate self-standing silk protein biomaterial matrices capable of stabilizing labile vaccines and antibiotics, even at temperatures up to 60 °C over more than 6 months. Initial insight into the mechanistic basis for these findings is provided. Importantly, these findings suggest a transformative approach to the cold chain to revolutionize the way many labile therapeutic drugs are stored and utilized throughout the world.

Concepts: Medicine, Stabilizer, Drug, Therapy, Phage therapy, Developing country, Storage, Silk

29

The causes of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in developing countries are complex and may be rooted in practices of health care professionals and patients' behavior towards the use of antimicrobials as well as supply chains of antimicrobials in the population. Some of these factors may include inappropriate prescription practices, inadequate patient education, limited diagnostic facilities, unauthorized sale of antimicrobials, lack of appropriate functioning drug regulatory mechanisms, and non-human use of antimicrobials such as in animal production. Considering that these factors in developing countries may vary from those in developed countries, intervention efforts in developing countries need to address the context and focus on the root causes specific to this part of the world. Here, we describe these health-seeking behaviors that lead to the threat of AMR and healthcare practices that drive the development of AMR in developing countries and we discuss alternatives for disease prevention as well as other treatment options worth exploring.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Health, Patient, Developed country, Developing country, Morality, Human Development Index