Human behavior may slow down progress in the eradication of disease. For example, scientists believe that human-inflicted damaged to ecosystems has resulted in new, dangerous diseases. Since the mid-1970s, more than 30 new diseases have emerged, including AIDS, Ebola, Lyme disease and SARS. Most of these are believed to have moved from wild-life to human populations.

Additionally, people are eating less fresh fruits and vegetables and more sugar, salt and saturated fat. This together with a decrease in physical activity and other unhealthy habits has resulted in more cardiovascular diseases. Tobacco smoking is on the rise, causing serious health problems and death to millions globally.

Every year some 20 million people sustain serious injuries or die as a result of automobile accidents. War and other forms of violence kill and maim countless others. Millions suffer ill health as a result of alcohol or drug abuse.

The fact is that regardless of the cause, and notwithstanding all the advancements in medical technology, some diseases continue to take a heavy toll. More than 150 million people suffer from depression at any point in time, about 25 million from schizophrenia, and 38 million from epilepsy, HIV\AIDS, diarrheal diseases, malaria, measles, pneumonia, and tuberculosis infect millions, killing countless children and young adults.

There are other seemingly insurmountable hurdles standing in the way of disease eradication. Poverty and bad government are two big obstacles. In a recent report, WHO stated that millions who die of infectious diseases could be saved were it not for government failure and lack of funding.

Medical knowledge and related technologies continue to advance at an unprecedented rate. In spite of this, plagues of infectious diseases are still ravaging the world. The killer diseases listed below remain undefeated.

                                                                                     [1] HIV/AIDS:

Some 60 million people have been infected with HIV, and about 20 million have died of AIDS. During 2005 there were 5 million new infections and more than three million AIDS-related deaths. The victims included more than 500,000 children. The vast majority of HIV victims have no access to adequate treatment.

                                                                                     [2] DIARRHEA:

With about four billion cases every year, diarrhea is described as a major killer among the poor. It is caused by various infectious diseases that can be spread by contaminated water or food or a lack of good personal hygiene. These infections result in a yearly death toll of more than two million people

                                                                                     [3] MALARIA:

 Annually, some 300 million people get ill from malaria. About one million victims die every year, many of them children. In Africa one child dies of malaria about every 30 seconds. According to WHO, science still has no magic bullet for malaria and many doubt that such a single solution will ever exist.

                                                                                  [4] MEASLES:

During 2003, measles killed more than 500,000 people. A leading cause of death among children, measles is a highly contagious disease. Every year some 30 million people contact measles. Ironically, an effective and inexpensive vaccine against measles has been available for the past 40 years.

                                                                                  [5] PNEUMONIA:

More children die of pneumonia than of any other infectious disease, claims WHO. About two million children under the age of five die of pneumonia every year. Most of these deaths take place in Africa and Southeast Asia. In many parts of the world, limited access to health facilities prevents victims from getting lifesaving medical treatment.

                                                                           [6] TUBERCULOSIS:

During 2003, tuberculosis [TB] caused the death of over 1,700,000 people. Of great concern to health officials is the emergence of drug-resistant TB germs. Some strains have developed resistance to all major anti-TB medications. Drug-resistant strains develop in patients who undergo poorly supervised or incomplete medical treatment.

                                                                       SNIFFING OUT DISEASES
A sniffing test may help in the early diagnosis of diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. A failing sense of smell appears early in the progression of Parkinson’s disease and is among the most common symptoms.

A practical method of testing the level of deterioration in a patient’s sense of smell has now been developed.

While the more obvious Parkinson’s symptoms, such as tremors and muscular rigidity, appear at a later stage.

Dysfunction in the sense of smell can be detected months or even years earlier, thanks to newly developed sniffing test. This opens the way for treatment that may delay the progression of this presently incurable disease.


                                                        POISONED BABIES

 A particularly tragic outcome of alcohol abuse is its effect on the unborn. Alcohol is far worse for the developing fetus than any other abuse drug. When a pregnant woman drinks, her developing child also drinks, and the toxic effect of alcohol is especially devastating at this formative stage of the fetus. Alcohol causes irreversible damage to its central nervous system. Neurons do not form properly. Cells are killed off. Other cells end up located in the wrong place.

The result, fetal alcohol syndrome [FAS], is the foremost cause of mental retardation in newborns. Difficulties encountered by FAS children include intellectual impairment, language problems, developmental delay, behavioral dysfunction or deficit, slow growth, hyperactivity, and hearing and sight disorders. Many FAS babies are also born with characteristic facial deformities.

In addition, children whose mothers drank even moderate amount of alcohol during pregnancy can suffer from certain disabilities, including behavioral problems and learning deficits. “You don’t have to be an alcoholic to hurt your baby,” remarks Professor Ann Streissguth, of the fetal alcohol and drug unit at the University of Washington, “you just have to be drinking enough and pregnant.”

The report of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research Alcool –Effets sur la santé notes: The absorption of alcohol is deleterious during the whole gestational period, and no minimal dose has ever been established below which there are no risks.” Consequently, the wisest course for women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy may be not to drink any alcohol at all.

                                           ALCOHOL –GOOD FOR THE HEART?

Scientists suspect that chemicals in red wine [polyphenols] inhibit a chemical that causes blood vessels to constrict.

Furthermore, alcohol in general has been linked to increased levels of so-called good cholesterol. It also reduces substances that can cause blood clots.

Any benefit from alcohol seem to involve drinking small amounts spread throughout the week, rather than the total amount all at once on a night out.

Exceeding two drinks per day is linked to increases in blood pressure, and heavy drinking raises the risk of stroke and can cause swelling of the heart as well as irregular heartbeat. Immoderate drinking causes these and other health risks to outweigh any positive effects of alcohol on the cardiovascular system. Too much of a good thing is precisely that –too much.