Le Soir

Added on:



Le Soir, the most popular French speaking newspaper in Belgium, is known as being a more leftist publication that embraces social issues and a less liberal view of society.

We follow health related topics that appear during the week in this French speaking Belgian newspaper (20/04-26/04/2015).

Here is our evaluation on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is best:

Regularity: there is health related news on a daily basis. There is no special section on health. (8/10)

Original topics: present (10/10)

Variety of topics (10/10):

 -       Ayahuasca, a psychedelic brew taken by shamans of the Amazonian tribe for its hallucinogenic effects in order to be closer to the divine, has a component called harmine that is used in psychiatry. There are hopes this could be used a medicine for patients with type II diabetes because it stimulates the proliferation of beta cells in the pancreas.

-       Sergio Canavero, the Italian neurosurgeon from Torino, announced that he would like to transplant the head of his patient, Valery Spiridonov (30 years old), into a healthy body. The patient suffers from Werdnig-Hoffman disease, a rare degenerative disease similar to Charcot disease, which, because of a degeneration of spinal cord, causes a progressively fast inability to move, and later leads to death. The medical world calls the announcement of the surgeon unrealistic.

-       A medical center will be opened in Central Station in Brussels at the beginning of May. It will mainly offer services typically provided by a general practitioner such as medical prescriptions, blood tests, medical documents, and first aid. It will work together with each patient’s general practitioner.

-       Only 14% of Belgian patients take generic drugs even if they are much cheaper than the original. The Belgian Minister of Health, Maggie De Block, launched a campaign to encourage the prescription of generic drugs. Medical doctors have different opinions about the efficiency of the cheaper medicine, especially in older patients.

-       Doctors in training from Belgium (4500 doctors), both French and Flemish speaking, want to better manage their finances (an average net salary of 1800 euro per month, without duties), and their social and professional status so they wrote an open letter to the decisional authorities. This is a real revolution, as the rule of silence is known in the medical world.

-       A new drug against cancer could be available on the market in five years. Research on this drug was published in Science Translational Medicine by a medical team from UCL Belgium. The drug helps to increase the immunity of the patient but on such a level as to not lead to an autoimmune disease.

-       The first woman to practice medicine in Belgium was Isala Van Diest, born in 1842. After being refused to study at KUL in 1873 (because she was a woman), she graduated in Switzerland in 1879. With a special royal permission, she was able to work as a doctor in Brussels only in 1884. Since 1890, women can practice medicine or pharmacy without restrictions in this country.

-       Prof Dr Dominique Belpomme, an oncologist from Paris, considers that many types of cancer are linked to pesticides that can be found in fruits and vegetables. This would explain why vegetarians have the same cancer rate as those who eat meat. The solution ? Organic food, especially for children and pregnant women.

-       « Akkermansia municiphila » is a bacteria that could ameliorate obesity or even diabetes. Professor Patrice Cani from UCL administered it orally to mice and the results were excellent.

-       Dr Maggie de Block, the Belgian Federal Minister of Health, would like to reform hospital financing. This would include paying for performance and establishing a hierarchy on three levels: basic, reference and university hospitals.

-       Wallonia is known as one of the world leaders in cellular research. The reputation will be reinforced by the collaboration between Bone Therapeutics and Promothera, which will work together in the field of regenerative medicine at Gosselies.

-       31 % of Belgians don’t do any physical activity even if one session of non-intense physical activity (e.g. Jogging) reduces the risk of mortality with 20 %. Dr Gilles Caty who developed the concept of « exercise medicine » in Belgium would like for sport to be prescribed the same way as medication.

-       Allergist is a specialisation that does not exist in Belgium. So if you suffer from allergies, you can choose a dermatologist, ENT specialist or a pneumologist. The number of people plagued with allergies has increased because we have become more obsessed with cleaning from an early age. This has interfered with our body’s natural way to fight allergies.

-       Chinese scientists, motivated by the desire to avoid certain diseases, modified the genetic information of human embryos. A theoretical way to create genetically modified humans has been opened.

Visual experience: could be better (5/10)

Interactive: not really (5/10)

Language: good enough (9/10)

Website: http://www.lesoir.b(8/10)