School of public health

Climate change and infectious disease

While the potential impact of climate change upon noninfectious health threats is fairly well studied, there is scant information on how infectious diseases such as influenza, malaria, West Nile virus, or Lyme disease will be affected by temperature fluctuations. Nearly 90 scientists from across the country gathered at Yale in January for the Yale Climate and Energy Institute’s forum on the potential health threats posed by warmer temperatures and the spread and incidence of many infectious diseases. Researchers from disciplines as diverse as climate science, epidemiology, disease modeling, and entomology attended the unique conference, believed to be the only one of its type in the country.

Breakthrough in parasitic disease research

For the first time in a laboratory setting, the process of infection that occurs in the parasite that causes trypanosomiasis, more commonly known as African sleeping sickness, has been replicated. The accomplishment, which researchers hail as a breakthrough, could lead to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which the pathogen acquires infectivity, and might eventually result in studies that block the transmission of the disease. Scientists will be able to replicate and study the development of infectivity outside the tsetse fly vector. 

Improving Alzheimer’s care

It is estimated that as many as 5.1 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and as the populace ages that number is expected to increase. Existing interventions to improve home-based care often isolate the needs of the person with dementia from the needs of the spousal caregiver, an approach that is frequently unsuccessful.

A Yale School of Pubic Health study evaluated how individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their spousal caregivers regulate emotions and maintain feelings of security as they struggle with the illness. The research concluded that interventions such as emotion-focused couple’s therapy, which address issues central to the dementia experience, could benefit both caregiver and patient. 

The comment period has expired.