Spotlight on malaria

As the mother of a toddler, I was stunned to learn just how many young children fall prey to severe malarial infection every day. How could a so-called preventable disease still have the ability to kill so many? And, just as important, why wasn’t such a public health crisis receiving more international attention?

Cerebrum May 2007 - Dr. Terrie TaylorSo while doing my research for the Cerebrum article, “Cerebral Malaria: A Wily Foe,” I was pleased to hear about the headway being made in understanding the mechanisms underlying cerebral malaria by scientists and doctors around the world, such as Terrie E. Taylor, David Sullivan, Georges Grau, and Charles Newton. Their pioneering research is offering millions of children in Africa hope for future sustainable preventative measures and gaining much-needed world attention.

The May 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is a theme issue focused on malaria. Some of articles featured in the issue look at diagnostic methods, the lack of new drug approaches to combat resistant malarial infection, and the alarming finding by one of Dr. Newton’s colleagues that close to half of Kenyan children with severe malarial infection suffer from neurological impairment later in life.

Hopefully, with this raised awareness and understanding, this wily foe can be conquered – and quickly.

— Kayt Sukel

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