D-IAS Chair Christine Stabell Benn featured in Danish Medical Journal on Bandim Health Project

In D-IAS our chairs are dedicated professors who are excellent in their fields of research. Dr. Christine Stabell Benn (Head of Department at Statens Serum Institut) is our chair of Health Science.

By Susanne Siig Petersen

HEALTH: This week she and her team is featured in multiple articles in the national magazine: Danish Medical Journal (Ugeskrift for Læger) – Denmark’s main Scientific journal within the health and medical fields.

In this podcast you can hear Dr. Christine Stabell Benn talking (in Danish) about the Bandim Health Project in the small West African country of Guinea-Bissau.

Please read the other articles (in Danish) about the Bandim Health Project and the dedicated work that has now been going on for nothing less than four decades despite political upheavals, civil war and endless financial difficulties in the region.

Bandim Health Project gennem 40 år
By Ib Christian Bygbjerg & Peter Skinhøj

Behandling af hiv, tuberkulose og malaria foregår stadig med hiv og sving i Guinea-Bissau
By Sanne Jespersen, Frauke Rudolf, Poul Erik Kofoed & Christian Wejse

Syvfold fald i børnedødeligheden i Guinea-Bissau i de seneste 40 år
By Peter Aaby & Christine Stabell Benn

Begrænset kendskab til effekten af vaccinationer og A-vitamintilskud på børnedødeligheden i Afrika
By Ane Bærent Fisker, Sanne Marie Thysen, Christine Stabell Benn & Peter Aaby

Uspecifikke effekter af vaccination i Danmark
By Christine Stabell Benn, Peter Aaby & Signe Sørup

Dr. Christine Stabell Benn and her research

Christine Stabell Benn is a medical doctor (1996), PhD (2003) and Doctor of Medical Science (2011) from University of Copenhagen.
She has worked at the Bandim Health Project in Guinea-Bissau since 1993, starting as a medical student. She has spent postdoc time at the Danish National Hospital, Department for Infectious Diseases and at Stanford University.

In 2010 Dr. Benn received an ERC Starting Grant. In 2012, Dr. Benn was selected by the Danish National Research Foundation to establish and lead a Center of Excellence, the “Research Center for Vitamins and Vaccines”. Since 2013, Dr. Benn is also Professor in Global Health at University of Southern Denmark.

Dr. Benn’s research aims to document that vaccines and vitamins affect the immune system in a much more general way than previously thought. Childhood vaccines have usually been implemented without prior trials documenting their effect on overall health. It is assumed that if a vaccine prevents a target disease, then the effect on overall mortality is beneficial and proportional to the number of deaths caused by the disease.

However, sometimes this turns out not to be the case. For instance, in low-income countries with high infectious disease mortality, Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) against tuberculosis and measles vaccines have stronger mortality-reducing effects than can be ascribed to prevention of tuberculosis and measles infections, i.e. they also protect against other infectious diseases. In other words, the vaccines have beneficial heterologous or non-specific effects.

You can say, that Christine Stabell Benn is assessing the real life effect of health interventions.

About Danish Medical Journal
Danish Medical Journal (In Danish: Ugeskrift for Læger) – is the Journal of the Danish Medical Association – it is Denmark’s main scientific journal within the health and medical fields.
The journal’s online site is at: www.ugeskriftet.dk. The journal and the website are backed by the Danish Medical Association with appr. 27,000 members. Almost all medical doctors authorized to practice in Denmark are members of the association.