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AS IT IS - Post Partum Depression / A Possible Link Between Rainfall and a Deadly Brain Disease in Babies / A Tuberculosis Drug Approved for Use in South Africa

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From VOA Learning English, welcome to AS IT IS!

Hello, I'm Jim Tedder.

On today's show, we tell about a study in Ghana of women with post partum depression and the effects it can have on their new babies.

We also look at a study in Uganda that suggests a possible link between rainfall and a deadly brain disease in babies.

And, we tell about a tuberculosis drug recently approved for use in South Africa.

The United States drug agency has given early clearance to the tuberculosis drug bedaquiline for use in South Africa. Bedaquiline is meant to treat multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, which does not respond to other drugs. Milagros Ardin has more.

Health workers in South Africa are welcoming the drug. They say there is a growing need in the country for treatment of tuberculosis, called TB. The new drug has not yet cleared full medical trials. But experts say the sick and dying cannot wait.

In 2010, Dr. Dalene von Delft came down with TB while working at a Cape Town hospital. Dr. von Delft was given the usual drugs – and she started to lose her hearing. She asked her doctor to replace one of her drugs with one that was still being tested in experimental trials. That drug was bedaquiline.

The promising new experimental drug also threatens hearing. But she took a chance.

"I was willing to take that risk. And I'm very glad that I did because I have my hearing and I've been cured from the TB. "

The United States Food and Drug Administration approved bedaquiline for use in late 2012 for patients who have few other choices of medicines. Helen Cox of the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders says doctors are happy to have a new choice. She says the drug is the first new TB drug released in years.

Miz Cox said many patients take all their drugs and are not cured. This new drug offers hope.

"There's such an urgent need for new drugs, and new treatments for multi-drug resistant TB."

But, she also noted bedaquiline's possible risks. In addition to permanent hearing loss, it could cause a heart problem.

As for Dr. von Delft, she now works in a private emergency room. She says she had to leave public health work because of the danger of getting TB again.

But, she says, she is glad that others might get bedaquiline, the drug which gave her another chance. I'm Milagros Ardin.

In Ghana, mothers who have sick babies are much more likely to suffer from postpartum depression. A new study says the condition could threaten her child's health. Mario Ritter has our report.

Researchers say while the study of postpartum depression was done in Ghana, the findings could be true for many low-income countries.

Lead writer Katherine Gold of the University of Michigan Medical School says the condition is well understood in the developed world. But she says that is not the case in Ghana or most of Africa. Dr. Gold describes postpartum depression as serious and extended.

"Postpartum depression would be a clinical depression in the first year after giving birth. This is not the baby blues where people might feel a little down or have some hormonal changes."

Instead, she said postpartum depression can mean problems for mothers like not taking good care of themselves or their babies. There can be a number of causes, including family history.

"If your mother had it or your sister had it, you might be at risk."

Many women in Ghana and other parts of Africa do not understand postpartum depression. But the person suffering from it may think of herself as being punished.

It is generally known that it can affect a baby's well-being. But in low-income countries, it appears that a mother's deep depression can affect a baby's health and growth.

Dr. Gold says medicines are available in Africa that can help, but they are expensive. She suggests that counseling and community groups could help by telling women about the causes, signs and treatments of the condition.

Scientists say they have found the first major neurological condition that may connect to climate. A study in Uganda shows that the amount of rainfall can affect the number of babies who develop a deadly brain infection. Kelly Jean Kelly has more.

Estimates say 100-thousand babies in sub-Saharan Africa get an infection called hydrocephalus every year. Without treatment it can cause death or brain damage.

The word "hydrocephalus" means water on the brain. It happens when fluid builds up and leads to an enlarged brain and an enlarged head.

Scientist Steven Schiff says a small amount of fluid surrounding the brain is normal. He directs the Center for Neural Engineering at Penn State University in Pennsylvania. Professor Schiff says the fluid protects the brain and keeps it moist.

"We produce, oh, about a cup of fluid a day, and it bathes and cushions our brains. And every drop we make has to be taken out of the head by the body. And there are tiny, little fluid channels that allow that to happen."

But he says sometimes infection blocks these small channels, or passages.

Professor Schiff says treating or preventing the infection with a medical operation only partly solves the problem. He says doctors also want to identify the organisms that cause the problem.

How the babies got the organisms is where medical research and climate were considered together. Ugandan hospital records of hydrocephalus were compared with information collected by satellite. The researchers looked at both the climate and rainfall amounts for each month. They also noted the number of cases of hydrocephalus from each area for each month. It was clear that babies were coming to the hospital when the rainfall was not too much or too little, but just in the middle. That is when conditions are just right for bacteria that can lead to hydrocephalus growth.

Research, then, needs to be planned for the geography of an area. That way, ways may be found to interfere with the environmental conditions that cause bacteria to grow and cause the infection.

And that's AS IT IS for today. I'm Jim Tedder.

Tell us what you want to hear about on our new show. We want to cover the issues and ideas that matter to you, in your world, as it is.

网友的学习评论(1条):
作者:XsXSJ
To find out the organism of something like weird phenomenons,deseases,or other things ,we should adopt scientific approches ,just like those great scientists did, rule out superstition , stick to see ,to learn and to observe the world through scientific perspective,only in this way,can we utimately become great men. KEEP MOVING
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