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Health Bulletins
September, 2012

Substance Abuse

 

Substance abuse of all kinds has become a worldwide epidemic that will significantly impact the young generation and the society as whole. On the national level, Jordan has recently witnessed an outburst of substance abuse.

 

The information available indicates increased consumption of drugs and alcohol amongst adolescents in schools and on streets. Thus it is important for our society to be updated on this issue in Jordan.

Many areas in Jordan suffer from eye popping substance abuse in public.

 

Social agencies think that this will threaten the make-up of the Jordanian society and that this will tarnish the image of Jordan globally.

 

Some experts believe that the situation is grim and rapidly worsening amongst people of all classes. As they back their rationales with research that link substance abuse to the psychological, political, economical and social reasons. Specifically, they point out to high unemployment in recent years.

 

Other optimistic opinions state that substance abuse in Jordan has not reached the level of alarm yet. They compare Jordan to countries like Egypt and Lebanon where substance abuse is way higher. Those experts claim that the reason behind substance abuse is due to adolescents having a lot of spare time, globalization and high purchasing power in Jordanian society.

 

However, both points of views agree that the actual number of substance abusers in Jordan is higher than the reported numbers. This is because individuals are reluctant to treat themselves and expose their reputation to society.

 

To have a healthy society in Jordan, individuals, governments and agencies must work together to eradicate this epidemic.

AIDS

 

Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The virus weakens a person's ability to fight infections and cancer. Having HIV does not always mean that you have AIDS. It can take many years for people with the virus to develop AIDS. In here, we will provide you with a brief overview about the symptoms, causes, treatment and the prevalence of this pandemic in Jordan.

 

Symptoms

• A never-ending fever • Sweating

• Feeling tired all the time • Feeling sick all the time

• Losing weight • Swollen glands

 

Common ways people get HIV:

• Sharing a needle to take drugs.

• Having unprotected sex with an infected person.

• Person receiving blood or organs from infected donors.

• From a mother to a baby through breast milk or from mother to fetus through shared circulation.

 

You cannot get HIV from:

• Touching or hugging someone who has HIV/AIDS.

• Public bathrooms or swimming pools.

• Mosquitoes, bug bites.

The only way to know if you have HIV is to take an HIV blood test. People with AIDS usually have CD4 below 200.

 

A few treatments are available that can help keep symptoms at bay and improve the quality of life for those who have already developed symptoms. For example, Antiretroviral therapy called HAART suppresses the replication of the HIV virus in the body. However, until now there is no definitive cure for AIDS and research on drug treatments is ongoing.

 

Although the Ministry of Health reported that 1000 cases of HIV/AIDS were diagnosed in Jordan as of December 2007, the actual number is thought to be much higher due to under-reporting.

1) How do I deal with minor burns?

 

• Cool the affected skin using cool water between 10-30 minutes.

• Do not use ice, creams, or greasy substances.

• Cover the burn rather than wrapping it around a limb.

• Taking a mild painkiller, such as paracetamol.

• Do not break blisters.

 

2) What is a healthy balanced diet?

The two keys to a healthy balanced diet are:

• Eating the right amount of food for how active you are

• Eating a range of foods – this is what balanced means

 

3) Will breastfeeding make a big difference in my child's health?

You bet breastfeeding will make a difference, it will:

• Boost your baby's immunity against illnesses such as ear infections, alergies, pneumonia.

• Prevent sudden infant death syndrome.

 

4) I wake up in the night having to urinate - is that a problem?

It’s a normal sign as you get older! One likely culprit is something called BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). As you get older, the prostate can squeeze down on the urethra, giving you an intense urge to urinate.

 

5) What are the most important nutrients women needs?

While a lot depends on your diet and your lifestyle habits, many women are not consuming enough of:

• Folate (a B vitamin): helps support growth and development, prevents certain birth defects and anemia during pregnancy, and may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.

• Calcium is essential for healthy bones and prevents osteoporosis (a painful bone-thinning disorder) later in life.

Biosimilars

 

The term biosimilars refers to pharmaceutical products that are marketed after expiration of patents, which are claimed to have similar properties to existing biological products. In this article, we will provide you with a brief about biologics, a comparison between biologics and chemical drugs and finally the importance and benefits of biosimilars.

 

What is a biologic?

A class of drugs that has an active substance(s) produced from or extracted from a biological (living) system, and requires, in addition to physico-chemical testing, biological testing for full characterization. Examples on biologics include Herceptin for breast cancer, Remicade for Rheumatoid Arthritis.

What is the difference between a chemical and biologic drug?

Acid Rain

Acid rain describes any form of precipitation with high levels of nitric and sulfuric acids. It can also occur in the form of snow, fog (wet deposition) and tiny bits of dry material (dry deposition) that settle to Earth. This article contains the causes, effects, and solutions to acid rain.

 

Causes

Rotting vegetation and erupting volcanoes release some chemicals that can cause acid rain, but most acid rain falls because of human activities. Additionally, when humans burn fossil fuels sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) combine with water from the atmosphere.

 

Effects

1) Acid rain makes waters acidic and causes them to absorb the aluminum that makes its way from soil into lakes and streams. This combination makes waters toxic to crayfish, clams, fish, and other aquatic animals.

2) Acid rain also damages forests. It robs the soil of essential nutrients and releases aluminum in the soil, which makes it hard for trees to take up water. Trees' leaves and needles are also harmed by acids.

 

3) Acid rain can cause respiratory diseases like bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and heart problems to humans.

The only way to fight acid rain is by burning fewer fossil fuels. Many governments have tried to curb emissions by cleaning up industry smokestacks and promoting alternative fuel sources. Individually, people can help prevent acid rain by conserving energy and reducing emission by using public transportation. This will lead to fewer chemical emissions from power plants.

Overall, 69.4% of sulfur dioxide is produced by industrial combustion

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Chemicals

Biologics

Product Characteristcs

Small, simple molecules

Large, complex molecules

Production

Produced by chemical synthesis

Produced in living

organisms

Side effects

Usually exist

Not present

Used for

Treatment  of temporary and chronic illnesses

Chronic illnesses only

Why develop Biosimilars?

1) Business opportunity

Patent expiration for blockbuster drugs (esp. mAb)

2) Benefits on development path

3) Supportive global regulatory environment

4) Healthcare benefits

Lower cost for treatment

Increased access for patients

Currently there is a shift in the pharmaceutical industry towards

biosimilars. We can expect to see biosimilars marketed in the Middle East by 2015, if not before.

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