Ipad App RIA: WWF Together

March 27, 2013 |  by  |  Research  |  , , ,  |  Comments Off on Ipad App RIA: WWF Together

WWF Together 

(World Wildlife Fund)

This Ipad app is created by the WWF, World Wildlife Fund, devoted to educate the readers about the fascinating species on earth. It takes the readers on an amazing adventure to discover and learn about the stories of a variety of captivating species. The interactive experience brings the species that seems so distant and mysterial so close that the readers could feel the liveliness and personality of each species. It also raises readers’ interest in the living of these species and calls upon individuals to contribute to protecting life on earth.

User Profile

The app is created by the WWF, whose mission is to create a future in which people live in harmony with nature. One of the core parts of its mission is to save wildlife from threats like poaching, habitat loss and overuse of natural resources; this not only protects wild animals but also benefits human’s heath and well-being. This app is a great demonstration of WWF’s vision of a world of life and its determination to strive for a healthy planet. Its content has spoken for its identity and standing on environmental issues; the content and display are both consistent with WWF’s mission and work. Since the human species benefit, to a great extent, from the environment and other lives; every person has a responsibility to contribute to reserving an unpolluted, healthy world. It is however heartrending that not every person realize the urgency of emerging environmental issues such as climate change; industrial pollution and killing of wildlife have been going on. Therefore, this app appears to all human beings living on earth, especially the younger generation since they are the ones to decide the future of the earth. Moreover, this app is very easy to navigate, which encourages all kinds of readers to review the content and have fun doing it.

User Interface

This app has a clean, simple, functional, and appealing interface that ensures easy navigation, readability, and fluency. The overall graphic style is simple, bold, distinct, which instantly attracts readers’ attention. There is a number of wildlife that readers can choose to review; after selecting a species, the cover image zooms in by 900% or 600% and allows readers to go across the 9 or 6 spaces on the image. Each space presents some information about the species in an engaging way; by going across the spaces, readers learn little by little about an amazing life. The information is new to most people and very interesting and astonishing. The style remains consistent throughout all the wildlife. Readers are able to have fun while learning more about another species.


One of the most amazing aspects of this app is how it interacts with readers and allows them to experience the life of the species; this leads to deeper understanding and more empathy, respect for another life. For example, readers can easily find out how far away a species is from their current location and they can experience the difference of the visions between tigers and humans in the dark. All interactive elements are conspicuous and easy to navigate. The app also employs two main typefaces, one sans serif in bold and one serif in italic; this creates hierarchy of information that allows readers to surf through the content in a smooth flow. The main color is blue, which represents peace and harmony, and the color use is very consistent and comforting to the eyes. Nonetheless, the app now only consists 10 wildlife and still needs to include a number of other species. Readers using this app are very likely to go through all content in a brief moment and look forward to exploring more amazing species. In all, this app is definitely one of my favorites of an educational site; its interactive user interface is a great demonstration of successful information presentation.

Cerebral Malaria Research and Thoughts – Mary Wagner

January 24, 2013 |  by  |  Malaria, Research, unfathomable  |  Comments Off on Cerebral Malaria Research and Thoughts – Mary Wagner

Cerebral malaria, a severe kind of malaria that involves a P. falciparum infection in the brain, becomes fatal within 24 to 72 hours. The P. falciparum bacterium is transferred by a female mosquito, who carries the parasite into the patient’s blood, which depletes their red blood cells. It is unknown how the bacterium translates into a brain injury, but all too often, it does, especially with children because they lack immunity to the bacteria. The disease is also associated with retinal whitening, and 50% of children with cerebral malaria experience it. Overall, the disease is very severe, even compared to other forms of malaria, and 93% of children with the disease will experience spastic movements (like seizures), followed by comas, and then death. Even the 7% who survive the disease often experience neurological problems, such as losing feeling in one side of the body, and epilepsy. In fact, the leading cause of neurological damage in African children IS cerebral malaria. With such a huge fatality rate and such immediacy involved with this disease, why don’t Americans know more about it?

Following a conversation with my brother, who has studied malaria for 7 years as a PhD candidate at MIT, it seems that the problem lies in funding and lack of awareness, because the majority of cerebral malaria occurring in Africa, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Americans do not encounter malaria often, while almost everyone knows someone who has or had cancer, so perhaps we are not to be directly blamed for this ignorance. At the same time, over 100 countries are affected by malaria, meaning that this problem exists beyond Africa and deserves more of our attention regardless of whether it personally affects us or not. The price of help is not high: just $10 can provide an entire family with net protection from mosquitoes.

Malaria kills about 1 million people per year, the majority of which are children under the age of 5. In his words, my brother’s research is “focused on developing an inducible transcriptional regulatory system for use in Plasmodium falciparum in order to facilitate the study of essential genes in the parasite.” Admittedly, I don’t exactly understand what he does, but I do understand from his length of studying that malaria, and specifically cerebral malaria, is a difficult disease to try to prevent and treat.  Children can’t be kept under nets all day, and mosquitoes are rampant in sub-Saharan Africa because of the climate. The virus becomes resistant to treatments over time, and continues to mutate as the species of mosquitoes mutate. Treatments include intravenous or intramuscular quinine, intramuscular quinidine, or intramuscular artemisin, and usually two of these treatments are combined, due to malaria’s increasing resistence. There are other effective treatments, some controversial (like nitric oxide), though due to the quickly progressing fatality of cerebral malaria, another large complication is physically getting the child to a hospital, and being able to pay for care. This can be extremely challenging in Africa, where travel time alone might take 24 hours, and healthcare is subpar.


Thoughts on Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation infographic:

  • Color scheme is weird/unnatural/I don’t see the point of it – blue countries and white water with a weird semitransparent pattern?
  • Unclear of what to do exactly when I first looked at the infographic, am I supposed to click blindly around Africa? Not knowing geography or the population of these places the statistics of lives saved is meaningless to me
    • Thought for future inf graphics: always compare to something the viewer/reader knows or understand, or provide the background info so they can understand the point you’re making at first glance
  • Having a graphic called “global impact: deaths prevented” with increasing numbers seems counterintuitive to me, I’d rather see a decreasing mortality rate- but maybe that’s just me
    • Right outside of the graph is in bold text (good) is the number of Global Lives Saved. If they’re going to do a graph with deaths prevented and have that next to it, there needs to be some congruity in vocabulary (either call both lives saved or both deaths prevented), because I thought I was looking at two different concepts instead of the same one expressed two different ways
  • “Show you care: share this” button at the bottom is nice, but wouldn’t showing you care be better through a donation or some other information about how you can directly help the situation, not just spread awareness to your facebook friends?





Thought: include images of mosquitoes similar to this?

Cerebral Malaria Research – Berkowitz

January 23, 2013 |  by  |  Malaria, Research, unfathomable  |  , ,  |  Comments Off on Cerebral Malaria Research – Berkowitz

Malaria is a widespread and highly infectious disease. Its primary transmission vector is the Anopheles genus of mosquito, which simply carries the disease without being infected by it. According to the World Health Organization, there were 216 million documented cases of malaria in 2012, with 655,000 being fatal. It is most prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical areas, especially those that are mostly rural. 98% of malaria deaths occur in just thirty sub-Saharan and 5 Asian countries. Fortunately, the mortality rate for normal malaria has fallen by twenty-five percent since 2000, due to increased use of treatments like netting, anti-malarial drugs, and preventative therapy given to pregnant mothers.

Children are most vulnerable to malaria, as they have no immunity to it. Sixty-five percent of malaria cases occur in children younger than fifteen. Additionally, a large proportion of children who are infected by malaria have it develop into cerebral malaria, which is a more severe form that affects the brain. Cerebral malaria can be symptomized by abnormal posture, nystagmus (involuntary eye movement), conjugate gaze palsy (asynchronous directional eye movement), opisthotonus, seizures, or coma. It has an extremely high mortality rate — ninety-three percent of cases are fatal. Even in those children who are cured, there is often an increase in neurological deficits, behavioral disorders, and epilepsy. These deficits in cognition can form in all cognitive areas — language, attention, memory, visuospatial skills, and executive function. Cerebral malaria is the leading cause of neurological impairment in African children.

2013-01-23_15-58-42 2013-01-23_16-00-00 2013-01-23_16-00-24 2013-01-23_15-59-33 2013-01-23_15-59-17 2013-01-23_15-59-05 2013-01-23_15-58-54

I found the “We Can End Malaria” infographic to be competent, but lacking in certain areas and, overall, quite limited. Right from the beginning, I noticed that the fact that it is interactive is not readily apparent. Nothing really stands out as something that I would be able to interact with, excluding the “Learn More” link and the “View Without Increased Interventions” toggle. If I hadn’t known beforehand that it was interactive, I would have thought that it was simply a static image. Then, once I began to use it, the interactivity was largely trial-and-error and not intuitive. I thought to myself multiple times, “Is this clickable? Can I change this?” The cursor changes to a pointer over some items to signify interactivity, but this only notifies me after I have already put my mouse on an item and it does not change for all of the interactive elements. Additionally, the interactivity for this infographic is very shallow — simply hovering or clicking to toggle information. There is no true user empowerment and no intimate and personal involvement. These sorts of shallow interactions lead to a loss of mindfulness and attention in those who use them. Related to this, the infographic is lacking any sort of personal connection. There are no people or stories to which the user can relate. There are only sterile and detached statistics.

There are many more specific problems with the infographic too. They are listed in the order I noticed them.

At the top:

  • Who is “we”? Who has been saving lives since 2010?

Map section:

  • Pins have no hover animation
  • Pins change color when clicked, but there is no legend/key to let us know that this is what the color shift means
  • All pins are the same. Maybe size or color could be related to number of lives saved
  • Continents are blue, while the water is white. This is confusing and inconsistent with most maps.
  • No way to view total lives saved
  • During what time period were these lives saved?

Interventions section:

  • “Case Management & Antimalarial Drugs” vs. “Antimalarials” – Why is antimalarials listed twice? Is one different than the other?
  • The copy for “Antimalarials” is unclear. Is it saying that antimalarials are the proportion of children receiving drugs, the children themselves, or the drugs?
  • “Insecticide-Treated Bed Nets” is listed twice. The first instance is hyphenated, while the second is not.
  • Are there other interventions? What about the ones being used in Latin America?
  • No mention of research and/or new methods that are being tested

Global Impacts section:

  • How long will it be until we can beat malaria?
  • How far have we come in beating malaria? Also, why is there no data prior to 2010 on the graph?

While there are many specific problems with this infographic, they pale in comparison to the one that has not yet been mentioned: why are you telling me this? The infographic is simply presenting data, but it is not informing me about why this data is important. It is not telling me why I should care or why this affects me. It is not showing me why malaria is worse than any of the many other problems that plague sub-Saharan Africa. And even if I do end up caring, what do I do next? There is no true call to action for the user to follow. There is the “Learn More” link, but that just takes me to the general malaria homepage, which has a lot of information, yet no clear user progression. There is also the “Share This” button at the bottom, which links to the usual lineup of social media sites. While there are many problems with these buttons being there in the first place (Is it that hard to copy and paste a link?), they are also not a call to action. Sharing the infographic on social media may slightly increase awareness, but it doesn’t lead to any real contributions. There is no clear path for me to donate money, volunteer my time, or do any of the number of actions that one could do.

In conclusion, it is clear that malaria is a problem for which there are solutions. There is hard data showing that certain interventions and treatments are effective at reducing the spread and mortality rates of malaria. However, what is not clear is what I can do to help, or even what the Gates Foundation wants me to do. I have become interested, and they have my attention. Now they need to get my action.

Visual Storytelling Links:













http://www.dr-etter.ch/malaria/#map (German)

Blumette Malaria Research

January 23, 2013 |  by  |  Research  |   |  Comments Off on Blumette Malaria Research

more than 575,000 cases annually
gets fatal within 24-72 hours
occurs mainly in children below 10 years old
up to 50% mortality rate
More than 40% of the world’s children live in places where malaria is a constant threat
cerebral malaria is the most severe form of malaria and causes convulsions, coma and death in 93% of children affected
7% who survive are left with permanent neurological problems: ex, epilepsy, blindness, speech problems
caused by malarial parasites called plasmodium falciparum.
possibly associated to disease: blood in urine, jaundice, an enlarged and painful (tender) liver and spleen, and kidney failure.
Cerebral malaria (CM) is one of the most serious complications of Plasmodium falciparum infection.
20 to 25% of the cases of malaria progress to cerebral malaria
Cerebral malaria occurs when the infected and non infected red blood cells collect in the tiny capillaries or blood vessels that supply blood to the brain.

(some are cross-listed with list in paper)


Map is confusing
all it does when you click on it is show pictures of the lives saved. Seems so non personal. If when you clicked on the area if it showed a more personal picture of a sick baby or person who was saved in the country it would add a more personal effect and pull at people’s heart strings. Or perhaps clicking on it could lead you to a story about someone in that country who was saved or pictures / a story about a local hospital.

Info where you click on icons
you can only hover, you should be able to click and other information should disappear. It is so unclear what you are hovering over/ trying to read about because the colors barely change and nothing is made bigger or bolder to stand out.

global impact
completely confusing, you can’t really tell the difference in numbers when you click on the down arrow, it is not made clear what you are looking at
the wave at the bottom of ‘increased interventions’ does not make sense at first glance

Overall, finding out information should be easy which clearly with this topic, it is not the case. Information is not clearly presented and it seems like not much is being done on the topic effectively or even at all.

In order to make this infographic more interactive and informative, there needs to be a better hierarchy. Information that is the most important needs to be presented at the top and large and from there it needs to be broken down into smaller, easy to read and understandable components.

More ideas
Bold, enlarge more important info
more interactivity by the ability to select options rather than just hovering
vary the colors not to the point where it is overwhelming, but more so things pop more
provide more of a sense of humanity. I realize this is an infographic and it is supposed to show statistics but I think adding some humanity to such a devestating issue would really raise awareness. More pictures of the children. Pictures of mosquito nets. Pictures of hospitals.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuwB25_gFRQ : for my son



Cerebral Malaria is a fatal disease most commonly found in young children in Sub-Saharan African countries. It is the most fatal form of Malaria. More than 600,000 cases are reported annually. The disease is caused by a parasite that enters the body. The parasite often causes blood blockages which leads to a shortage of oxygen and nutrients from flowing to the brain. This can lead to many fatal symptoms and causes death in hundreds of thousands of deaths of innocent children each year.
This disease can become extremely fatal within 24-72 hours which is why it’s immediate and early treatment and preventative measures are crucial. Although the direct causes of the disease are not completely known, it is important for people to be properly educated on the subject and know the best ways to treat and prevent the disease because of its fatality. If more education was provided about the matter or even funding, it could save many lives because the disease is in fact treatable if handled correctly.
Some symptoms of Cerebral Malaria include increased levels of cranial pressure and seizures. Chills, fever, and sweating are all common symptoms associated with the disease. Respiratory arrest is often a leading cause of death and fatal brain stem herniation. Malaria symptoms normally occur about 2 weeks after the infectious mosquito bite when the infected red blood cells begin to burst. Infected often begin to get flu-like symptoms, headaches, and vomiting. Convulsions and comas are the most serious symptoms next to death that the disease causes. In addition to these, children who have survived the disease are left with serious life conditions such as epilepsy, blindness, weakness, speech problems, and cognitive problems.
As mentioned, Children are more susceptible to cerebral malaria than adults. However adults are affected as well. Pregnant women are often susceptible because of the changes in their hormones and immune systems. This can often cause premature births and babies who are infected. This is another reason why most cases of the disease occur in children under 10 years old. Cerebral Malaria is the leading cause of childhood neurodisability. Children tend to be more susceptible to the disease because they have not yet built up any immunity to it. Without immunity, the disease becomes more deadly. A variety of YouTube videos show the devastating attacks that many children have in response to the awful disease. Seizures are an extremely symptom where the body begins to convulse and there is no neurological control.
Cerebral Malaria is most commonly found in the Sub-Saharan countries of Africa. The disease is found in these countries primarily because of their proximity to the equator and weather conditions. The disease is also found in some areas in South America. However the most overwhelming numbers are found south of the Sahara. Colder areas, areas with high elevation, and dry deserted areas are generally not affected.
Prevention and treatment are the two things that should be taken from this paper as crucial. If preventative measures are taken, hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved. However, often in poorer African countries, preventative measures are not taken because they can not be afforded. This is why it is necessary to better inform countries like the United States who are in better condition and financially able to help.
Prevention includes mosquito nets that are often placed around beds of young children and adults. These nets are equipped with insecticide which releases chemicals to kill the deadly infected mosquitoes. New technology has allowed these nets to last up to five years which is a huge improvement from old nets which lasted typically for 6 months.
Although once Cerebral Malaria enters the body it is very fatal, there are common ways which it is treated. This is a variety of medicines and treatments, one of them being chemotherapy. Some of the other medicines include artemisin, chloroquine, quinine, quinidine, and mefloquine. These drugs are known for being active against parasites in the bloodstream. However, the release of these chemicals in the blood stream can also lead to a variety of side effects which are equally as harmful.
Overall, I believe this project will really be doing something good. There is good information about cerebral malaria online, but not a lot of it is organized in an interactive or engaging way. If we could put together an interactive tablet design that properly informed the public as well as humanized this awful disease it could really make a difference. It think with this disease, education is the best measure we can take towards stepping in the right direction towards preventing it. The more people that are educated about it, the more that can be done to put a stop to it before it happens. This could save many lives and inform many people and I couldn’t be more excited about it.




Research _Taha

January 23, 2013 |  by  |  Research  |  , ,  |  Comments Off on Research _Taha

Cerebral Malaria Report:

Each year 500 million people are affected globally by malaria. Although this is an alarming statistic, the World Health Organization (WHO) believes that almost half the world’s population is at risk with more than a 100 countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America as well as parts of the Middle East, some Pacific Islands, Haiti and the Dominican Republic being taken under its fold.

Not surprisingly though, the regions most widely affected by malaria are large tracts of Africa i.e. Sub Saharan Africa, which the director-general of the WHO, Margaret Chan refers to as the “heartland of malaria”, where 80 percent of the cases and 90 percent of the deaths occur mostly amongst pregnant women and children under the age of 5 years. The countries most affected are Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Mozambique and Cote D’ Ivoire where 103 million malaria cases were recorded last year. The gravity of the situation can further be gauged by the fact that while 575,000 children in Africa develop cerebral or severe malaria, a child dies of malaria every 30 seconds in the continent.

Cerebral malaria is reported to be the most severe neurological form of severe malaria; it is often referred to as the malaria of the brain. Understanding cerebral malaria therefore requires a study of malaria itself which is caused by the female Anopheles, a night biting mosquito, that transmits the disease through her saliva. The parasite invades the human liver and take a new form by multiplying within the human liver cells. After a week or a fortnight, the malarial symptoms of severe fever and body ache develop, and the infected liver cells rupture releasing the parasite into the human blood stream. By invading the red blood cells in the blood stream, the parasites become immune from the antibodies attacking them. They begin feeding on the red blood cells and create an environment where they can multiply

Of the four types of malaria called plasmodium falciparum, plasmodium vivax, plasmodium orale and plasmodium malariae, cerebral malaria is caused by the falciparum parasite which is the most deadly and malignat form of malaria. It is called ‘black water fever’ since the patients urine turns into a blackish color. Falciparum is also known to reduce the blood hemoglobin in a matter of hours. There is also a fifth type of malarial parasite called zoonosis or plasmodium knowlesi, which affects mosquitoes more so than humans. This does not mean however that humans are completely immune to it.

In African children the parasite, plasmodium falciparum, manifests itself thus: the child suffers fever from one to three days followed often by seizures and coma. The parasite attacks the small blood vessels leading to the brain leading to a blockage which can cause seizures, brain damage and coma. Some children however develop coma as a result of debilitating weakness and prostration as a result of the malaria fever. The child may also suffer from anemia, electrolyte imbalance, hypoglycemia and shock along with a coma.

Other symptoms that can be observed are increased retinal blood flow along with a whitening of the retina, brain swelling, intracranial hypertension, and abnormal respiratory patterns. While these symptoms occur mostly amongst children, cerebral malaria in adults is manifested as a multi-organ disease where patients develop the characteristic high fever coupled with body ache, progressive delirium, often leading up to a coma. The longer the patient is in coma, the more difficult it becomes to treat.

The three initial stages that characterize cerebral malaria start from a cold stage that builds up to a hot and then wet stage. In the cold stage the patient experiences severe chills and shivers that range from one to two hours; this then builds up to high fevers of 107 F (41.7 C) for three to four hours, which then culminates to copious sweating for two to four hours.

Of the 10 percent of patients that develop cerebral malaria, 80 percent die within 24 to 72 hours because of brain infection. Because the symptoms of cerebral malaria mirror those of many other diseases it becomes difficult to isolate it as a core cause of illness.

Unfortunately there is no vaccine or certified cure for cerebral malaria and malaria in general. The most prevalent medical practice to treat the disease is the use of chloroquinine and through chemotherapy with quinine (extracted from the cinchona bark). If the malaria is advanced then the chloroquinine will not work. The quinine helped breakdown the enzymatic functions of the falciparum parasite thus killing it. Although antimalarial drugs such as artemisinin are also used, it is noted that the falciparum parasite has developed resistance to the drug. Therefore the most effective weapon against the parasite is the common bug spray and insecticides and the use of nets (called long-lasting insecticidal nets, LLIN) when sitting or sleeping in open spaces in malaria endemic regions.


Links to useful data and multimedia:    






Gates Foundation Infographic Critique:

While the Gates Foundation has done a very good job of presenting data on malaria and its prevention, the infographic seems a bit overwhelming when it suddenly bursts into these tiny plus icons of the regions where malaria is prevalent. Perhaps it would be better to ask the user or viewer to click onto a particular region and then within that region press on a small red dot, for instance, that could open up a box with the information regarding the treatments and number of lives saved. A percentage of the population affected by malaria could also be included in the data presented.

The current design with multiple pop ups seems too busy and although the black plus sign turning olive is a good way to track which country or region one has already ‘visited’, it is such a subtle difference that it requires one to really peer hard at it.  An alternative way to showcase how widespread malaria is could be to use a color gradient to demonstrate which parts of the world are more affected than the other. This color differentiation would make it easier at even a cursory glance to understand where more intense efforts should be directed (creating some sort of ‘red zones’ for example).

Also, the bar of information that gives on data on each country should present a clearer understanding of the icons it uses.  For the ease of the viewer and data consumer, the explanation of the treatments, what they entail and what icon stands for what, should come prior to the statistical breakdown of how successful each treatment has been. While some icons like the pills is quite self explanatory, the other three are not. Hence in the present order, when one glances at the infographic one is a bit confused and has to do some guesswork to figure out what the ‘lives saved’ sub title is referring to.  To give more potency to the campaign and the design, the icons should be larger with their explanations clearly etched out.  The last graph suffers from the same issue where the meaning behind the terminology, ‘increased intervention’, is not given which takes away from the meaning and purpose of the data.

In presenting medical data, an important issue is to make it easily accessible for the average person to be able to fully grasp the understanding of it. This is where the Gates infographic falls short because it doesn’t explain at the terminologies and the icons, in essence the ‘language’ of the issue, at the outset. Making these minor adjustments to the current model will make this presentation more effective.

Cerebral Malaria Research; Andrea Bolf

January 23, 2013 |  by  |  Inspiration, Research, Student Work  |   |  Comments Off on Cerebral Malaria Research; Andrea Bolf

Cerebral Malaria in Children

Cerebral malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium Falciparum, through a mosquito bite, and is the most serious and intense form of malaria that attacks the brain with circular-like lesions and causes a fever. It is also most easily diagnosed through noticing retinal whitening. While not all cases of malaria evolve into cerebral malaria, cerebral malaria does affect about 300-500 million people and causes approximately 1 million deaths a year. It is Africa’s leading cause of mortality (20%) among children aged zero to five years olds. Sub-saharan Africa’s topical and subtropical climates lend a hand to large mosquito breeding areas. Those that do survive, may do so without any neurological problems. For children, cerebral malaria is usually fatal or does cause neurological damage if they are lucky enough to survive.

Cerebral malaria affects the blood’s pathways (small blood vessels), which in turn block a vital supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. This blockage is not the only complication that occurs with this type of malaria. Other complications include pressure in the brain, and seizures, among others.

There are three initial symptoms of cerebral malaria. These include: 1) The cold stage. 2)The hot stage. 3) The wet stage. The cold stage is accompanied by one to two hours of chills. The hot stage is three to four hours of a very extreme fever which can reach up to 107 degrees Farenheit. And the final stage, the wet stage, involves two to four hours of extreme sweating. Other symptoms include an altered state of consciousness, seizures, neurological systems (language, behavior, etc.), coma, etc. Pregnant are women are also among those greatly affected because their immune systems are changing.

While the reasoning behind the cause of cerebral malaria is not fully understood, there are many different treatments for it. There currently exists no vaccine. In order for the treatment to be successful, it needs to occur within the first 24-72 hours, since that is when cerebral malaria can become fatal. If not treated properly, cerebral malaria can cause jaundice, enlargement of the spleen, uremia, and death in approximately twenty percent of those infected. There are two major forms of treatment for this type of malaria. The first being chemotherapy by using the quinine alkaloid extracted from bark. This method does not work if the case of malaria is too advanced. The second form of treatment is Artemisinin, a drug, proven to cure fever and parasitemia but not yet licensed in many countries.

Children under the age of ten in malaria-infested areas are at the highest risk for cerebral malaria. Approximately 85% of the fatalities due to cerebral malaria are children. When a child is infected, they should be taken to the Intensive Care Unit immediately.  For children, cerebral malaria should be treated with intraveneous or intramuscular quinine, intramuscular quinidine, or intramuscular artemisinin derivatives. Quinine works as a form of treatment by disrupting the digestive system of the parasite causing the malaria.

There are also many measures that take place in order to prevent the onset and spread of malaria. These methods include: bed nets (new nets can last 5 years as opposed to previous that only lasted months) and insecticide sprays, case management and antimalarial drugs, preventative treatment during pregnancy, and finally antimalarials. By intervening and using these different methods to try to stop malaria, the amount of global lives saved increase by almost six times the amount of lives saved without intervention.

While cerebral malaria can turn fatal, a person can also recover from cerebral malaria, if treated on time, and do so without any neurological complications. This means treatment in the first 48-72 hours.

Assessment & Ways to Improve the Interactive Infographic:

–       I like the textured and color palette used for the infographic

–       I think the fact that the countries are blue and the water is white is a bit confusing

–       I would like to add in images of maybe one of the lives saved from some of the various placed on the map

–       I would like to have some more interaction/information because after some time it gets boring.

–       Also after a while the number of lives saved is just that, a number. Fix this by making the point in which a greater number of lives were saved bigger than a point where there was a smaller number. Gives you a greater overview of what areas saved the most lives.

–       When viewing in a browser, you notice the map, and it took me awhile to realize that there was some more information if I scrolled down. In order to improve this, need to think of a way to streamline the information and have it all available in one window (pop ups, quizzes, etc.)

Usable Statistics:

– $5.18 = cost of treating one case of malaria

– one antimalarial pill costs 50 cents, but needs to be taken every day

– 80% of children die from cerebral malaria

A list of links:






Malaria Research; Jessica Harris

January 23, 2013 |  by  |  Research  |   |  Comments Off on Malaria Research; Jessica Harris

Malaria, the disease that kills about one million people per year worldwide, is caused by a parasite transmitted by mosquitos. It is most prevalent in tropical and subtropical countries, with the most lethal complications found in southern parts of Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Haiti. More than 40% of children in the world reside in an area where malaria is a constant danger.

There are multiple strains of the disease, ranging from mild to severe. Cerebral malaria is a form of complicated or severe malaria caused by the parasite known as Plasmodium falciparum. Symptoms include convulsions, abnormal behavior, impairment of consciousness, seizures, coma or other neurological abnormalities. Those most at risk for cerebral malaria are children and infants. Although the death rate of children affected with malaria is just one to two percent, 93% of children affected with cerebral malaria will suffer convulsions, coma and death, while the other 7% are left with permanent neurological problems. Cerebral malaria has an extremely high mortality rate.

Cerebral malaria develops when parasite-filled blood cells block small blood vessels in the brain. This results in swelling of the brain, or brain damage. The incubation period of malaria varies from 7 to 30 days, with the shorter period most observed in those with cerebral malaria.

The malaria-causing parasite, most frequently transmitted by mosquitos, can also be transmitted from mother to unborn child, by blood transfusions, and by the sharing of needles used to inject drugs. It is diagnosed by blood test. The test reveals whether or not the patient has malaria, which type of parasite is causing it, if that parasite is resistant to certain drugs, and whether the disease is affecting any of the vital organs.

There is no vaccine in existence for malaria, although it is in the process of being developed. Treatment depends on the patient’s age, whether they are pregnant, what type of parasite is present, and the severity of the symptoms. Chloroquine was the most common treatment of malaria, but parasites have the ability to adapt to become resistant to certain drugs. Now, malaria is most commonly treated with Artemisinin-based combination therapy, known as ACT. This treatment is recommended most by the World Health Organization (WHO), since it contains a combination of two drugs thought to preserve its use. However, resistance to ACT has developed around the Thai-Cambodian border.

Researchers are currently experimenting with nitric oxide as a treatment. Nitric oxide is composed of one atom of oxygen and one atom of nitrogen, and it was formerly regarded as a pollutant and toxic gas. In 1987, it was discovered that nitric oxide is produced by the body and helps cells communicate with one another. Since the discovery, scientists have learned that nitric oxide can attack fungi, parasites and bacteria. However, too much can also be dangerous, leading to stroke and septic shock.

A recent study shows that nitric oxide can help defend the body against malaria. Dr. Ian Clark of Australian National University, published a paper in which he suggested high output of nitric oxide by the body while fighting malaria possibly contributes to cerebral malaria. Instead of the traditionally believed cause of cerebral malaria, Clark suggested that it was instead caused by the release of nitric oxide, which depressed brain function. Their research revealed that nitric oxide actually provided resistance to the parasite, the opposite of their original hypothesis. A clinical trial still in process is exploring the effectiveness of nitric oxide when inhaled by those infected.

WHO’s malaria containment project trains volunteers in areas where malaria is prevalent. The volunteers learn how to diagnose and treat malaria, as well as how to teach their community prevention methods. These methods include the use of insecticide-treated bed nets, spraying the home with insecticide, and covering and spraying clothing and exposed skin. Notable achievements since the start of the containment project in 2009 include distribution of enough nets to cover every person in a high risk area, the establishment of anti-counterfeit drug police, multiple awareness campaigns, and intense screening and surveillance in order to learn more to achieve prevention and treatment.

Visual information is extremely helpful in communicating facts about malaria across linguistic and cultural borders. The interactive infographic incorporated into the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website provides users with important statistics in the progression of malaria treatment and prevention in the form of a visual and interactive media. A simple click of the button shows statistics regarding the number of lives saved by research and activism.

The infographic is aesthetically pleasing, with an earthy, muted color scheme. Well-designed symbols hint at the information provided, but a scroll over the object also tells the user exactly what it is referring to. One of the most helpful features is the fact that the symbols marking the different places on the map change color after they have been pressed, eliminating the possibility of accidentally clicking the same symbol twice. Other visual cues such as arrows and highlights work to the infographic’s advantage.

The biggest improvement would be to make the infographic a full page instead of part of an existing page. The portions below the map could be easily missed, and an entire page would allow for them to be recreated into pop outs or slide downs of some kind. Also, although the visuals are pleasing to the eye, there is no clear hierarchy of information, and it seems to be a more logical progression to start with treatment methods instead of the map of lives saved. Overall, though, the information is a nice representation of the successes achieved.















Cerebral Malaria – Rebecca Ruoff

January 23, 2013 |  by  |  Research  |   |  Comments Off on Cerebral Malaria – Rebecca Ruoff


 Cerebral Malaria is a strain of Malaria found in children under the age of 5. The children most affected by this disease are those in sub-Saharan Africa, with over 575,000 cases annually reported by US National Library of Medicine. According to New-Medical, Cerebral malaria is a severe, potentially fatal neurologic complication of infection by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Studies of children with cerebral malaria show that cognitive deficits, such as impaired memory, learning, language, and mathematical abilities, persist in many survivors long after the infection itself is cured.

We know we have an unclear understanding of the disease because so many people survive the disease without any neurologic problems, according to Davidson University.  This fact leads us to believe it is unlikely that there is complete obstruction of blood flow. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that neurologic defects may occasionally persist following cerebral malaria, especially in children. Such defects include trouble with movements (ataxia), palsies, speech difficulties, deafness, and blindness. It can also cause inflammation of the brain and spinal tissue.

National Geographic wrote an article in 2007 outlining everything there was to know about malaria at the time. Robert Gwadz, who has studied malaria at the National Institutes of Health, near Washington, D.C., for almost 35 years stated, “The malaria parasite is a genius. It’s smarter than we are.” This is only slightly terrifying when trying to cure the disease as a whole.

Throughout history, Africa has not been the only country to be affected by this disease. At least four popes died of it. It may have killed Dante, the Italian poet. George Washington suffered from malaria, as did Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

Treatment for Malaria is very difficult and can be very expensive for those who live off of less than a dollar a day. Zambia, one of the nations leading countries in Malaria outbreaks wants to educate the public, with the hopes of beating the disease through a three step process of ‘drugs, sprays, and mosquito nets.’ With families relying on the Kalene Mission Hospital, which is located miles away from many homes, any bit of prevention can help.

DDT is the spray that is used to ward off these mosquitoes. During a wet Syracuse summer we have the threat of West Nile Virus, which is spread through mosquitoes infected from birds which are infected from swampy warm water. Malaria is similar in the fact that humid conditions cause more of an affect on people encountering with these disease-ridden mosquitoes. DDT can prevent the mosquitoes from nesting and multiplying. Unfortunately, according to News-Medical, too much of DDT can cause many people to lose any immunity they have built up against the disease—even adults, immunologically speaking, could revert to infant status—rendering it more devastating if it returned.

National Geographic reported that Malaria would be very difficult to create a vaccine for. Compared to the polio virus, which consists of 11genes, the Plasmodium flaciparum has more than 5,000. This means that there are 5,000 different strains of Malaria to treat. I’m not a scientist, but let’s be honest, that’s a lot.

A study done in 2007 from National Geographic centered on Stephen Hoffman the founder and CEO of Sanaria, or ‘healthy air.’ Sanaria was the only company in the world at that time dedicated solely to finding a Malaria vaccine. He houses thousands of mosquitoes with the Plasmodium flaciparum virus and injects them with an anti-virus in hopes of immunizing all 25 million infants born in sub-Saharan Africa every year.

A more recent study from News-Medical reports on statins, a class of drugs best known for their ability to lower cholesterol. The lowering of cholesterol has also been shown to be active in modulating a variety of immune system responses. In their research, Zimmerman and his Brazilian colleagues evaluated the effect of statins in a mouse model of cerebral malaria. The researchers found that adding a drug called lovastatin to traditional antimalarial therapy prevented cognitive dysfunction in mice infected with cerebral malaria. They discovered that addition of lovastatin decreased white blood cell accumulation and leakiness in blood vessels in the brain. Lovastatin also reduced production of damaging oxygen-containing molecules and other factors that promote inflammation. In human terms, this simply means that this statins drug could prevent many of the after-effects of those infected with Malaria.

In order to combat this disease, spokes people and articles must be created to gain attention from the public. Two of these campaigns include the Gates Foundation and an article from National Geographic.

The Gates Foundation spells out what malaria is and how it is harming those in sub-Sahara Africa. With the funding of Bill and Malinda Gates, Malaria has started to get the treatment it needs. Interactive maps and case studies allow the reader to look further into how the Gates Foundation is helping to cure malaria. In order to make these infographics more appealing, I want to expand upon the interventions listed instead of having to scroll down. I was unaware of the fact that you had to roll over each icon to find out more.

From the home page, I can see that the infographs are reflecting the next 5 years, but their mission statement that ‘We Can End Malaria,’ doesn’t give me a full understanding of what I can do to help, until the bottom of the page where it tells me to share the infograph.  It can’t be done by themselves, but I need a better understanding of what our money will do to help.

Another intriguing article I read was from National Geographic. While this article is already 6 years old, the photos are just as current today. With a photo reel and multimedia viewer of these photos, one can engage with the emotions seen and felt with each photo. Whether it is families suffering from malaria or a child who had survived the worst, photos can speak where words cannot.

There is a lot of work that can be done for malaria, especially cerebral malaria. While this is a small strain of a larger disease, it is effecting the youngest of children, the leaders of our generation.

Links used to research Malaria:












Example Post With Category and Tag Set

January 23, 2013 |  by  |  Research  |   |  Comments Off on Example Post With Category and Tag Set