Global health news round-up: new brain imaging technique in NZ, WHO ‘pandemic intelligence hub’ announced in Germany

Once again, we’re ready to round-up the latest healthcare news from across the globe.

If you missed any of the stories closer to home, you can catch up with our news in brief to find out what happened in the health sector across the UK this week.

There have certainly been plenty of positive highlights, including a new Chief Exec for University Southampton Hospital Trust, the development of mini 3D models that could accelerate MS research, and financial stability for Barts Health NHS Trust.

In addition, here are some of the most interesting international stories we found in our latest sweep of world headlines…

A new brain imaging technique is being pioneered in New Zealand, with the aim to detect conditions such as aneurysms and brain disorders before they become life-threatening. Research is being undertaken at Mātai Medical Research Institute, in collaboration with the Stevens Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of Auckland, among others, and involves ‘capturing’ the brain in motion, in real-time.

The technique, called 3D amplified MRI or 3D aMRI, allows brain movement to be viewed in all directions via an animated model – which could assist with non-invasive diagnosis of brain injuries and even remove the need for brain surgery in some instances. (Mātai Medical Research Institute)

Meanwhile, over in Denmark, a new Danish Data Science Academy has been announced. The academy, set to be housed at the Technical University of Denmark, is being funded by DKK 184.3 million – around £21.5 million – from The Novo Nordisk Foundation and the VILLUM FOUNDATION.

The financial support will help research institutions and tech companies in areas such as training, teaching, networking and collaboration, to strengthen the sector and enhance the country’s output and influence in areas such as machine learning and AI. (Novo Nordisk Foundation)

Denmark’s neighbours to the south, Germany, have announced that Berlin will be the base of a new global hub for pandemic and epidemic intelligence that’s being set up by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence will act as platform for sharing ‘multi-sectoral data’ to drive ‘innovations in health analytics’ and help with predicting, preventing, detecting and responding to ‘worldwide health threats’. It is hoped that countries across the world will use it to collaborate and co-create tools to support public health experts. (WHO)

In COVID-19 vaccination-related news, Saudi Arabia has made inoculations mandatory for both public, non-profit and private sector workers who wish to return to offices and workplaces, according to Reuters. There’s no official date for implementation as of yet – but The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has encouraged workplaces to begin preparations. (Reuters)

The Australian Government Department of Health has provided its latest update on the COVID situation in the country. As of 7 May 2021, Australia had no locally acquired infections within the previous 24 hours, with 10 acquired from overseas travellers in the same timeframe. Overall, it said there were just under 30,000 total cases and 39 people currently hospitalised with the virus. (Australian Government Department of Health Twitter)

As for the latest news from Italy, reports suggest that the Mediterranean country will attempt to vaccinate the entire adult populations of its smallest islands, all at once, to help boost places with limited health services and prepare for possible summer tourism.

Mass vaccination on the most remote islands is expected, with the Aeolian Islands and Isola Capraia tipped to be among the first. Although, other remote areas on the mainland – including in the Alps and Apennine mountains could also be eligible. Procida, a small island off the coast of Naples, already announced this week that it had taken independent steps to offer a first vaccine dose to the majority of its adult residents. (abc News / The Local)